There's nothing like bringing a perfect new car home from the dealer, but that brilliant shine rarely lasts for longs. Minor damage to a car's paint and body is an inevitable part of any daily driver's life. Over time, scratches and dings accumulate under a wide variety of circumstances, from small parking lot collisions to careless passersby. You have probably accepted that your car's paint cannot stay perfect forever, but are there some situations where your insurance will cover the repair of these cosmetic nuisances? As it turns out, the answer may be yes.
If you've noticed a new scratch or dent on your car, then your first step is to assess the damage and try to determine what caused it. Will the damage require significant repainting or can it be repaired with paintless dent removal? Was the damage the direct result of someone else's carelessness? This last question is particularly important to ask since it can potentially impact your ability to file a claim with your insurance company. If you suspect that the cause of the damage was someone else's actions, then taking your car to an experienced auto body repair shop for a damage estimate should be your next move.
Determining If You Can (Or Should) File a Claim
Once you have your estimate, you should compare it to your collision or comprehensive deductible. If the cost to repair is less than your deductible, filing a claim doesn't make much sense and it's better to pay for the repair out of pocket. If the damage exceeds your deductible, then it's time to start considering whether you should file a claim. If you think that the damage was the result of some natural event, such as an animal damaging your car or a fallen tree branch, then your comprehensive coverage should take care of it.
Damage sustained because of someone else's carelessness can be a bit trickier to deal with, however. If the responsible party did not leave a note and there were no witnesses, then you will need to use your policy's collision coverage to repair the damage. In most cases, this will not affect your premium if the insurance company determines that you were likely not at fault for the damage. Since serious cosmetic issues can significantly reduce the value of a car, filing a claim for damage sustained from shopping carts or minor parking lot collisions is often a smart move.
Dealing With Repair Process
Once you have filed a claim, the repair process will proceed without requiring your input. The auto body repair shop that you have chosen to work with will deal directly with your insurance company to ensure that any damage not covered by the original estimate is handled so that you will not need to spend any additional money out of pocket. Although it may seem frivolous to file a claim for small cosmetic damage, it is the best way to keep your car looking brand new while spending only a minimal amount of money out-of-pocket.