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Does Car Insurance Cover Scratches?

Insurance... You hate having to pay for the premiums every single month. However, it can be a godsend for whenever you get into a sticky situation, and are in need to claim some money for patching up your car, as well as covering any other extra costs and compensations. But what if you discover that your car now has an unsightly scratch on it. 

As you ponder along what caused it and what to do next, you just remembered about your car's insurance. But does your insurance coverage even compensate for scratches? Moreover, is it worth calling your insurance agent for what is seemingly a simple scratch? The answer to that is yes, you can indeed file an insurance claim for a scratch. 

But do you really want to, that's the better question. You might find that for minor scratches and cosmetic damage, it's not worth claiming that insurance money. But why is this so? 

Be Mindful Of What Your Insurance Covers 

To understand this a bit more, we need to look at what type of insurance coverage you have for your car. For example, some folks are unable to afford anything more than the basic insurance policy, which unfortunately doesn't cover scratches. But the pricier tiers above that should indeed offer you some protection.

However, you'll also have to be mindful of the nature of the scratch itself. You see, different types of scratches, and how they appeared, may not be covered under some types of insurance policies. For this, let's take a peek at the different coverages of insurance that you can get in the UK.

Third Party

Covers you to drive your car on the UK roads, and will pay for repairs on other peoples cars if you have any accident, but not your own. But does not cover scratches.

Third Party, Fire and Theft

This cover is the same as third party mentioned above, but also helps cover a car fire and theft of your own car. But does not cover scratches. 

Comprehensive Coverage

When it comes to comprehensive coverage, this is an insurance package that covers damage caused by a collision, theft, or vandalism etc. For example, your car was keyed (in other words, vandalism, which requires a police report for a claim), a tree branch fell on your car, or someone pushed a shopping trolley and had hit your car. 

These types of accidental damages are covered under a comprehensive auto insurance. A comprehensive package, therefore, covers you when when you're not within or in control of your car at the time the scratch happened as well as cover road traffic accidents.

This sort of coverage also covers scratches caused by accidents with other objects. However, this doesn't just include other cars. It could be you hitting stationary objects, such as driving into a post box or a pole. Maybe you've hit your door on another car in a tight parking space etc.

Car washes can sometimes scratch your car, or perhaps you squeezed your car through some wooded areas and had branches scrape the side of your car. Otherwise, it might be hitting debris or stone chips while you're driving along. If you're piloting your car when this scratch emerged, then you’ll be covered as well under comprehensive insurance.

Is It Worth Filing An Insurance Claim For A Scratch?

Since we've understood a bit more on what types of insurance covers for what sort of scratches, we have to ask whether it's all worth it. There are several questions that you need to ask yourself before you decide...

  • Does this scratch impact the aesthetics of my car, and will it thus contribute to a reduction in the resale value of left as is?
  • Is the cost of repairing that scratch within your insurance policy's excess amount, and do you have cash to fix it?
  • Are you willing and prepared for the potential of having to pay for higher insurance premiums after making that claim?

We should look at these questions one by one. The first might affect you heavily if you own a newer car. A scratch, although it might not be too bad, could have a huge impact on your car's resale value. It's a sore on the eyes, and few would be keen to buy your car if it has a nasty scrape on the side of it. Depending on how much your car is worth, you'll have to decide this on your own.

The next one is a good prompt to get through right away. How much is your insurance policy's excess? Let's say you've had your car sent to a workshop post-scratch, and had it inspected. The technician says it's going to cost £1,500 for a complete fix. If your insurance has an excess of £500, then you'll need to pay that £500 out of pocket.

Meanwhile, the remaining £1,000 is paid by the insurance company. While this might seem great, remember that claiming your insurance does have a chance of increasing your premium. As such, we recommend that damages less than your excess amount should just be paid out of pocket, in order to avoid higher rates down the line. Speaking of which, there's the premium.

If you're found to be at-fault - in other words, you caused the scratch - then your premiums will no doubt go up as soon as you make a claim. According to the data that we've found, it could rise between 10% to 40% for your first at-fault claim. A second at-fault claim could see your insurance premiums spiking by another 40% to 150%.

To Claim, Or Not To Claim

In conclusion, we can say that yes, insurance policies do generally cover scratches (aside from many basic coverage plans). However, whether or not you should go ahead and make a claim is a completely different subject altogether. If your scratch is very minor and isn't too terribly expensive to fix, then you'd best be dealing with that away from the insurance company.

Although, if the scratch itself is costly to fix, and could have a detrimental impact on your vehicle's value, then claiming that insurance money isn't a bad idea at all. The two things to bear in mind the most are your insurance excess, and its yearly premium rates. In all, it's great to have a good insurance policy watching over you. But do think twice before you make a call with your car insurance company.