Updated June 30, 2021|4 min read
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Car insurance is financial protection in case you cause an accident with your car and damage someone else’s vehicle or cause them bodily injury. Car insurance will also cover damage to your car if it is damaged in an accident, stolen or damaged by another peril, like falling objects, fire, or flood.
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Car accidents can cause all different types of damage and unintended consequences, and this includes scratches. Scratches can also be caused by perils other than car accidents, like hail damage or falling objects. Assuming you have comprehensive and collision coverage in your policy, scratches will be covered — although it’s not always cost-effective to file a claim.
Car insurance will cover scratches, assuming you have comprehensive and collision coverage and the scratches are caused by a covered peril
Comprehensive and collision coverage require you to pay a deductible, so if your car is scratched it might be cheaper to pay out of pocket for the repairs
If you are in an at-fault accident and scratch someone else’s car, your car insurance liability coverage will pay for the repairs
A car insurance policy is made up of different types of coverage and each type offers different protection. Whether or not scratches will be covered depends both on what caused the damage and whether your car insurance policy includes comprehensive and collision coverage. Below are the types of coverage that make up a “full coverage” car insurance policy, which is a policy that includes comp and collision in addition to liability.
|Coverage Type||What It Does|
|Bodily injury liability||The part of your liability coverage that pays for medical bills if you've injured someone in an accident|
|Property damage liability||The other part of liability coverage, covers the cost of property damage you've caused in an accident|
|Personal injury protection||Covers medical expenses for you or your passengers after an accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist||Covers the costs if you're in an accident caused by a driver with little or no car insurance|
|Comprehensive||Covers damage to your car that happens when you're not driving|
|Collision||Covers damage to your car after a car accident, no matter who was at fault|
If you have a bare bones car insurance policy, you might not be protected from certain perils. For example, if a tree branch falls on your car and you have comprehensive coverage, then the costs of the damage will be covered, but if you don’t have comp coverage as part of your policy then you will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket.
If you have collision coverage, then your car will be covered from damages caused by a collision no matter who was at fault. So if you caused a car accident and it resulted in scratches on your vehicle, then your collision coverage will pay for the costs. Collision coverage, along with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, can also cover the damage from a hit and run, so if someone scrapes your car and drives off, or scratches your bumper while it’s parked, the damage may be covered by insurance.
Some insurance companies sell comprehensive and collision coverage together, however others sell them as two separate products. Together, they are the parts of an auto policy that protect your vehicle itself, as opposed to paying for the damage you cause to others.
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If you do not have comprehensive and collision coverage then scratches probably won’t be covered, unless you got into a car accident where the other person was found to be at-fault, in which case their insurance will cover damage to your vehicle. There are a few other reasons why a claim might not be covered:
The scratches were caused by general wear and tear over time
You were negligent or acted in a reckless manner
You acted in violation of your car insurance policy
You waited too long to file a claim
Car insurance also has coverage limits, meaning the maximum amount you will be paid out for a claim. If you have low limits, there is a chance you may only be partially paid out for scratches.
When it comes to scratches to your car, sometimes it might be cheaper to pay out of pocket than to file a claim.
Both comprehensive and collision coverage require you to pay a deductible (which is usually set at $500 or $1,000) before your coverage can kick in. If the price of your deductible exceeds the price of repairs, it’s easier to pay out of pocket — especially if the scratches are the only damage.
Filing a claim can also lead to a rate increase, especially if the damage was your fault, like if you backed into a telephone pole. If the costs of repairing the scratches on your vehicle aren’t much more than your deductible, then it might still make sense to pay out of pocket and avoid a rate increase and a claim on your record.
Generally speaking, if you get into an accident with another person you should file a car insurance claim. If the other driver was at-fault, then their insurance company will pay you for the scratch damage. If you don’t tell your insurance company about the accident and the other person later files a claim against you, your insurance company might deny you coverage, which leaves you on the hook.
Car insurance protects you if you cause damage to someone else’s vehicle. If you get into an accident with someone, your car insurance liability coverage will pay for any damages that you are liable for, including scratches.
If you are driving someone else’s car and it gets scratched, you can still file a claim and your liability insurance should cover you. That said, the owner of the car will have to contact their insurer and they may pay for the damages too.
The cost to repair scratches on your vehicle depends on how many there are and how deep the scratches go. A scuff can cost as little as $50 and a clear coat scratch can cost around $300, according to auto body experts, but a deep paint scratch, or multiple, can cost more than $1,500 to repair.
Your comprehensive and collision coverage will cover repairs of scratches that are a result of a covered peril, like vandalism or a collision. If the scratch was caused by a peril not covered in your policy, then your claim is unlikely to be accepted. Also, comp and collision both require a deductible, and if the repair costs less than that amount, filing a claim may not be worth it.
If you accidentally scratch someone else’s car, your liability coverage can pay for repairs to their vehicle. Your insurer is likely to raise your rates for filing an at-fault claim, but your rate increase will depend on your insurance company and other factors, like the status of your account.
Yes, comprehensive and collision coverage will pay for repairs if the dent was caused by a covered peril, like if you backed into a pole or if a tree branch fell on your car. But if the dent wasn’t caused by a covered peril, or if you don’t have comprehensive or collision coverage in your policy, then your insurance probably won’t cover you.
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