Does car insurance cover paint jobs?

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Things to know...
  • Insurance companies may pay for paint jobs and body work through legitimate collision and comprehensive claims
  • Insurance companies won’t pay for paint jobs intended to fix natural fading
  • Auto liability claims against at-fault drivers could cover paint jobs after an accident
  • Review numerous policies and coverage options to maximize available protections from losses

Car owners never like to look at fading or scratched paint. A nice paint job contributes to a vehicle’s overall look. Anything diminishing a paint job also detracts from more than the vehicle. The impression of the driver diminishes as well.

Paint jobs can be expensive, which is why some drivers choose to put off the work. Quite a few drivers lament the notion an insurance company won’t cover the costs of a new paint job. Automatically assuming all paint jobs are outside the scope of an insurance policy might be premature. Under certain circumstances, auto insurance companies may pay for the work.

Learn more about auto insurance coverage below and make sure to compare rates above with our free insurance comparison tool! 

When Auto Insurance Won’t Cover Paint Jobs

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A shiny paint job, like the parts inside a vehicle, may not last the life of the car. In time, the paint might fade and lose its luster due to exposure to the sun and other elements. While the scenario is unfortunate, it doesn’t reflect a legitimate loss. Insurance only pays for covered losses. Insurance policies won’t cover a new paint job just because the owner wants cosmetic improvements.

Paint can be damaged in a number of ways outside of fading opening the door to insurance payments.

While the number of legitimate claims for paint damage may be narrow, circumstances do exist in which an insurance company may cover the loss. The right coverage does need to be in place, though. Comprehensive and collision coverage would the two areas of coverage to file most claims under.

Comprehensive Coverage Paint Claims

Not all losses entail being involved in an accident. A car can be parked and suffer a loss. For non-accident losses, the vehicle protections fall under comprehensive coverage.

Filing a claim on a paint-related damage could involve, say, an incident occurring due to snow.

A car parked on the street could end up being covered not only in snow, but corrosive road salt sprayed by a salt truck.

The comprehensive claim may or may not be settled depending on how the insurance company examines the owner’s contribution to the damage. Was the driver warned not to park on the road? If so, then his/her negligence contributed to the loss and this may or may not harm the claim.

In the event, lightning struck a tree branch and the branch scratched the paint, this type of unexpected event has a greater chance of being covered. So would instances of deliberate vandalism.

Collision Coverage

A collision may not necessarily entail two cars crashing into one another. A vehicle could hit an object. The collision might not even cause severe damage. Cutting a turn too close to a parking garage wall could lead to paint scratches.

Filing a claim under collision insurance makes sense in this situation since collision coverage addresses losses drivers cause to their own cars.

As is the case with comprehensive insurance, collision insurance claims are subject to an investigation and review process. The claim may be approved or denied depending on the outcome of the investigation.

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Concerns to Be Aware of with Collision and Comprehensive Insurance

Damage exclusively to the paint of a vehicle probably would be rare. Damage to the vehicle’s body may be present due to vandalism, weather incidents, or a collision. Body damage repairs like would be covered under comprehensive and collision. So, the both more extensive repair work and the new paint job may be covered. Take that as a good reason to seriously consider purchasing comprehensive and collision insurance.

Customers should, however, take two things into consideration when buying optional comprehensive and collision insurance:

– Paying the Out of Pocket Deductible

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Collision and comprehensive insurance may both provide a means of partially paying for what may be costly repairs. Partially does not mean totally. Collision and comprehensive coverage usually come with a deductible.

No-deductible plans would come with very high premiums. With the common $500 deductible plan, the policyholder has to pay $500 out of pocket and the insurance company pays the rest. A paint job might only cost $300 so the insurance company contributes nothing. If costly paint and body damage are present, the insurance company could pay the full amount of repair expenses beyond the deductible amount.

– Resale Value Limitations

A used car with a very low resale value may suffer more damage than it is worth. The insurance company would not cover any losses beyond the car’s value. So, drivers with older cars might not find comprehensive or collision coverage useful outside of total loss or theft situations.

That said, collision and comprehensive insurance can be very financially helpful to a driver. Comparison shopping for excellent rates on these optional coverages might make acquiring both even more beneficial.

Other Coverage Options

If someone else hits a driver’s car, then the claim would normally go against the other driver’s insurance policy. Specifically, when someone else causes the damage, a claim against the at-fault party’s auto liability coverage would be appropriate.

If the other driver has no insurance, this creates a potential problem unless the injured party carries uninsured/underinsured driver coverage. In some states, this coverage is optional. Regardless, the coverage has value to drivers in all states since uninsured drivers pose risks in all localities.

Study the Insurance Market

Researching and comparing auto insurance policies entails more than just looking at the prices. Always look at what an insurance company covers, under what circumstances coverage exists, and what exclusions apply. Those not thrilled with a current policy or treatment from an insurance company can also consider making a change.

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