How does car insurance cover cosmetic damage?
When it comes to dents, scratches, and door dings, most car insurance claims fall under collision or comprehensive coverage. These coverages can be optionally added to your policy and should be considered if you are concerned about damage to your vehicle.
Auto collision coverage protects your vehicle from damage caused by a collision with another car or object. Collision coverage also includes single car accidents like running into a guardrail or hitting a curb. For example, if you hit a mailbox or fence post that leaves scratches down the side of your vehicle, collision coverage could cover the cost of repairs. Collision coverage includes a deductible that you're responsible for if you file a claim.
Auto comprehensive coverage includes unexpected damage that is outside of your control and isn't caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Covered events include acts of vandalism like someone keying your car, hitting a deer, pet, or other wild animal, a tree branch falling on your vehicle, or a rock cracking your windshield. Comprehensive coverage also includes a deductible if you file a claim.
Are there scratches and dents that car insurance won't cover?
There are certain situations where cosmetic damage to your car won't be covered, such as:
- General wear and tear: Car insurance is designed to deal with sudden and unexpected events. It doesn't cover general wear and tear, which extends to dents, scratches, door dings, and overall paint damage that may occur over time.
- Time-lapse in filing a claim: Many insurers have time frames that must be met if you're filing a claim. Your insurer may not pay for a dent or scratch that happened years ago.
Is it worth filing a car insurance claim for a dent or scratch?
It often depends on the amount of damage. If the damage is minor, it may make more sense to cover the cost out of pocket.
Collision and comprehensive coverage both come with a deductible that typically ranges from $100 to $2,000 depending on the insurer. If the repair costs are less than your deductible, it makes sense to pay for the damage out of pocket.
On the other hand, if the damage is more extensive and costly, it may make sense to file a claim for any dents or scratches that need to be repaired. For example, if your vehicle gets keyed and causes $3,000 worth of damage, it makes sense to file a claim if your comprehensive deductible is $500.
What happens if someone dents your car?
If someone else caused cosmetic damage to your car — for example, they dented your door with their door — their car insurance company may cover the cost to repair your vehicle.
What if I damage someone else's car?
If you accidentally dent someone's vehicle, ding their car door, or scratch another car, your car insurance policy's property damage liability coverage can cover the cost of repairs, up to your policy's limit.
If you intentionally damage someone's car, however, you'll have to pay for the damage out of pocket as vandalism is excluded by most insurance policies' liability coverage. This includes keying someone's car and slashing their tires.