When does car insurance cover scratches and dents?

Whether or not your car insurance covers scratches, dents, door dings, and other cosmetic car damage depends largely on what caused the damage and what type of insurance you have. The following coverages can protect your car from cosmetic damage:

  • Comprehensive coverage: This coverage will protect your vehicle from unexpected damage that's not caused by a collision with another vehicle or object, such as a tree branch falling on your car.
  • Collision coverage: This coverage protects your vehicle if you're involved in an accident with another vehicle or object, regardless of who is at fault. For example, if a car rear-ends or sideswipes you, you'll be covered with collision coverage.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: In some states, this coverage may protect your car from cosmetic damage resulting from a hit-and-run. Otherwise, collision coverage will generally cover damage from hit-and-runs.

Important note: Your insurance won't cover cosmetic damage caused by normal wear and tear, even if you have comprehensive and collision coverage.

When should I go through insurance for scratches and dents?

While your first instinct might be to call your insurance company when you notice cosmetic damage to your car, you may want to weigh your options. Remember that even if you have collision or comprehensive coverage, you'll still need to pay a car insurance deductible. If your deductible is less than the cost of repairs, it may make sense to file a claim. If your deductible is higher than the repair costs, paying out of pocket may be the better choice.

Remember that even if you have collision or comprehensive coverage, you'll still need to pay a deductible.

Does car insurance cover scratches or dents to someone else's vehicle?

If you cause cosmetic car damage to another person's vehicle, your property damage liability coverage will typically pay for the damage. However, if you're driving a car you don't own and cause damage to it, your liability coverage may not cover it. You'll still want to file a claim with your insurer to see if they'll cover the damage. If they won’t, the vehicle owner will need to reach out to their insurance company.

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