It’s never fun to notice paint damage on your car. Maybe you scraped it on something while pulling into a parking spot, or maybe you have damage to your paint from an animal. Regardless of the reason, you likely want to repair it and return your vehicle to its full glory. Here’s everything you need to know about insurance coverage for paint damage.
Will Car Insurance Cover Paint Damage?
To determine if your insurance policy covers paint damage, you need to review your plan and determine what kind of insurance you have. Here are some types of insurance and information on whether they can help you repair the paint on your vehicle:
- Liability: Liability insurance will only protect the damage you cause to others, including their vehicle, property, and bodily injury. It does not cover damage that occurs to your own vehicle. Liability insurance may cover paint damage for someone else if you are in an at-fault accident, but it won’t cover damages to your car.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance policies provide protection for your vehicle for damage not related to a collision. This type of plan may include coverage for your vehicle’s paint. For this policy to cover paint damage, the damage must have occurred during a covered event, like theft, vandalism, or inclement weather.
- Collision: This type of insurance provides coverage for your vehicle when you’re in an accident. It may cover paint damage for your vehicle, but only for the part of the vehicle affected during the accident. For example, if you have paint damage on your driver’s side door and you’re rear-ended, it’s unlikely this policy will pay to repair the paint damage in the front. However, a proper repair will usually require repainting a large area around the damage itself to make sure it blends into the original paint properly.
Review your insurance policy to understand what’s covered and whether the paint damage to your car may qualify. After an accident or incident, be sure to take pictures and gather information in case you decide to file an insurance claim. You can also call your insurance agent to learn more about what your policy can do for you.
Should You File a Claim for Paint Damage?
You may discover that your insurance policy can help you cover the costs to repair the damage to your paint. But even if the policy does cover it, that still doesn’t mean filing an insurance claim is your best option.
You probably have an insurance deductible. This is the amount you must pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in and covers the remainder of the cost. For example, let’s say your deductible is $1,000. That means you will have to pay the first $1,000 of the repair yourself before your insurance will pay a cent. If your paint damage repair will cost $5,000, you’ll still have to pay your $1,000 deductible, but insurance will cover the remaining $4,000. But if the repair will only cost $800, it isn’t worth filing an insurance claim because you’ll be on the hook to pay the full amount anyway.
Another consideration is whether your insurance rates will go up as a result of filing a paint damage claim. Continuing the above example, let’s say your repair will cost $1,200. After you pay the deductible, insurance will cover the remaining $200. However, if your premium goes up to $20 per month as a result of filing this claim, you’ll end up paying an extra $240 per year. This is not only $40 more expensive than if you’d simply paid for the entire repair out of pocket, but it will continue to cost you an extra $240 in future years.
Solutions for Fixing Paint Damage
Taking your car to the body shop is not the only option for solving the problem. There are many solutions to paint damage that cost less than taking your car to a professional. These methods may help you save money and avoid filing an insurance claim. Here are some methods you can use to fix the paint damage on your car:
- Determine if it’s worth fixing. Paint naturally begins to show wear as a car grows old. If your vehicle has more than 75,000 miles, and bare metal that could potentially rust is not exposed, it may make more sense to leave the damage alone than to spend time and money trying to remedy it.
- Polish out surface scratches. Many surface scratches are light and quickly resolvable. You can use a soft cloth and a rubbing compound to buff out the scratches by applying pressure. An orbital buffer is another solution as well. You may want to use a car polish after this to return the paint to its original shine.
- Use touch-up paint. There are many options for paint touch-up products. Many manufacturers sell paint pens, spray paint, or other touch-up options you can use to quickly remedy small blemishes. Many of these are designed to match your car’s original color as closely as possible. Consider resolving the paint damage yourself to save some money.
- Take the car to a body shop. If the damage to your paint is extensive and not something you can resolve quickly, you may need to take it to a shop. This is often the most expensive option and not advisable unless your insurance covers it or the exterior of your vehicle is really important to you. If paint damage is extensive, you may pay between $150 and $800 to repair the paint damage. It could cost even more for an expensive vehicle or a special-order color.
Tips for Avoiding Paint Damage On Your Car
Here are some ways you can try to avoid getting your paint damaged in the first place:
- Be mindful of where you park your vehicle
- Cover your car when you’re not using it
- Don’t drive on gravel or roughly paved roads
- Clean and polish your car regularly
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.