Does Car Insurance Cover Key Marks or Other Scratches?

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Car keys on the ground (Photo:@jk3030 via Twenty20)
You return to your car in the parking lot to discover deep scratches in your car’s paint — someone has keyed your car! And, of course, there’s no culprit in sight. While you can inform the police when something like this happens, there is little they can do that will result in the paint scratches being covered. Fortunately, there is a chance that your car insurance will foot the bill.
So, will your insurance cover a keyed car and other scratches to the exterior? The bottom line is that it depends on the type of coverage you have.

Does Car Insurance Cover Key Marks or Other Scratches?

There are many forms of vandalism that can ruin your paint job and result in other costly repairs, including having your vehicle spray painted, scratched, or damaged in some way. For car owners with comprehensive coverage on their vehicle, there is little to worry about since most auto insurance agencies offer comprehensive policies that cover this type of damage.
If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, then you’ll have to pay to get the paint scratches repaired out of pocket. However, if the person responsible for the key scratches is caught, then the courts have the power to make them pay for the damage. That is why it’s important to take the right steps when your car is vandalized.

What You Should Do if Your Car Is Vandalized

When you realize your car has been vandalized, it’s important that you take the steps to ensure the claims process is as painless as possible. If you have comprehensive coverage on your car, then you will go through the simple process of reporting the vandalism to the police and your car insurance company, as described below.
Record the damage: Start by recording any damage to your car, including taking a video or pictures of the car scratches. You should also take notes about the time and place that the damage occurred and the type of damage done. By writing this information down while it’s still fresh in your mind, you ensure that you don’t forget important details for your insurance claim.
Avoid touching anything: Most importantly, don’t touch anything (although it may be tempting to run your fingers over any paint scratches!). After your car has been vandalized, it’s considered evidence. Touching your vehicle or trying to fix the damage yourself can destroy the evidence the police might need.
Call the police: You should also call the police to come and investigate the paint scratches and have them file a police report. This will help bolster your claim with your car insurance company. You’ll also need to request a copy of the report to file along with your claim.
Contact your insurance company: After the police have done their investigation, contact your insurance agent to make an insurance claim. They can walk you through the claims process and tell you what you need to do and when. Your insurer will also send a claims adjuster to assess the damage.
Pay your deductible: Before your insurance company will pay out any money for key scratches, you’ll have to pay your deductible. In some cases (like if you only have a few light scratches), the repair cost might be less than your deductible, in which case it’s better to pay out of pocket.
Get the damage repaired: Once the police and the insurance adjuster have done their investigation, it’s time to get those car scratches fixed. Depending on your insurance, the process usually involves taking your keyed car to a repair shop. 
In many cases, your insurer will pay a set amount to repair the damage. If the repair costs exceed what the insurer pays, the repair shop will either bill you or your insurance for the difference.
It’s important that you report any damage to your car as soon as it happens, as waiting to do it might mean you won’t be able to secure a police report, which is something you’ll need to file a claim. By acting quickly, you can get your vehicle repaired and back on the road as soon as possible.