Does car insurance cover paint damage?

Get covered for a damaged paint job with a comprehensive policy.

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Scratched paint on the bumper of a white car

You might be able to claim paint damage to your car under car insurance if you have comprehensive coverage, but it’s not always a good idea to make a minor paint damage claim.

When will I be covered for paint damage?

Car insurance will usually only pay for damage that results from an insured event. In the case of paint damage, you’ll generally only be able to claim it with comprehensive car insurance, except in some very specific situations, such as paint damage caused by a collision with another driver.

Will property damage liability insurance cover a paint job?

Since this is primarily liability insurance, it will generally only cover a paint job for the other party if you are at fault, or for your car if another driver ran into you. Liability only coverage won’t cover a new paint job after an accident you caused.

Will collision coverage cover a paint job?

Collision coverage, which provides coverage for your own property if you are at fault, will likely cover a paint job after a car accident. But it won’t cover pre-existing paint damage. So if your front bumper has scratched paint but your car was rear ended, your claim won’t include coverage for your front bumper.

Will comprehensive car insurance cover a paint job?

Comprehensive coverage might pay for new paint following any insurable event that damaged the paint job. This might be an accident, a storm, theft, vandalism or other incident.

Types of car insurance coverage

What exclusions should I be aware of?

Car insurance generally won’t cover damage caused by deterioration, wear and tear or weathering. You typically won’t be able to claim paint damage when it’s the result of ongoing exposure to rain, sand, sun, salt, water or similar. However, you might still be able to make a comprehensive claim it if your paint was damaged in a single event or weather-related incident.

How is paint wear and tear covered?

Car insurance specifically won’t cover damage from wear and tear or deterioration, but some deterioration of paint is inevitable in older cars. In some cases, the cost of new paint will actually be deducted from a car insurance claim, or you might have to pay for the cost of a new paint job on top of a claim.

For example, if your claim involves brand new panels to replace old and weathered ones, an insurer might ask you to pay the difference in value between brand new vs old and weathered. Your insurer wants to avoid inadvertently paying for a new paint job when it’s not covered.

Should I make a claim for paint damage?

It depends on the cost of repairs and your deductible. If you can pay for paint repairs out of pocket or the damage is less than your deductible, it will probably save you money in the long run to take care of repairs without involving insurance.

How long after a car accident can you file a claim?

How much does a car paint job cost out of pocket?

The cost of repainting a car can vary widely depending on how good a job it is, whether you’re getting any additional protective coatings, what kind of paint it is and what kind of car you’re driving.

Generally, you might expect to pay several thousand for an entire repainting, or between several hundred and $1,000 for a basic touch up.

  • DIY painting. You can often order specialty touch-up paint from your mechanic that matches your car’s current color for less than $50. Touch up small spots and dings yourself in only a few minutes.
  • A basic touch up. Mostly cosmetic, up to $1,000. The invisible parts of the car, like under the hood, generally won’t be done, and you’re looking at basic synthetic enamel paint. It’s mostly focused on matching the color as close as possible and isn’t expected to be a long-term fix.
  • A full paint job. A full body paint job usually involves sanding the body, removing rust and repainting it for a consistent and clear finish. This is generally far more expensive than a basic touch up, considering the amount of work and materials involved, and could cost several thousand dollars.

Bottom line

You might be able to fix your car’s paint or get a new paint job through your insurance, but be prepared to pay your deductible. Compare your options to find a car insurance company that won’t cheap out on paint coverage.

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