It’s usually an easy call if you’re in an accident that totals your car: you contact your auto insurance company. But what do you do if something happens that causes a scratch or minor bumps? Is it worth making an insurance claim? Does auto insurance cover minor damages? Often the answer is “yes, cornâ¦ â. Your insurance may cover minor damage, but it might not be cost effective to file a claim if the damage can be repaired at a reasonable cost without it.
Are minor damages covered by auto insurance?
Does auto insurance cover scratches and dents? First, what constitutes minor damage? Scratches and dents can dull your car’s paintwork or cause blemishes, but they do not interfere with its operation. So, it would likely be considered minor damage if someone banged on your car or if road debris blew up and left a mark or dent on the finish, for example. If the damage is severe enough that you cannot drive your car, you should have it taken to a repair shop immediately.
In most cases, collision coverage or comprehensive coverage could be used to pay for minor damages if you have them. However, it is important to take your deductible into account when determining whether the claim is worth it. Suppose your minor damage totals $ 150, but you have a full or collision deductible of $ 500. In this case, your insurance would not work and you would pay the full cost out of pocket. If you only carry your state’s minimum insurance requirements, you won’t have this type of coverage. For vehicle damage, you would need a fully covered insurance policy.
When does auto insurance cover scratches and dents?
As the name suggests, collision coverage pays for damage if you collide with another car or object, such as a lamppost or a mailbox while driving. Comprehensive coverage for damage to your car in all accidents other than collisions. Examples of comprehensive claims can include a tree falling on your car, vandalism, or a hailstorm breaking windows.
Here are some other possible scenarios and how you might pay for them:
- A deer rams your car: While you might consider hitting a deer something that would be covered by collision coverage, animal damage is actually part of comprehensive coverage. Even an incident with a small animal can cause damage, but a deer can damage a car under the right circumstances.
- A squirrel is gnawing at the cables of your car: This type of damage can cost more than a minor scratch and could render your car unusable. Your property and casualty insurance could come into play to pay for it.
- You enter a fender bender: If you hit another vehicle in traffic and end up scratching your bumper, damage to your vehicle could be covered by collision coverage. Your liability for property damage would cover damage to the other driver’s vehicle.
- Your car is locked: Vandalism is also one of the categories covered by full coverage. Other examples might include someone who spray-painted your car or damaged doors or windows while trying to break into.
- Debris from the road hits your car: If a stone or cargo blows off the truck in front of you and hits your car, it may be covered by full coverage. If, however, you hit something in the road – such as a car bumper from a previous accident – it could be considered a collision loss. Your insurer may also offer you additional window coverage, with a lower deductible or no deductible, which would cover you if something cracked your window or windshield.
When doesn’t auto insurance cover scratches and dents?
In some cases, auto insurance does not cover scratches and dents. In these scenarios, it would not make sense to file an insurance claim and you would have to pay the repairs out of pocket. Here are some examples :
- If you don’t have collision and comprehensive coverage: If you only buy your state’s minimum liability insurance, you don’t have coverage for damage to your car. Liability covers damage to the other driver’s car in an accident you cause, as well as the other driver’s medical bills.
- If the damage is due to normal wear and tear: As your car ages, it is likely to pick up occasional sounds no matter how carefully you drive. These will generally not be covered by your policy.
- If you were negligent in causing the scratch or dent: If, for example, you get angry after finding a ticket on your window and kicking your vehicle, creating a dent, your insurer is likely to deny any claim you make for the damage that occurs.
- You don’t know when the damage occurred or when the damage is old: If you wait to make a claim for damages that occurred years ago, you probably won’t be successful. Insurers set limits on when they will pay a claim. While you may not always remember the exact time the damage occurred, you should be prepared to tell your insurer the date of the loss and the circumstances of it.
- If you acted in a way that violated your policy: If, for example, you were crossing the Mexican border for a weekend and the damage occurred during your stay, you would be required to make repairs unless you purchased a country-specific policy for Mexico, because the country does not recognize the United States. Strategies.
Should you make a claim for a scratch or dent?
Just because you can filing a claim about a scratch or dent does not mean that you should. Filing a claim may increase your premium, unless you are eligible for an accident discount. And if the damage is really minor, it might not make sense to file a complaint as it could cost less to repair than your deductible amount.
For example, if a shopping cart hits your car and leaves a scratch with an estimate of $ 100 to repair, filing a claim would make no sense if your deductible is $ 500. However, if the damage from an incident represents a larger repair cost, such as $ 1,000, you may want to file a claim as it exceeds your deductible.
If there are injuries in an accident, even if they seem minor at the time, you should get a police report and notify your insurer of the accident. Sometimes an injury that seems minor can turn into something more serious after the fact, and unless you notify your insurance company in a timely manner, they might refuse to pay a claim.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I scratch another car?
If the damage is minor and you and the other driver agree who is responsible, you may be able to avoid purchasing insurance. However, if you are concerned that the other driver will later change their mind and submit a claim, it may be best to contact your insurer right after the accident.
Are scratches expensive to repair?
The cost of repairing a scratch or dent will depend on the extent of the damage sustained. Your costs may differ significantly from someone else’s for similar damage depending on your region, vehicle type, and repair shop. Obtain several quotes from reputable repair shops, if possible, before approving repairs.
Will I be covered for scratches and bumps if I only have minimal insurance?
If you only carry your state’s minimum liability requirements, you will not be covered for damage to your car unless it is the fault of the other driver (and then your damage should be paid by their policy, not yours). To protect your car, you may want to consider full coverage insurance, which includes full coverage and collision coverage.
Do I always have to contact my insurance company after an accident?
Unless you plan to file a claim, it’s a good idea to let your business know you’ve been in an accident, especially if other cars are involved. This way your business can be prepared if the other driver later files a claim against you.