Nobody likes seeing a scratch on their car. When your vehicle gets scratched, can you expect car insurance to pay for repairs? Or are you better off paying for scratches out of pocket?
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about whether or not car insurance will pay for scratches on your vehicle.
Certain Scratches Are Covered by Car Insurance
The way in which your vehicle gets scratched makes a big difference as to whether or not the damage is covered by car insurance. Certain scratches will be covered by car insurance while other scratches are not.
Scratches Covered by Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverage covers unexpected car damages outside of accidents and collisions. Comprehensive coverage is optional in every state, so you may or may not have comprehensive coverage. Types of scratches covered by comprehensive coverage include:
- Your car was keyed in an act of vandalism
- A tree branch fell on your vehicle
- A shopping cart pushed by the wind collided with your car
Comprehensive insurance typically has a deductible. You will need to cover the amount of the deductible before insurance coverage kicks in. If your deductible is $250, for example, then it’s only worth making an insurance claim if the cost of repairing the scratch exceeds $250.
Your comprehensive coverage deductible may be much lower than your ordinary deductible: some policies have a deductible of just $100 for comprehensive coverage. Plus, making a claim on your comprehensive insurance policy will not raise your other insurance premiums.
It’s also important to remember that a vandalism-related insurance claim may require a police report.
Scratches Covered by Collision Coverage
Collision coverage will cover the cost of repairing your vehicle after you collide with another car or object. Some scratches will be covered by collision coverage – say, if you’re pulling into your garage and scrape the side of your vehicle along the wall because you misjudged the distance.
Other types of scratches covered by collision coverage include:
- Scraping an inanimate object, like a wall or mailbox, inadvertently while driving
- Another car door hit your car in a parking lot
- You sideswiped another vehicle
- Your vehicle was scratched in a car wash
- Your car was scratched by tree branches, bushes, or rocks while driving
In the cases above, either your collision coverage or the other driver’s insurance will cover the cost of repairing the scratch. If another driver sideswipes you on the freeway, for example, and you both pull over to share insurance information, then the other driver’s insurance should cover the cost of repairing your vehicle.
What Happens If I Don’t Know Where the Scratch Came From?
Sometimes, you have no idea where the scratch came from. In this case, you can still file a claim and discuss the situation with your insurance company’s adjuster. The insurance company’s adjuster may have seen thousands of similar scratches before, so they may be able to make an educated guess on the type of scratch based on its appearance.
Depending on the insurance company adjuster’s opinion, your scratch may or may not be covered in this situation.
Alternatively, you may want to visit a body repair shop to get an independent assessment. They might tell you that it will only cost $200 to repair the scratch, for example, when your deductible is $250. In this case, your best option is to pay for repairs out of pocket.
Is It Worth Filing a Claim for a Scratch?
It may not be worth it to file a claim for a scratch. In some cases, your car insurance policy’s deductible is higher than the cost of repairing the scratch.
It’s also important to consider whether or not you’re prepared to pay higher insurance premiums: if you’re making a claim to repair a scratch under collision or comprehensive coverage, for example, then your insurance rates could rise in the future.
A minor claim – like a scratch repair – is unlikely to affect your insurance premiums in a major way. However, making multiple claims – even minor ones – in a short period of time could cause insurance premiums to rise. If this is your first claim for a scratch repair, then you should be okay. However, if this is your second or third claim, then you may want to pay for scratch repairs out of pocket to avoid higher premiums.
Making a claim under comprehensive coverage, however, will not typically raise insurance premiums in the future.
Insurance will cover the cost of repairing your scratches – assuming you have the right insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage will repair scratches caused by vandalism and falling tree branches, for example, while collision coverage can repair scratches in most other situations.
If you only have the bare minimum liability insurance required by your state, however, then your scratch may not be covered by car insurance.