Does car insurance cover a keyed car?

Comprehensive policies cover scratched paint, but it's not always worth it to file a claim.

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Someone keyed my car, will my car insurance cover it?

Yes, if you have a comprehensive policy. Comprehensive coverage protects you from damages outside your control, like vandalism, theft, fire, storms or other kinds of damage.

If your car’s been keyed, fixing the cosmetic damage could cost you hundreds or more if the scratch goes down to the metal. And while comprehensive car insurance covers vandalism, there’s no point filing a claim if your deductible costs more than the damage.

Get a repair quote for fixing the damage, and if the quote is less than your deductible, consider paying out of pocket instead.

How much does it cost to fix a keyed car?

Many small scratches to your paint don’t need to be fixed, except for cosmetic purposes. And you won’t need to worry about risks of rusting if the scratch is on any plastic part of your car. But fixing damage that penetrates to the metal frame of your car could be a cause for making a claim or dipping into savings.

  • Small scratch, paint or plastic damage only: $100-$500
  • Large scratch, damage to body: $500+

If your deductible is $500, for example, it probably won’t be worth it to make a claim.

Should I file an insurance claim for a keyed car?

It depends on your policy and the extent of the damage. If your deductible is higher than the cost of the repair, there’s no point in filing a claim.

If the scratch is short and relatively shallow, it may just need a touch-up, a job you could potentially do yourself or have done for a couple hundred dollars. If it’s extremely mild or hard to notice, you may even choose not to worry about it at all.

If the scratch goes through the layers of paint to the metal of the car, a professional repair job may cost you up to $1,000 or more, and leaving it alone can leave your car vulnerable to rust.

Will my insurance premiums go up if I make a claim?

Possibly, though rate increases after comprehensive claims tend to be much smaller than rate increases after a collision. However, the effect could be far worse if you’ve made another claim within the past year or two, since consecutive claims have a greater impact.

If you’re debating whether or not to file a claim, call your insurance provider and ask how your rates will be affected.

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How to file a claim for a keyed car

To make a claim for this sort of incident, you should follow the standard procedure laid out by your insurer. If you’re not sure how your insurer processes claims, call or check the website. Most providers will let you file a car insurance claim online.

Get as many details as possible, find witnesses and let your insurer know as soon as you can after discovering the damage. While a police report may not be required by your insurer, it’s in your best interests to call it in. Finding the culprit could help you recoup the cost of repairs without relying on your insurance.

What should I do if I know who keyed my car?

It can be difficult to prove who keyed your car if you have a suspicion you know who did it. But you might be able to get evidence to prove it if:

  • The act was caught on camera.
  • A witness saw who did it.
  • You have proof of a threat.

What to do after someone keys your car

  1. Start by taking a picture of the damage.
  2. If there are any witnesses who saw it happen, take down their information for the police.
  3. Call the police and report the date, time and location of the incident — and get a copy of the police report.
  4. Have a licensed repair shop provide an estimate.
  5. Decide whether to go ahead with the repairs and potentially the claim.
  6. Get your car repaired.

How to fix a keyed car

A small scratch in your car’s paint could be an easy fix. Ask your mechanic if it’s a deep scratch or if it’s an easy fix. Many repair shops sell paint pens or paint samples for less than $50 and will be able to fix any scratches quickly.

You could also choose to leave the scratch if it’s only cosmetic and you can live with the mark. A scratch in any plastic part won’t rust or get worse over time, unlike a scratch in the metal. But if you go to sell your car, you might want to fix the scratch.

Bottom line

Getting your car keyed sucks, especially when you have to pay out of pocket to get it fixed. If you have comprehensive coverage, you can file a claim to pay for the damage — but it might not be worth it if the damage is minor.

For severe metal-exposing damage, a comprehensive car insurance policy can cover the cost of vandalism and any other accident that’s keeping you off the road.

Frequently asked questions about keyed car damage

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