When someone keys or scratches your car, it is vandalism. Vandalism is one of the perils covered under comprehensive auto insurance. Comprehensive insurance is optional coverage you can add to supplement a basic car insurance policy.

Depending on how bad the damage is, it may not be worth it to file a claim. If the damage repair costs less than your deductible, your claim will be denied and you may still see an increase in your premium.

This article includes:

My car got keyed. Am I covered?

Comprehensive car insurance covers the cost to repair damage if your car is keyed and scratched. Comprehensive coverage is optional insurance that you can purchase as an add-on to your standard car insurance policy.

You are not legally required to have comprehensive insurance, but if you're leasing a car or purchasing one through a lender, they often require you to have it.

What to do if someone keys your car

If you discover your car has been keyed, the steps you need to take to get the damage repaired are fairly straightforward, including taking photos, filing a police report and contacting your insurer.

Document the damage

Start by taking photos of the damage to your car. These can be necessary when filing a police report or car insurance claim. Also, see if there are any surveillance cameras in the area where the vandalism happened, and ask the business running the camera if you can get a copy of the footage. If there were witnesses, get their names and contact information.

File a police report

File a police report to get the insurance claim process started. If you are in no immediate danger, use the non-emergency line. Otherwise, first get to safety and then contact the police, and call 911 if you can't. If a police officer comes to meet you at the site, you can file a report there. If not, you'll probably need to go to the local police precinct. The report serves the dual purpose of helping the police catch the culprit and provide your car insurance company with the information needed for your claim.

Contact your car insurance company

Call your car insurer as soon as you're done filing the police report. They will ask for details such as the date and time of the incident, as well as the damage that occurred. Having photos of the damage is useful. Make sure to give accurate details of exactly what damage occurred due to the vandalism.

Go to a car repair shop

Go to a reputable, licensed auto repair shop. They can check out the extent of the damage and give you a quote for fixing it that you can pass onto your insurer. If you do not have a repair shop you're familiar with, your car insurance company should be able to recommend one.

Pay the policy deductible

When picking up your car after it is repaired, the auto shop might be able to send the bill directly to your insurance provider. In this instance, you'll pay your comprehensive insurance deductible to the repair shop. Your insurer then pays the shop the remaining amount due for the repairs.

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

The repair cost on a keyed car depends on how many layers were scratched and the length of the scratch.

If you are looking at a deep scratch, where it goes all the way down to the primer or even the metal, Consumer Insurance Report says it can cost up to $2,500 to repair. If only the clear coat is dinged, you may be able to fix it yourself. Otherwise. Autobody Review says the cost starts at $500 and goes up to $1,000 for one panel.

Will my insurance rates go up after a vandalism claim?

A claim to repair keying damage won't increase your rates as much as a collision would, but filing a claim can still result in your premium going up.

Depending on the severity of damage, you may not want to file an auto insurance claim. If the damage costs less to repair than your deductible, your claim will be denied and you may still see a premium increase for filing the claim.

If the cost is slightly more than your deductible, you may still be better off paying out of pocket. This is because the increase to your premium after the claim can be much more over time than the cost of the repairs. Think carefully before you file the claim.


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