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West London is worst for vehicle damage in the capital

The west and south west postcode areas of London are the worst for vehicle damage, accounting for half of all reported incidents in the capital, according to new research by vehicle replacement specialist, Accident Exchange.

The study, which plotted car damage across London’s 241-square mile postal district, found that the W and SW postcode areas were the location for more than half (50.52%) of all reported dents, scrapes and collisions.

By contrast the east ‘E’ and south east ‘SE’ postcode boundaries together only accounted for 18% of the total incidents.

There are estimated to be around 3,000,000 cars in London, around 9% of the UK total, with an average 6.3 million car trips being made each day in the Greater London area.

In 2009, Transport for London reported an additional 70,000 cars enter central London each day during the weekday morning peak.

With an average repair bill of £2,100 per vehicle, the damage inflicted on London cars each year is estimated by Accident Exchange at half a billion pounds.

The WC (western central) postcode area which covers the most central parts of London including Soho, Covent Garden and Bloomsbury; was the safest place to park or drive a car, with just 3.85% of the citywide damage occurring there.

Northwest London – the NW postcode area – also enjoys relatively prang-free motoring, with just 8.22% of reported incidents occurring within the district.

Being hit in the rear was the most common cause of vehicle damage, accounting for 30.24% of incidents. Almost a third of cars (29.4%) were damaged while parked, predominantly when the owner was away from their vehicle. Lane change collisions were responsible for one in ten (10.49%) cases of vehicle damage.

Most incidents (58%) occurred during the working day – 6am to 6pm – with 42% in the later evening and early hours.

Lee Woodley, director - insurer & GTA protocols Accident Exchange, said: “Despite car ownership in London being much lower than the rest of the UK, the heavily congested roads, cramped parking and complicated network mean drivers are more at risk from vehicle damage.

“The results are interesting. The high figures of the west / south west for vehicle damage could be the result of a greater daily influx of traffic from the west via the artery M40, M4 and M3 motorways.”

London drivers also face some of the highest repair bills compared to the rest of the UK with garages charging an average rate of £90.81 per hour, 13% more than the national average of £80.44 per hour.

The Accident Exchange research was based on nearly 18,000 claims handled by the company in the 12 months to June 2011.

Car ownership per capita and household is significantly lower in London than the rest of the UK. Only 43% of inner London households and 68% of Greater London households own a car, compared with the national level of 77% car ownership.

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