Finding out that your car has been keyed is an unwelcome surprise. If someone keys or scratches your car, it’s considered vandalism, which is covered by comprehensive insurance. If you don’t know whether you have comprehensive coverage, check your insurance declaration page or contact your auto insurer.

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, or the cost to fix your scratched car is less than your deductible, you may choose not to file an insurance claim. That means you’ll have to pay out of pocket for repairs. However, if you can prove who vandalized your car in small claims court, you could be reimbursed for any damages. Find out how to handle a keyed car in this article, which includes:

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What to do if someone keys your car

So, you walk out to your vehicle and realize it’s been scratched or keyed. The steps you need to take after this discovery are like those you would take for most other car damage claims. Here’s what to do if someone vandalizes your car:

  • Document the damage. Take photos and videos and see if there were any cameras or people around that may have seen the incident. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information. Thoroughly documenting the scene will help with the police report and insurance claim.
  • File a police report. Next, you need to get a police report. If you’re not in immediate danger, you should call the non-emergency line and an officer may come to you. If you’re in a city, you may have to go to the station to obtain a police report. Documenting the details of the crime (like the time and place) with the police will be useful if you and your insurer take the culprit to court.
  • Contact your insurance company. You should call your insurance agent or claims number as soon as possible after the incident. Your insurer will ask for details about the incident, like the date and time, the type of damage, if you know who did it and more. Answering these questions truthfully and accurately will make the claims process smoother.
  • Take your car to an auto repair shop. The mechanic will inspect your scratched car and give you a quote for the repairs. If you’re unsure of which shop to take your car to, your insurance company may have a list of preferred shops in your area, so check with them.
  • Pay your deductible . When you return to pick up your repaired car, your insurance company may directly pay the mechanic. If that’s the case, you’ll pay your comprehensive deductible to the repair shop when you pick up your car. If your insurer cuts you a check for the repairs, you’ll pay the mechanic the full amount. Make sure you check how much your deductible will be before you get your car repaired to avoid any surprise costs.

How much does it cost to fix a scratch on a car?

The cost to fix a keyed or scratched car depends on how many layers of paint are damaged and how long the scratch is.

If the scratch hits all the way to the primer or metal, for example, it could cost you around $1,000. Whereas if the scratch makes it to the paint, it could cost around $700 to fix. If it only cracks the clear coat, you may be able to fix it yourself. If not, you’ll likely pay around $200 to have it professionally fixed. Repair costs also vary based on your car’s paint job, your deductible amount and whether damage extends over multiple car panels.

Keep in mind that you won’t want to file a claim with your insurance company if your deductible amount is higher or around the same as the cost to repair your vandalized vehicle. For example, if your deductible amount is $500, but repair costs are $450, you’ll save money by paying out of pocket.

Does vandalism raise your insurance rates?

A keyed car doesn’t necessarily raise your auto insurance rates, but if you file an insurance claim, your premium could increase. Damage from a keyed car won’t impact your rates as much as an at-fault car accident would, though.

If you can avoid filing a claim with your insurance company and instead pay for repairs out of pocket, you should do so, especially if the increase in rates would quickly add up to repair costs or you’ve recently filed an insurance claim. Your insurance company will be more likely to increase your rates if you file several claims within a short amount of time. LLC has made every effort to ensure that the information on this site is correct, but we cannot guarantee that it is free of inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. All content and services provided on or through this site are provided "as is" and "as available" for use. LLC makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of this site or to the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. You expressly agree that your use of this site is at your sole risk.