FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Whether your car is brand new, it’s a classic that you painstakingly restored yourself, or it’s just a vehicle you’ve had for a while, nothing’s more upsetting than finding out that it’s been keyed.

Your first thought is, “Why would someone do this to my car?”

Your second thought is, “How am I going to pay for the repairs?”

The scratches caused by keying can cost thousands of dollars to repair, and it’s likely that you don’t want to end up having to pay that expense out of your own pocket. You carry insurance coverage, but will your provider pay for the repairs?

The answer to that question is: it depends. Depending on the type of insurance coverage you carry, the scratches caused by keying may or may not be covered. If someone has keyed your car, read on to find out if your insurance will pay for the necessary repairs, or if you will be required to pay for them yourself.

When Car Insurance will Cover a Keyed Car

keyed car insurance coverageThe type of car insurance you have will determine whether or not your provider will pay for the necessary repairs when someone keys your car.

In order for your insurance company to cover the damages caused by keying, you will need to carry a comprehensive policy. This type of coverage pays for any damages that your vehicle sustains that are not related to a collision; typically, damages from falling objects (such as a fallen tree limb or hail), fire, or vandalism are covered.

Keying is exactly what it sounds like: someone used a key to make scratches in your car. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a key that causes the damage; it could also be some other sharp object that someone used to intentionally damage your vehicle, such as rock or a nail. Keying – no matter what object type of object was used to damage your car – is considered an act of vandalism, and it will be covered by comprehensive insurance coverage.

If you have comprehensive auto insurance and your car is keyed, contact your insurance provider to file a claim. They will assess the damage, and after you pay the deductible on your policy, your carrier will pay the remaining cost of the repairs. For example, if it will cost $1,500 to repair the damage and your deductible is $200, you will be responsible for paying $200 and your insurance company will pay the remaining $1,300.

When Auto Insurance Will Not Cover a Keyed Car

The damages caused by keying will only be covered by a comprehensive auto insurance policy. If you carry other types of insurance policies – liability (which is legally required) or other optional policies, such as collision – your car insurance carrier will not pay for the damages that occur when your vehicle is keyed.

Each type of auto insurance policy is meant to cover a specific peril. For example, liability auto insurance covers third party injuries and property damages, while collision insurance covers any damages that your vehicle sustains when you are involved in an accident (whether you or someone else is at-fault). Comprehensive coverage is the only type of car insurance policy that will pay for damages that are not related to a crash, including acts of vandalism. Since keying is an act of vandalism, you will need to have a comprehensive policy for insurance to cover this type of damage, otherwise you will have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket.

How a Keyed Car Claim will Impact your Comprehensive Insurance

Just like any other type of insurance policy, if your car has been keyed and you file a claim, the premiums on your comprehensive coverage may increase. With that said, it will not affect your rates as much as filling a claim for a car accident will affect your liability or collision insurance, especially if you were responsible for the accident.

However, if the cost of repairing the damages caused by keying doesn’t amount to much more than the deductible on your comprehensive policy, filing a claim likely won’t be worth your while. Why? – Because a small payout from your carrier isn’t worth the increase in rates that you might experience. For instance, if the damage is valued at $400 and your deductible is $200, paying the total cost on your own would probably cost less than the increase in your premiums.

What Should You Do When Your Car Has Been Keyed?

If someone has keyed your car, the first thing you should do is document the damage to the best of your ability; take photos of the damage and check to see if there are any security cameras in the area or witness that may have seen the keying take place.

Once you’ve documented the damage, contact your insurance provider. They will walk you through filing a claim. Next, have an auto repair shop asses your car and provide you with an estimate. From there, you can decide whether or not taking money from your provider is worth your while.