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Does car insurance cover cosmetic damage to your car?

  • Auto Insurance
  • Renee Martin
  • 6 minutes

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Your auto insurance may cover cosmetic damage to your car if you have comprehensive or collision insurance. Learn more about repairing a keyed car or other minor damages here.

Owning a car can be an expensive affair. From the moment you sign on the dotted line and drive off the lot to gas, insurance, and depreciation, owning a car can take a huge toll on your finances. Naturally, when you suffer a fender-bender or a keyed car, your first instinct is to let your car insurance policy take care of the repair costs. But does car insurance cover cosmetic damage to your car? It does, but only if you have a collision or comprehensive coverage car insurance policy.

Is it a good idea to use car insurance to repair cosmetic damage?

While your car insurance policy will cover cosmetic damage to your car, you will need collision or comprehensive coverage for it to kick in. However, fixing a minor fender-bender with your car insurance policy may not always be a good idea. When you file a claim for cosmetic damage, your insurance company could increase your future car insurance rates. So filing a claim for minor repairs could cost you more in the long term.

How to fix cosmetic damage from a collision

If a collision caused cosmetic damage to your car, your collision coverage might cover the cost of repairing the dents and scratches. Collision coverage protects your car if you cannot prove that the other motorist was at fault for the accident.

In the event of a minor accident, your insurance provider will reimburse you for the cost of replacing your bumper, repairing a ding in the door panel, or addressing any other cosmetic damage that may have occurred.

Both collision and comprehensive coverage have deductibles that vary from $100 to $2,000, depending on the carrier. It makes sense to pay for the damage out of pocket if the repair expenses are less than your deductible.

Read: What is a deductible in car insurance

If the damage is more significant and costly, filing a claim for repairing any dents or scratches may make sense. If your deductible for comprehensive coverage is $500, it makes sense to file a claim if you are the victim of a keyed car that caused $3,000 in damage.

How to fix scratches from a non-collision accident

In most cases, comprehensive insurance covers non-accident-related cosmetic damage repairs. Non-accident damage, such as damage caused by a storm, vandalism, or theft, is covered by comprehensive insurance policies. Comprehensive insurance may cover hail damage, broken glass, and graffiti. You may be able to get your insurance company to pay for all of the cosmetic damage to your car that results from an incident other than a collision if you have comprehensive coverage on your policy.

How much does it cost to fix cosmetic damage and scratches?

Several factors affect the cost of cosmetic damage repair. Your car’s make and model, as well as the extent of the damage, are all factors to consider. Repairs on a high-end or imported vehicle can be more expensive due to the greater cost of parts. It might cost as little as $50 to fix a cracked windshield, while it can cost up to $900 to replace a completely shattered windshield. In newer cars with high-end safety measures, sensors and other pricey components can be expensive to repair.

Minor dings and scratches

Replacing minor dings and dings in your car’s paint isn’t difficult or expensive. Objects striking the exterior of your car or other drivers’ doors often cause paint damage, while vandalism or a collision with a shopping cart could cause more serious damage. Car insurers determine the repair cost by taking stock of the severity of the scratches and chipping. It might cost you as much as $1,000 for a repaint, but you could fix minor scratches with a paint pen.


Plastic bumper covers have replaced exposed metal bumpers on many vehicles, helping enhance aerodynamics, increase fuel economy, and decrease vehicle weight. The problem is that the plastic covers are fragile that even a little impact can cause a crack. Replacement costs for some vehicles are higher because they feature built-in grille components, headlight washers, or sensors for the safety equipment. You could repair minor bumper damage for as little as a few hundred dollars. However, if the damage is more severe, it could cost as much as $1,500.

Doors and other body panels

Paintless door repair may be possible to mend some minor dents and dings on your door. Repairing a modest ding or dent costs roughly $150 on average, but more substantial work, such as sanding and repainting, can increase this cost significantly.


Types of cosmetic damage not covered by car insurance

Wear and tear: Car insurance covers unforeseen and unplanned events. However, it excludes regular wear and tear, including dents, scratches, door dings, and paint damage that may occur as the car ages.

The time frame for filing a claim: Many insurers impose time limits that must be adhered to when filing a claim. Your insurance company may refuse to pay for a ding or damage that occurred years ago. So ensure that you file a claim as soon as possible after an accident.

When and why should you repair cosmetic damage to your car?

Cosmetic damage to your car can have potentially harmful “knock-on” implications. In a crash or when struck by an object, a damaged windshield, for example, may obstruct your view and shatter more easily. Car manufacturers make body panels that enhance their designs and keep you safe. So, if a parking barrier has crumpled your door panel, have it fixed.

But what about fixes that appear to be unimportant? Of course, if the accident that caused the damage wasn’t your fault (like damage from hail), your insurance covers the repair. However, if you choose to ignore the issue, it could cause rust.

Read: Spruce up your car: Car care before and after Christmas

Primer, paint, and clearcoat make up the outside of your car. These coatings not only help your car look good but also preserve the metal underneath. Water, dirt, road salt, and debris will penetrate the metal and cause corrosion if not repaired. However, because car manufacturers make most bumpers from plastic, there is no risk of rust if the scratch is on one. It will be up to you to decide whether or not to fix such low-risk damage with your insurance policy.

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