Does Car Insurance Cover Interior Damage?

Last Updated on September 17, 2021

You buy car insurance to protect your vehicle. But does car insurance cover interior damage? Or do you need to pay for interior damage out of pocket?

Car insurance will cover interior damage caused by unexpected incidents, including collisions, acts of vandalism, and accidents. However, insurance will not cover ordinary wear and tear on the interior of your vehicle.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about car insurance and how it covers interior damage.

Table of Contents:

Car Insurance Covers Interior Damage from Covered Incidents

To determine if car insurance covers interior damage, you need to determine how your interior damage occurred:

  • If the interior damage occurred because of a car accident, collision with an animal, theft, vandalism, or another covered event, then insurance should cover the cost of repairing the interior damage (assuming you have comprehensive coverage or full coverage car insurance)
  • If the interior damage occurred due to ordinary wear and tear, a spill, or damage from passengers, then insurance will not typically cover the cost of repairing the damage

Insurance is designed to cover unexpected events, including collisions, accidents, vandalism, and theft. Insurance is not designed to cover expected expenses like wear and tear.

Wear and tear is an ordinary part of owning a vehicle. When you buy a vehicle, you expect the interior of the vehicle to degrade over time with use. You anticipate these costs because they’re an expected cost of owning a vehicle.

Car accidents and other incidents are not expected parts of owning a vehicle. You don’t expect your car to be damaged in an accident or stolen, for example. These are unexpected events. Insurance covers unexpected events – not expected incidents.

What Does Car Insurance Cover?

If your interior damage occurred because of a covered incident – like an accident or a collision – then car insurance should cover the cost of repairing this interior damage.

You buy car insurance to make you ‘whole’ again after an accident. Your insurance has an obligation to repair the interior of your vehicle until it’s whole again. If you damaged your seats and upholstery in a fiery collision, for example, then insurance will cover the cost of repairing this damage.

Some of the interior items covered by car insurance include:

  • Upholstery and seats
  • Stock speakers
  • Dashboard
  • Floor liners, floor mats, and trunk mats
  • Other stock interior components damaged by an accident

What Does Car Insurance Not Cover?

Car insurance does not cover all interior components of your vehicle, nor does it cover all interior damage in all situations. Some of the things not covered by car insurance include:

  • Stains from spilled foods and drinks
  • General wear and tear on the interior of your vehicle
  • Messes or damages caused by children and pets (unless you’ve bought additional pet coverage)
  • Smoking stains or burn scars
  • Scratches, rips, or tears caused by your keys

Physical damage to your seats or upholstery caused by sharp objects, heavy items, or other things moving in and out of your vehicle

Car insurance will also not cover custom parts and equipment (unless you purchase additional custom parts and equipment coverage). Custom parts and equipment includes things like custom seats, custom paint, TVs, third-party navigation systems, or high-end stereo systems.

Additionally, car insurance will never cover possessions within your vehicle. If you had $500 worth of electronics in your vehicle during the accident, for example, then car insurance will not cover the cost of replacing these items (although your homeowners or renters insurance should cover any replacement costs).

How to Make an Insurance Claim for Interior Damage

If the interior of your vehicle is damaged, then it could be covered by car insurance.

To make an insurance claim for interior damage, follow these steps:

Step 1) Collect information. Write down details of the incident. If your vehicle has extensive interior damage from a specific incident (say, a serious incident of vandalism), then contact the police to make a police report. Your insurer may need the police report to complete the claim. Record the time and place that the interior damage took place (remember, there needs to be a specific incident to make an insurance claim – you can’t make a claim for general wear and tear that has occurred over time).

Step 2) Document the damage. Take photos and videos of the damage to your vehicle’s interior. Make sure you collect this evidence before you start cleaning or repairing it.

Step 3) Check your coverage. You’ll need to pay a deductible when making an insurance claim. Sometimes, the cost of your deductible is more than the cost of repairing the interior damage, which means it’s not in your best interests to make a claim. If it costs $300 to repair the interior damage and your deductible is $500, for example, then making a claim may not be worth it.

Step 4) Contact your insurer and start the claim. If an insurance claim is the right choice for you, then contact your insurer to initiate the claim. The sooner you contact your insurer, the sooner your claim will be processed. You should need your name, address, and driver’s license number to file a claim.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Interior Damage?

Repairing interior damage can be more expensive than you think. Depending on the damage and your vehicle, it could cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000 to repair interior damage to your vehicle.

Older and more exotic cars tend to have higher interior damage repair costs than newer or more common vehicles.

If you’re unsure making an insurance claim is worth it, contact local car repair shops. They may be able to give you an estimate on the cost of your interior damage repairs.

FAQs About Interior Damage Insurance Claims

Interior damage insurance claims can be tricky to navigate. Here are some of the questions we frequently get asked about interior damage insurance claims and how they work.

Q: Does insurance cover interior damage from vandalism?

A: If you have full coverage car insurance (which includes comprehensive coverage), then your car insurance policy should cover interior damage repairs from vandalism.

Q: Does insurance cover interior pet damage?

A: If your pet damaged the interior of your vehicle, then you may be able to make an insurance claim. Some insurance companies charge extra for pet coverage, while others automatically cover pet and animal-related damage to the interior of your vehicle.

Q: Does insurance cover interior water damage?

A: If you have water damage inside your vehicle, then you may be able to make an insurance claim. Comprehensive insurance should cover interior water damage caused by flooding, for example. However, insurance is not likely to cover interior water damage caused by spills or similar accidents.

Q: Does car insurance cover items within my vehicle?

A: Car insurance does not protect items within your vehicle. You must have renters or homeowners insurance to cover items within your vehicle.

Final Word on Interior Damage and Car Insurance

If you have comprehensive coverage, then you may be able to make a car insurance claim for interior damage. Comprehensive coverage covers theft, vandalism, and similar damages that occur outside of accidents.

However, car insurance will not cover wear and tear and similar types of interior damage that occur over time.

Contact your insurer to determine if your policy covers interior damage. Depending on your deductible, it may or may not be worth it to make an interior damage car insurance claim.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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