Will Car Insurance Cover Scratches On My Vehicle?

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

If you have scratches on your vehicle, then insurance could cover those scratches.

As long as those scratches were caused by a covered peril – like a collision with another driver or vandalism – your insurance should cover the cost of repairing the scratches.

However, depending on your deductible and the cost of repairing the scratches, it may or may not be worth making an insurance claim to cover the scratches on your vehicle.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how insurance covers scratches on your vehicle.

Table of Contents:

How Car Insurance Covers Scratches

Car insurance covers scratches similar to how it would cover dents, scrapes, and other damage to your vehicle:

  • If the scratches occurred during a collision with another vehicle, then the at-fault driver’s insurance policy would cover the cost of repairing those scratches.
  • If another driver scraped against your car in a parking lot, for example, then you would receive compensation through the other driver’s insurance. Or, if it was a hit-and-run, you would make a claim through your own uninsured motorist coverage.
  • Insurance will cover any scratches caused by a covered peril – like a windstorm, hail damage, vandalism, or accident.
  • You may need full coverage car insurance (with collision and comprehensive coverage) to cover scratches to your own vehicle.

Generally, insurance covers most common scratches to your vehicle. Unless you scratched your vehicle yourself or damaged it intentionally, you should be able to make an insurance claim for vehicle scratches.

When to Make an Insurance Claim for Scratches

For minor scratches, it may not be worth it to make an insurance claim. You may be better off repairing scratches out of pocket. Minor surface scratches typically cost around $150 to repair.

Even major scratches, in fact, may be worth covering out of pocket because your claim could impact future insurance premiums.

Let’s say someone scratches your vehicle in a parking lot. It will cost $200 to repair those scratches. Your deductible is $250. In this situation, you’re better off paying to repair the scratches out of pocket.

Or, let’s say it costs $600 to repair your scratches and you have the same $250 deductible. It may seem like it’s worth making an insurance claim. However, insurers may raise rates after a single claim. You could pay $200 more for insurance for the next three years because of this claim, which means you’re better off paying out of pocket.

Overall, it’s important to consider your deductible and the cost of repairing scratches when deciding whether or not to make an insurance claim.

Types of Scratches Not Covered by Car Insurance

A full coverage car insurance policy covers many common sources of scratches, including collisions, animal-related damage, and storm damage.

However, certain types of scratches are not covered by car insurance, including:

  • Scratches caused by general wear and tear or lack of maintenance over time
  • Scratches caused by your negligence or recklessness
  • Intentional damage
  • Other incidents violating your car insurance policy
  • Scratches you waited too long to report

Depending on your car insurance coverage, you may have other exclusions. If you have a minimum liability policy, for example, then you have limited coverage for damage to your own vehicle (including vandalism damage or scratches caused by single-vehicle accidents).

Similarly, if you are involved in a hit-and-run and don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, then you may need to pay for scratches out of pocket, even though you were not at fault.

Other Things to Know About Car Insurance and Scratches

Other things you need to know when dealing with scratches and car insurance include:

How much does scratch repair cost? Minor scuffs could cost as little as $40 to $80 to repair, while major scratches could cost $300 to $500. If you have deep paint scratches or scratches across multiple panels of your vehicle, then you could pay over $1,500 for scratch repairs.

Should you make an insurance claim for your scratch? It may or may not be worth making an insurance claim for your scratch. It depends on the cost of repairing your scratch and your deductible. If you have previous claims in the last three to five years, then a second claim could significantly raise rates or lead to policy non-renewal.

Will insurance go up after I make a claim for scratch repair? Most insurers raise rates after a collision coverage claim or at-fault insurance claim. However, they may not raise rates for a single comprehensive coverage claim. If your scratches occurred because of an accident with another driver or another incident where you were at fault, then you could pay higher premiums. If they occurred because of animal damage, vandalism, somebody “keying” your vehicle, or storm damage, however, then you may not pay higher rates.

Who pays if I scratch someone else’s car? The at-fault driver is required to pay for the cost of repairing scratches to another person’s vehicle. If you scratch someone else’s vehicle, then your property damage liability coverage covers the cost of repairing the other vehicle.

Final Word – Insurance and Vehicle Scratches

Yes, car insurance should cover scratches on your vehicle, assuming you have the right coverage and the scratch was caused by a covered peril.

However, it may not be worth making a claim for scratch repairs. Consider the cost of repairing the scratch, the cost of your deductible, and the impact of the claim on future insurance premiums. After considering these factors, you can decide if paying for scratch repair is worth it.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com 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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