Does insurance cover someone keying my car?

If your car is keyed, you must have comprehensive coverage to help pay for your car repairs. The average cost to repair a keyed vehicle is between $200 and $2,000.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 24, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...
  • In most states, you’re required by law to buy third-party liability coverage to pay for medical expenses and property damage incurred by others
  • If you buy only what’s required by law, your auto insurance won’t pay for any claims that you present for damage to your car
  • If your car is damaged in an act of vandalism, you need to carry comprehensive physical damage coverage if you want help paying for your car repairs
  • The average cost to repair a vehicle after it’s been keyed is between $200 and $2000 per car part scratched
  • When you file a claim for a car that’s been keyed, your policy will pay up to your vehicle’s Actual Cash Value at the time of the loss


When you own valuable property, you take steps to prevent losses at all costs. Since cars are unique types of property that are often on-the-go, it’s difficult to keep them locked away in a garage at all times.

When your car is parked in public, it’s virtually impossible to keep it shielded from all of the hazards it can face on a daily basis.

Whenever you park your car and you leave it out in the open, it’s possible for someone with bad intent to key it. Car keying is one of the most common acts of vandalism against cars and also one that is most difficult to avoid.

While a car alarm might alert you that someone is near your vehicle, it doesn’t alert you until after the paint has been scarred. It’s important to build an insurance policy that provides you the coverage you need.

Start building your policy by comparison shopping. Enter your zip code into our comparison tool to get started!

Is car keying a major problem?

If you take a look at your key ring, it’s full of a dozen or more perfectly crafted weapons that can be used to key a car. One of the reasons why keying is one of the most popular acts of vandalism is because it’s so easy to do. A vengeful ex, a rebellious teen, or a spiteful neighbor are all suspects on the list after a car keying.

Typically, residents in an area only begin to take notice a problem when dozens of cars are hit by the same vandals. What is scary is that anyone can fall victim to this malicious type of damage. You don’t need to have an enemy to be a victim.

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How much does it cost to repair a car when it’s keyed?

It’s amazing to think that something as small as a lock key can do a great deal of damage. Unfortunately for vehicle owners, fixing damage after a car has been keyed isn’t as easy as painting over the scratches.

If the vandal put any muscle into scratches, they will be deep enough where they must be sanded and buffed out before the panel is painted.

Since repairing gouges requires a lot more attention than repairing a surface scratch, the cost to repair a car that’s been thoroughly keyed ranges between $200 and $2000 per panel. The actual repair cost depends on several factors.

Here are some of the factors that can affect how much your repairs will cost:

  • The vehicle make and model
  • The type of paint used on the car’s exterior
  • How deep and long the scratches are
  • How many panels were scratched
  • The shop’s rate per hour for scratch repair

What type of coverage do you need for protection against vandals?

If you decide that you want to keep your car insurance premiums as low as possible, you can buy a bare minimum policy that includes only what’s required by the state.

Policies won’t pay for car damage claims for policyholders that carry only basic coverage options. If you want coverage for your car, you need to add at least comprehensive coverage to your policy.

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What types of claims does comprehensive coverage pay for?

Comprehensive coverage is a form of first-party coverage that will pay for the repairs that are needed to your covered vehicle after it is damaged in a covered loss.

Unlike collision coverage, comprehensive pays for losses that don’t involve a collision. The only exception to that rule is when you collide with a live animal.

Other losses covered include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Flood
  • Hail
  • Damage caused by animals

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What should you do if you have a keyed car claim?

When you discover that your car is keyed, you should take appropriate steps to ensure your claim is settled quickly. Make sure to file a police report so that the insurance company has the report for their records.

Call your agent to file your claim and submit the paperwork as requested. The insurer may want to inspect the car before repairs are made.

Comprehensive costs an average of $138 per year. If you are not happy with how much you’re paying for the coverage, get quotes from other carriers. Use our FREE online rate comparison tool by entering your zip code and you can see competitive rates instantly.

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