What’s The Damage?

Mon 27th Sep 2021

Almost half of British vehicles on the roads have some form of damage, but owners are being warned that a simple dent to the bodywork may be hiding a bigger problem.

An extensive survey of 14,500 car owners by AA Insurance found that 44 per cent had some form of damage on them, with the younger drivers most likely to have a scratch or two on their car. But for the younger generation, keen to get behind the wheel after passing their test, the prospect of a more affordable car may mean they have to buy a vehicle which isn’t exactly perfect to look at.

The AA Insurance research also shows that the bigger and busier the city, the more likely that a car will be damaged, with 52 per cent of Londoners admitting that they had a scrape or a scratch. Most of the damage appears to be minor scuffs (83%), although worryingly one in 10 had a cracked or chipped windscreen, which could invalidate insurance or at least fail an MOT. More shocking is the three per cent of drivers knowingly driving with damaged tyres.

“Drivers with damaged cars are living on a "wing (mirror) and a prayer", in the hope that the visible damage is not camouflaging something more costly and compromising,” said David Coughlan, managing director of AA Insurance Services.

“Damage on cars can be like an iceberg – while on the surface things look manageable, it's what's lurking underneath that can really cause problems. 

“Any detriment to the structural integrity of the car could harm its performance if it were involved in a major collision.

“Keeping vehicles in a good condition is important both for the owners' protection as well as others. 

“We are very worried that drivers are using vehicles with poor tyres, brakes and steering.

“We'd strongly recommend drivers get damage to their cars checked, to provide peace of mind and retain the safety of their vehicle.”


Most Common Forms Of Damage


1. Minor damage (i.e. light scuffs and scratches) - 83%

2. Glass (inc. windscreens and side windows) - 11%

3. Dashboard warning light on - 7%

4. Obvious bodywork damage (i.e. dents, broken panels) - 5%

=5. Wipers - 3%

=5. Tyres (worn, bulges etc) - 3% 

=5. Wing mirrors (missing and damaged) - 3%

=8. Exterior light not working (i.e. headlights, brake, reversing) - 2%

=8. Brakes screeching - 2%

=10. Suspension (i.e. knocking noises when driving) - 1%

=10. Steering (i.e. vehicle pulls to one side) - 1%

12. Other - 3%