Does car insurance cover scratches and dents?
Your car insurance may cover the cost to repair dents and scratches if you carry comprehensive or collision coverage on your auto policy. Without these coverages, you may be on the hook for repair costs.
How does car insurance cover scratches and dents?
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
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 hitting 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
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 may include acts of vandalism to your car, hitting a deer, a tree falling on your car, or damage to your windshield from a rock. Comprehensive coverage also includes a deductible if you file a claim.
When doesn't insurance cover scratches or dents?
There are certain situations where cosmetic damage to your car won't be covered, such as general wear and tear and lapse in filing a claim.
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.
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 claiming on car insurance for a dent or a 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 car insurance 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 suffers $3,000 worth of damage, it makes sense to file a claim if your comprehensive car insurance 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 happens if you dent someone'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.