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Does car insurance cover a keyed car?

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

You can get your car’s scratched paint or other body damage covered by your insurance if someone keys your car, but only if you add coverage that’s not legally required for driving. You also need to decide whether the cost of fixing the scratch is worth repairing or filing a claim.

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

Yes. Car insurance will cover repairing your car after it’s been keyed if you have a comprehensive policy. Comprehensive coverage protects you from car damage that’s outside your control like vandalism, theft, fire or storms.

If someone keyed your car, fixing the cosmetic damage could cost you hundreds of dollars if the scratch goes down to the metal. On the other hand, there’s no point in filing a claim if your deductible costs more than the cost of repairs.

Instead, you can get a repair quote for the damage, and consider paying out of pocket rather than going through the hassle of an insurance claim.

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.

How much does it cost to fix a keyed car?

You can see if the repairs cost more than your car insurance deductible to help you decide whether to file a claim. If your deductible is $500, it’s likely that the repairs cost more than your deductible and won’t be worth a claim.

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

Do I need to repair my car after it gets keyed?

Many small scratches to your paint don’t need to be fixed unless you don’t like how it looks. Or if the scratch is short and relatively shallow, it may need a touch-up, a job you potentially could do yourself or have done for a couple of hundred dollars. You also won’t need to worry about your car rusting if the scratch is on any plastic parts.

But if the scratch goes through the layers of paint to the metal of the car, a professional repair job may cost you several hundred dollars or more.

For scratches that you’re not sure about, you can have a mechanic or body shop evaluate your car — leaving deep scratches alone could leave your car vulnerable to rust.

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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 to do after someone keys my car

After someone keys your car, you’ll want to report the situation to the police and decide whether to contact your insurance company. It can be difficult to prove who keyed your car, but capturing the incident on camera or having a witness can help your case.

  1. Get proof of the damage. Start by taking pictures of the damage and finding out if anyone saw or recorded the incident on camera. If there are witnesses, get their information for the police.
  2. Call the police and report the date, time and location of the incident — and get a copy of the police report.
  3. Get a repair estimate. Have a licensed repair shop provide an estimate.
  4. Choose whether to file a claim. After looking at your policy and the cost of repairs, decide whether to repair your car or file a car insurance claim.
  5. Get your car repaired. If you’re repairing, you can schedule a time to drop your car off at the repair shop.

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.

Questions about damage after someone keys your car

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