Are scratches covered by car insurance?

Cars driving in a street

Over half of motorists have scraped or knocked their car leaving them with cosmetic damage to their paint work including scratches. Are these scratches covered on your car insurance and is it really worthwhile claiming for these on your insurance?

Firstly, if you have third party or third party fire & theft insurance you will be unable to claim on your insurance. The reason being that third party insurance only covers you for damage caused to another person’s vehicle or property. With this level of cover you are unable to claim for any damage done to your own vehicle.

If you are unsure of the damage that has been caused to your vehicle, or another vehicle, and the cost it will be to repair. Then it would probably work out best to go through your insurance company. This ensures that everything is kept above board and everyone knows where they stand. 

However if you have comprehensive insurance scratches and dents are covered. Not many people choose to make a claim through their insurance though, for two main reasons.

The two reasons being “excess” and “no claims bonus.” 

What is Excess?  

There are two types of excess when it comes to your car insurance and would have been agreed when you set your policy up with your insurance company.

  • Compulsory Excess – This is set by your insurance company and cannot be changed.
  • Voluntary Excess – This is an amount of money you set when taking out your policy and is what you will pay on top of your compulsory excess. Normally the higher your voluntary excess the lower your premiums are

Oftentimes when claiming for scratches to your body work, by the time you have paid both the compulsory and voluntary excess, which is likely to come in around £500, it will probably just be cheaper to pay for the damage to be repaired yourself.

What is a “No Claims Bonus”?

For every year that you go without making an insurance claim you get a “bonus.” The longer you can go without making a claim, the bigger your no claims bonus is. Many people decide that the cost of repairing the scratches is better than losing their no claims bonus.

The only way around not losing your no claims bonus is if you have it protected within your policy. Simply put this means that you are able to make a set amount of claims in a year before your bonus would be lost.  

What if another car is involved? 

The scratch to your car may have been caused by a tree branch when you’re driving down a country road, but what about when it is caused by a minor bump with another car? Should you make a claim on your insurance then? 

This all depends on if there is damage to the other car and how bad it is.

Often with little bumps between two drivers they may both agree to settle privately and not get their insurance companies involved. This is all well and good, until the costs start mounting. It can very quickly slide from an agreement for the party at fault to agree to pay for all of the costs for both vehicles to be repaired to an argument between two people when one person believes that the other is trying to take advantage of the situation. 

If you are unsure of the damage that has been caused to your vehicle, or another vehicle, and the cost it will be to repair. Then it would probably work out best to go through your insurance company. This ensures that everything is kept above board and everyone knows where they stand. 

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