Can I claim insurance for car dents?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • When you buy auto insurance, a liability-only policy will not provide coverage for your vehicle
  • If you add comprehensive and collision insurance to your personal auto policy, the policy will pay for covered repairs on your vehicle to restore it to its pre-loss condition
  • When your vehicle is dented, it’s not always covered by your insurance. The cause of the dent is very important. The damage must have happened suddenly and not worsened over time or the claim will be denied
  • Comprehensive coverage will be available to use if the dent was caused by a falling object, a hail storm, a vandal, or an accident with a live animal. Dent claims are subject to a deductible
  • Collision will be available to use if you collide with another car or another object and your car is dented. You must pay a deductible before the carrier will pay for body work

It’s amazing how different a car can look with a few dents. Your once perfect vehicle could easily turn into a blemished one because of a careless shopper in a parking lot or a stray baseball.

What’s even more frustrating is that even small dents can be expensive to repair at professional body shops who have all of the right dent repair equipment.

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Since the dent doesn’t affect how your car functions, it’s more than likely the last thing that you want to spend your hard-earned money on repairing. Luckily, there’s a chance that you don’t have to come out of pocket to fix your vehicle if you carry the right insurance.

Here’s a guide to auto insurance and how dent repair is covered:

What type of policy do you have?

 

Whether or not your policy is going to pay for dents and dings depends on how they appeared and also what type of policy you’re carrying at the time.

If you have a basic auto insurance policy, you’re not going to have the optional first-party coverage options that you need to file a claim for damage to your own car.

Basic auto policies provide strictly third-party coverage that pays for the other person’s vehicle and their medical bills.

The mandatory coverage options that you’ll find on every basic plan include Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

In some states, drivers are required to carry Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection, and Uninsured Motorist as well. None of these will help you pay for your physical damage expenses.

What type of coverage do you need for dent repair coverage?

If you’d like your policy to pay for dent repair, you’ll need to add comprehensive or both comprehensive and collision to your plan.

Each of these coverage options falls under the coverage category called physical damage coverage.

In your policy booklet, it’ll be called Part D: Coverage for Damage to Your Auto. Each coverage pays for different incidents.

When does your comprehensive coverage pay for body work?

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Comprehensive is often referred to as Other Than Collision because it pays when you have an incident that’s beyond your control.

Dent claims often fall under comprehensive because they can happen when you’re in your car and when you’re sleeping in your home.

The different causes covered under your comprehensive coverage include:

  • Falling objects (tree, fruit, objects falling off of a truck)
  • Hail falling during a storm
  • A door hitting your vehicle while you’re parked
  • An act of vandalism
  • A deer running into your car while crossing the road

To file a claim for a comprehensive loss, the damage must exceed your deductible.

Luckily, the deductible carried for comprehensive is often lower than the other deductible on the policy. Some people carry a deductible as low as $50. The coverage will only pay up to your car’s value to cover the cost of repair.

When does your collision coverage pay for dent repair?

 

Collision is defined as the physical damage coverage that pays when your car is damaged after it collides with any type of property.

You can collide with a barrier, a wall, an object sitting in the road, or a vehicle and have your damage coverage. Your collision will only pay if you’re at fault in an accident where two or more cars are involved.

Like comprehensive coverage, collision pays when the collision deductible is exceeded. You must pay the deductible before the company will issue a check. If the car’s Actual Cash Value is exceeded, the company will settle the claim as a total loss instead of a collision loss.

Is there a limit to how much insurers will pay?

Companies may have partners with body repair companies to ensure that the cost of labor is covered. If you decide to get your work done elsewhere, there’s a limit to how much the company will pay for labor.

You should see if the company charges more than this limit before you choose the repair shop.

It’s possible to make a claim against your policy to cover the cost of dent repairs. If you’re not carrying the right coverage, it’s time to get quotes for a full coverage policy. Do a thorough comparison by using an online rate comparison tool, and then you can secure adequate coverage at a fair price.

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