Will Car Insurance Cover a Paint Job?

Last Updated on September 1, 2020

You need to paint your car, but car paint is expensive. You have car insurance to cover certain car-related expenses. But does car insurance cover a paint job? Is there special car paint insurance? Or do you need to pay out of pocket for car paint?

In some situations, car insurance will cover a paint job. In other situations, you must pay out of pocket for paint-related expenses.

Today, we’re explaining how car insurance covers a paint job, including the situations where car insurance covers a paint job – and the situations where it does not.

Will Car Insurance Cover a Paint Job?

Repairing Damaged Paint on a Vehicle

A typical paint job is around $1,000 to $2,000. A larger paint job or a high-end paint job may be even more expensive.

Because car paint is expensive, most vehicle paint is designed to last as long as the car. Barring any major damage, your vehicle paint should last as long as the other equipment of your car.

However, if you get into an accident, suffer rust damage, have rocks chip your paint, or experience other issues, then you may need to pay for a new paint job.

There are some situations where car insurance covers a paint job and others where car insurance paint jobs will not be covered.

When Does Car Insurance Cover a Paint Job?

There are some situations where your car insurance covers paint through collision or comprehensive coverage.

If you have full coverage car insurance, then you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. Collision coverage covers collision-related repairs and damages (say, if you damage your vehicle in an accident), while comprehensive coverage covers non-accident damages and repairs (say, from vandalism, theft, or hail damage).

If your car’s paint was damaged in a covered event, then you should be able to file an insurance claim. You pay your deductible, then your car insurance covers the rest of the damage, up to the limits of your policy.

An accident is a covered event, for example. You buy car insurance to protect your vehicle during an accident. If your car’s paint is damaged in an accident, then you can file an insurance claim, pay your deductible, and receive complete compensation.

Check your car insurance policy to see if it excludes any events or perils. Generally, your car insurance will cover accidents, vandalism, theft, hail damage, and other situations where your paint could be damaged.

However, if you only have basic liability coverage, or if you have a cheaper car insurance policy, then it could exclude certain covered perils.

Situations where car insurance covers a paint job include:

  • Accidents or collisions with other vehicles
  • Collisions with property (like a fence, building, or your own garage)
  • Vandalism (like scratches or deliberate damage)
  • Paint damage caused during theft
  • Hit and run damage

When Does Car Insurance Not Cover a Paint Job?

Car insurance does not always cover a paint job. There are some situations where car insurance will deny your claim.

Situations where car insurance may not cover a paint job include:

Wear and Tear: Car insurance is designed to protect against unexpected expenses. It’s not designed to protect against wear and tear, which is an expected part of car ownership. That’s why you cannot file an insurance claim for a broken tire, for example, or an oil change. These are the expected costs related to owning a vehicle. If your paint damage was caused by wear and tear instead of a covered peril, then you cannot file an insurance claim for a paint job.

Deliberate Damage: If you deliberately damaged your vehicle’s paint (say, to make an insurance claim and get a new paint job), then you cannot legally file an insurance claim. Insurance does not cover damage you deliberately cause to your vehicle. If you try to file a claim for damage you caused intentionally, you could get in trouble for insurance fraud.

Rust or Related Damage: Vehicles rust over time. Some vehicles develop scratches or other damage. Over time, small scratches can organize into larger, more visible damage, eventually creating paint damage that needs to be repaired. In this situation, you are generally not able to file an insurance claim. It’s small ‘wear and tear’ style damage that collected over time – the damage wasn’t caused by a single covered event or incident.

Consider Whether or Not Filing a Claim is Worth It

There are also situations where it’s not in your best interest to file a paint job insurance claim. Sometimes, the cost of repairing the paint job is less than your deductible.

It may cost $450 to repair your vehicle paint, for example, while your deductible is $500. In this situation, it’s not in your best financial interest to file an insurance claim. You’ll lose money.

A minor scratch on the side of your vehicle from pulling into your garage, for example, may not be worth an insurance claim. It’s a single-vehicle accident that costs $100 to repair.

However, a sideswipe in a parking lot that scratches the entire side of your vehicle and causes $2,500 worth of damage would be worth filing a claim. It’s a multi-vehicle accident with costlier repairs.

You also need to consider future insurance premiums. Filing a claim today may negate your safe driving discount. You could pay higher insurance rates because you no longer have a claims-free history.

Before filing an insurance claim for a paint job, make sure to decide whether or not it’s worth it.

Final Word on Paint Jobs and Car Insurance

Generally, car insurance will cover a paint job after a covered peril – like an accident, hailstorm, collision, or vandalism.

However, car insurance will not cover a paint job related to wear and tear. If your vehicle gets rusty or develops small scratches or dings over time, for example, then car insurance will not cover this paint job. Wear and tear is an expected part of car ownership, and car insurance covers unexpected expenses – not expected costs.

Even if car insurance covers a paint job, it may not be in your best interest to file a claim. Your car insurance deductible may be higher than the cost of repairing the paint.

Consider your policy and deductible, then contact your insurance company if you wish to file an insurance claim for a paint job.

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