Car vandals have a particularly heinous method of causing just the right amount of auto damage. It’s not enough to stop your car from working, but enough cosmetic damage can result in up to $2000 in repair shop costs to have it fixed.
There’s no worse feeling than returning to your car only to find a long, deep scratch on the panel. The perpetrator is the jagged teeth of a key that has shredded into the paint and metal.
Fortunately, insurance companies often come prepared for claims on vehicle incidents that weren’t your own fault. At the same time, it’s important that you know and research your options for the most cost effective resolution.
So, your car has been keyed? Here’s what to know and do
Keying a car is an act of vandalism and therefore a crime. When discovering a scratch on your vehicle, it helps to think of it as a crime scene. Everything is evidence for you to file a car damage claim with the insurance company.
Here’s a more detailed guide on what to do:
- Personally document your car’s damage. Take photos, videos, and any witness testimony in the area at the time of the vandalism. Nearby businesses and establishments may have security footage of the incident as well. Everything you collect can be applied to the police report and insurance claim.
- Contact your insurance company. Your decision of filing a claim doesn’t have to be final at this point. Your insurance agent or claims number should still be called and notified. They will ask about or inspect the scratched car, they should be supplied with the documentation you had taken earlier. It also helps to have an alibi since vandalism is a regular strategy for insurance fraud.
- File a police report. Similarly, the police should also be contacted and briefed on your keyed car, such as when and where it happened along with the documentation. This will build a legal case against the vandal who scratched your car in court, once they have been found and identified.
Find an auto shop for your keyed car. If you’re not a regular to a reliable auto shop, then your insurance company will direct you to top performing repair shops closest to your location. A mechanic will have a look at your car and you’ll receive a quote for the repair’s cost.
- Pick up your fixed car and pay the deductible. When it comes to paying your scratch repair bill, your insurance company will do one of two things. They may directly pay the mechanic for their services. In which case you will pay your comprehensive deductible upon picking your repaired car up from the shop. Or, your insurance company will send you a check for the scratch repairs and you then pay it to the mechanic.
Comprehensive deductible? Is that how insurance covers the key scratch repair?
Comprehensive insurance covers damage done to your car that you had no part or fault in causing such as vandalism.
Keying is one of the many methods used to scratch and damage cars. Vehicles have been reported to have tires slashed, windows broken, and brutal dents.
Comprehensive insurance is there for those times of repair. Having comprehensive insurance allows you to lessen the repair cost of the scratch by filing a claim with your insurer. The comprehensive deductible would be all you would have to pay to have your keyed car fixed.
But, how does filing a claim about a keyed car scratch impact my insurance premium?
Your insurance rates are subject to increase after filing a claim about a keyed car scratch. Said rates are also more likely to grow if another or multiple claims were filed in the recent past.
That being said, your insurance premium may not be as impacted as they would if a vehicle collision was filed and covered by collision insurance. Insurance companies generally raise rates when claims are repeatedly made.
Alright. When would I want to file a claim for my scratched car?
The comprehensive deductible must be paid in order for the insurance company to cover the key scratch repairs.
Comprehensive claims are less likely to increase your insurance premium than a collision claim would. At that point, it may be worth looking into filing a claim, but only if you don’t have any recent other claims since that can also cause some rate increase.
Anytime when thinking about filing a claim, you should always keep your deductible in mind which varies based on client. Ideally, you want the amount you are claiming for the damages to not be overly higher than your deductible. However, the severity of the claim depends on the severity of the key scratch. It’s best to have a professional look at your car when in doubt.
How bad can it be? How much does it cost to fix a key scratch on a car?
The severity of a key scratch is based on how long the vandal dragged it across the vehicle’s panels and how hard they were pressing down. In short-length and depth because the scratch may stretch through multiple panels and paint layers where the true damage is done.
There’s varying ways a key scratch can impact your car and wallet:
- Scratched clear coat. The protective clear coat is the first layer of paint on a car. If the scratch doesn’t penetrate the paint beneath it. Then, it can easily be buffed out DIY style or taken to a repair shop for a minimal fee of $150.
- Scratched paint. The key scratched beyond the clear coat and hit the paint. At this point, a visit to the auto repair shop is necessary. They have to reapply the clear coat, which can cost up to $1000. The cost can vary based on the vehicle’s color since some paint colors are harder to find than others.
- Scratched primer and metal. The key has scratched as deep as it can go in the car’s body. The silver metal and primer are visible and have to be repaired and reapplied which can cost upwards of $1500 with $800 as the minimum.
- Scratched multiple panels. If the scratch is long, regardless of depth, it may stretch over multiple panels (doors) of your car. Fixing an individual panel is around $500. A scratch which covers multiple panels could literally multiply the total cost.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth fixing the damage if someone scratched my car.
Cars are keyed with the intention of causing expensive cosmetic damage. The scratches aren’t enough for the car to stop functioning obviously. So, it’s largely determined how you feel about the scratch or if it bothers you.
However, marks such as scratches affect your car’s resale value. That could put a damper on any plans to resell your vehicle at a desired price in the future. Of course, if the scratch isn’t too deep, you can also go the DIY route sans the professional quality at no cost at all.
The key scratch on my car isn’t that bad. How do I fix it myself?
If your car wasn’t keyed too severely or deeply, then there are many at home remedies for paint scratches. If the scratch isn’t that long and only affecting the clear coat, it can easily be buffed out and polished. Clear coat is also available for purchase, so if the need rises to reapply it-it’s doable on a consumer level.
Deep scratch repair concerning the primer and metal is best left to the professionals. It requires a lot more paint work and even the need for repainting.
Regardless of how the scratch gets fixed, your insurance company covers it along with other acts of vandalism with a possibility of low rate increase. Weighing out your deductible, auto shop quotes, and the severity of the scratch are all key in finding the most cost effective solution.