Does Car Insurance Cover Paint Damage & Paint Jobs?

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  • Does Car Insurance Cover Paint Damage & Paint Jobs?

No one wants to drive around with an ugly car. You might think one minor paint scratch isn’t a big deal until you start noticing it every time you look at your vehicle. Slight dings, dents, and scratches in your paint can pile up over time, diminishing your car’s appeal and value. 

You may be able to turn to your auto insurance for help. Whether your car insurance will cover paint jobs and paint damage depends on what caused the damage to your vehicle. Keep reading to learn more.

Does Car Insurance Cover Paint Damage?

Car insurance covers paint damage under collision coverage after accidents. Your insurance could cover paint jobs under comprehensive coverage after the damage you suffer otherwise. You’ll be reimbursed for the damage to your car’s paint minus your deductible. Depending on the coverage the damage falls under, your deductible may vary.

Collision coverage: After an accident, your collision coverage can pay to repair your car, which includes fixing damaged paint. You can turn to your collision coverage after a wreck you cause or, depending on your state, after a crash someone else caused. You may also turn to collision damage if someone scrapes your paint or sideswipes you and takes off.

Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive insurance will address your paint damage after inclement weather, such as hail or hurricane damage. A tree branch falling on your car and scratching your paint would also fall under comprehensive coverage.

You also must turn to your comprehensive coverage after vandalism. Someone keying your car, for instance, would be covered under comprehensive coverage. 

Sometimes, another driver’s property damage liability insurance may also cover your paint damage if that person caused an accident with you that wrecked the exterior of your car. The property damage portion of their liability insurance would cover the costs to repair your car, including a fresh paint job if necessary.

Does Car Insurance Cover Paint Jobs?

Yes, but you’ll usually need full coverage car insurance to cover paint damage to your vehicle. Also, you might want to make sure your provider knows you have a custom paint job before filing your claim. Some insurers won’t cover customizations that change the value of your car beyond a certain point.

Coverage for car modifications varies by the insurance company. Some carriers limit their coverage for aftermarket parts, and custom full body paints jobs may qualify. Notify your provider if you have a custom, costly paint job when you get your policy. 

After an accident or other form of damage, your insurer will need to calculate the cost of the paint job into repairs if it’s notable. Your insurance company may not pay to repaint your whole car in the same fashion, especially if only certain parts of it are damaged, and they didn’t know about a custom paint job beforehand.

You also can’t get your insurance to cover a custom paint job on your car just because you want one. You need to suffer some form of damage first. Additionally, if you paid for a custom paint job that didn’t turn out how you thought it would look, you can’t rely on your insurance to fix it. The issue would then be between you and the body shop.

When Does Full Coverage Insurance Cover Paint Jobs?

Full coverage car insurance can cover paint jobs through collision or comprehensive coverage if the damaged paint results from an accident or other covered peril, like fallen tree branches or hail. Insurance will not pay solely for cosmetic paint jobs out of the blue.

Full coverage is a combination of protections that cover the physical value of your car. It’s typically comprised of collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage reimburses you for repairs to your vehicle after an accident, regardless of fault. Comprehensive coverage reimburses you for repairs after your car suffers damage from anything other than an accident, such as weather-related damage, vandalism, or theft.

Your car insurance will cover paint jobs and paint damage under these two coverages. This means you’ll need to have suffered some damage and file a claim first

Will My Insurance Company Paint the Whole Car?

No, your insurance company typically won’t pay to paint your whole car during repairs. Generally, your insurance company will cover fixing and painting whatever is damaged and won’t go beyond if they don’t need to.

If your whole car needed to be painted after an accident, the odds are that it would’ve been considered a total loss and not salvageable in the first place. If your car is a total loss, then your insurer will reimburse you for the value of your car so you can get a new one instead of paying to fix the current one.

So, if your provider is paying for repairs, they’ll likely only pay to paint the new or repaired parts. The body shop will match your new paint to the original paint. Luckily, paint-matching and blending technology and methods have improved over time. Consult your mechanic if you’re especially concerned about an uneven paint job.

What to Know About Car Paint Insurance Claims

When looking for insurance coverage for a paint job, know that paint damage needs to exceed your deductible. Depending on the coverage the damage falls under, your deductible may vary. Your insurer won’t cover you if the damage is less than your deductible.

Know Your Deductibles

Every car insurance policy has a deductible, which you must pay before your insurer steps in to cover the rest of the bill. You choose your deductible when you get your plan, and common car insurance deductibles are $500, $1,000, and $2,000. Collision and comprehensive coverages sometimes have separate deductibles, so check your policy.

The main issue with paint damage is that it often doesn’t exceed your deductible. Or, if it does, it’s not worth the effort to file a claim and would instead be easier to pay for out of pocket. For instance, if you find out that the cost to fix scratches in your paint amounts to $550 and you have a $500 deductible, you’d only receive $50 from your insurance company after filing a claim. It would be quicker and easier to pay for fixing the paint yourself instead of waiting for an insurance payout that won’t even cover most of the damages.

Know The Effect On Your Premiums

You may have heard that filing claims can raise your auto insurance rates. This is true if you get in a lot of accidents, but a single car paint insurance claim likely won’t raise your rates. Generally, comprehensive claims affect premiums less than collision claims because insurers understand that you can’t really control comprehensive claims.

But, if, for some reason, you file several claims relating to paint damage, your carrier will probably become suspect. They will begin to investigate the claims more harshly, and they may raise your premiums to offset the payouts you’re costing them.

File a Claim Promptly

If you suffer paint damage from an unexpected source and it exceeds your deductible, you should file the auto insurance claim as soon as possible. Be sure to provide as much information as you can, including pictures of the damage. Filing as soon as possible helps you get reimbursed as soon as possible. 

Filing promptly also helps the insurance company verify the source of damage. If you wait to file a claim, the damage can get exacerbated. For instance, sunshine or rain can intensify the effects of a paint scratch over time. Your insurer may not be as keen to cover the damage months later because it can cost more to fix now that you’ve waited and it’s gotten worse. Waiting to file often complicates the claims process.

Does Insurance Cover Rock Chips in Paint?

Unfortunately, flying pebbles and rocks commonly cause scratches and chips in exterior paint, especially if you often drive your car long distances or off-road. Rock chips in your paint can be covered under your comprehensive insurance, but the damage is likely insufficient to warrant a claim.

Rock chips in your paint should fall under comprehensive coverage since it’s a form of environmental damage. If the cost of remedying your paint job from rock chips exceeds your deductible, you should be able to file a claim. Again, you’ll need full coverage — namely, comprehensive coverage. Having liability-only insurance won’t cover rock chips or any damage to your paint. After a successful claim, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost to remedy your paint job minus your deductible.

Rock chips tend to be a byproduct of driving, so not every insurer will cover them, especially if you’ve let several chips accumulate over time and claim them all at once. Your insurer may just consider this wear and tear. Consult your agent or provider if you have further questions.

Many drivers concerned about rock chips get paint protection film, an aftermarket part that protects paint jobs. To minimize rock chips in your paint, you may also want to avoid tailgating on highways, especially behind large semi-trucks that tend to fling pebbles and other debris in their wake.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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