Does car insurance cover keyed cars?

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You come out of work one evening only to find that a key has scratched your beloved car. It is an upsetting act of vandalism, and even though it may only cause cosmetic damage to your vehicle, the repair costs can be expensive. Auto insurance policies can offer coverage for keyed cars and other acts of vandalism. But it is recommended that you have a thorough knowledge of what is or is not covered by your policy before facing this type of situation. Knowing your auto insurance coverage limits and deductibles beforehand will help you decide whether or not to file a claim for a keyed car.

Will insurance cover a keyed car?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy that provides coverage against theft, vandalism and weather-related damage, then you can file a claim if your vehicle is keyed. This means that if you only have liability insurance, your keyed car will not be covered through your auto insurer.

Even though it may seem minor, keyed vehicles are often costly to repair. In many cases, the cost may be $1,000 or more. You might be able to find the perpetrator to cover the damage, but if that is unlikely, working with your auto insurer may be the route to go to repair your vehicle. However, depending on the comprehensive deductible you selected when setting up your auto policy, you may not be able to file a claim if your deductible is higher than the repair costs to fix your vehicle.

Will making a claim on my keyed car affect my premium?

An important consideration before filing a claim is how it may affect your premiums. It is not surprising if your cost of car insurance increases after you file a claim, regardless of how minor the issue. When you file a claim for your keyed car, the cost of your premiums may increase upon your policy’s renewal, though it probably will not be as high as after an at-fault accident.

Your annual premiums are most likely to rise if you file more than one claim within a short time. If you have one claim on record in the last two years and file another one, your premiums have the highest chance of being affected. Insurance companies make up for the cost paid in claims with a higher premium, even if the expenses were for minor cosmetic damage. Therefore, if you are trying to save money by getting your auto insurer to pay for the repair expenses of your keyed car, remember that you may end up paying a higher premium for the next few years.

What do I do if someone keys my car?

The process of filing a claim in case of a keyed car is much the same as any other damage. Some of the steps to take include:

  • Document the incident by time and place, and take photos and videos
  • File a police report
  • Inform your insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage
  • Send your vehicle to a repair shop for inspection

If you decide to file a claim, your auto insurer will either reimburse you after you have paid the mechanic, or the insurer might pay the mechanic directly. Regardless, the payment from your insurer will be minus your comprehensive deductible. For example, you would have to pay the difference between the amount owed to the repair shop and what was paid by your auto insurer out of pocket to cover your deductible.

Frequently asked questions

When should I file a claim for a keyed car?

It makes sense to file a claim for a keyed car if the cost of having the cosmetic damage repaired is higher than your insurance deductible. Otherwise, you may consider paying out of pocket to cover the repairs. In addition, you must have comprehensive coverage on your policy for the vehicle that was keyed to file a vandalism claim.

How much does it cost to fix a keyed car?

The cost of repairing a scratch depends on how far and deep the damage has penetrated. If it has only scratched the top coat, the expenses will be the least, as opposed to the scratch damaging the color coat and the base coat and reaching the bare metal. If the color of your vehicle is uncommon and not easily available or if the scratch has extended to more than one panel, expect the cost to be higher.

Does collision coverage pay for a keyed car?

Collision covers damage to your vehicle sustained because of a crash with another vehicle. Comprehensive coverage is what usually pays for a keyed vehicle as it is considered vandalism.

Written by
Cynthia Widmayer
Insurance Contributor
Cynthia Widmayer has over two years of experience as a personal finance writer. She covers home, car and life insurance products for Bankrate, the Simple Dollar, and Coverage.com, among others.
Edited by
Senior Insurance Editor