Does car insurance cover you when your car is keyed?

Comprehensive coverage pays for keyed car damage. On average, comprehensive insurance costs $13 per month. But some states have a comprehensive coverage rate as low as $8 a month. Filing a comprehensive claim for a keyed car could increase your insurance rates. In addition to an insurance claim, make a police report by contacting the non-emergency number.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Mar 23, 2022

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Things to Know

  • Comprehensive coverage compensates keyed car damage
  • You’ll need to pay a deductible before comprehensive insurance provides a claim check
  • File a police report if your vehicle is keyed

Keying a car is an act of vandalism that could lead to fines or even jail time. But what can you do about the damage when your car is keyed?

Don’t worry — we’ll explain everything you need to know. Read this article to learn what to do if someone keys your car and which insurance coverage pays for this kind of damage.

If you want to know more about how insurance works, check out our frequently asked car insurance questions for additional information. But continue reading to learn how insurance covers a keyed car.

Does car insurance cover you when your car is keyed?

Yes, it does. But you’ll need comprehensive insurance attached to your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage compensates damage from unforeseen incidents like a keyed car.

Comprehensive auto insurance also covers damage from storms, fires, floods, animals, falling objects, and even vehicle theft.

Will a comprehensive coverage claim raise my car insurance rates?

Sometimes. Filing a comprehensive claim can increase your insurance rates, but it depends on the company and your claims history.

What does it mean to key a car?

Keying a car indicates that a person intentionally or unintentionally scrapes their key(s) across the surface of your motor vehicle.

What should I do if someone keyed my car and ran away?

Don’t pursue vandals, even if you have the means to stop them. Instead, call 911 and inform them that your car was keyed.

File a police report and then call your insurance company to inform them that you want to file a comprehensive insurance claim.

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What should you do if someone accidentally keys your car?

If a car is keyed unintentionally, you don’t need to contact the police. However, you should obtain the person’s information so they can pay for the damages.

Call your insurance company and file a comprehensive coverage claim when you can’t determine who keyed your vehicle.

When a car is keyed at a business (such as a car wash or an auto repair shop), their commercial liability insurance policy usually covers a keyed car incident. You won’t have a deductible, but you’ll need to present the business with repair estimates.

How do you fix a keyed car?

If you need to know how to fix a keyed car, you have a few options. Here is a list of methods that you can use to repair keyed car damages:

  • Do-It-Yourself (DIY). Auto part stores have scratch repair kits that you can use, but they’re only designed for fixing minor key damage
  • Visit a car wash. Some scratches are smudges that you can either wash off or buff out
  • Travel to a paint shop. Vehicle paint shops can repair significant scratches that have damaged the clear coat (outermost layer), the base coat (between the clear coat and primer), and the primer

The DIY methods repair minor scratches. Intentionally keyed cars usually have deeper scratch marks, so you may need a professional to buff out the damage or to paint over the key damage.

Don’t attempt to repair significant key damage yourself. Contact your insurance company, file a claim, pay your deductible, and return your car to its normal cosmetics.

How much does it cost to repair a keyed car?

You can buff out a clear coat scratch for approximately $150, but some shops charge up to $300. Meanwhile, scratches that penetrate the clear coat involve repair costs between $400 and $1,000.

What are six ways that I can prevent my car from being keyed?

Accidents are unpredictable, but we discovered multiple ways that you can reduce your car from being keyed. Examine the table below to view six tips that can lower your chances of key damage.

Tips on How to Prevent Your Car from Being Keyed on Accident
Parking TipsInterior Car Tips
Park in the center of parking linesInstall a dash cam
Park in areas that has security camerasInstall an interior car camera
Park in places where your car is easily visibleActivate your alarm
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These preventative measures are effective, but they may not work with individuals who intentionally target your property. Try parking your car in a more secure area, such as a garage, to prevent vandals from damaging your vehicle.

How much is comprehensive car insurance?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), comprehensive coverage is approximately $13 a month, which is about 86.1% cheaper than full coverage.

However, comprehensive insurance costs vary for each state. Let’s determine how much you could pay for comprehensive coverage across the nation.

Average Monthly Comprehensive Car Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Monthly Comprehensive Rates
District of Columbia$19
New Hampshire$10
New Jersey$11
New Mexico$16
New York$15
North Carolina$11
North Dakota$21
Rhode Island$11
South Carolina$16
South Dakota$25
West Virginia$18
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California, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine, and Washington have the most affordable comprehensive insurance rates. However, South Dakota and Wyoming have the highest rates for comprehensive coverage.

Compared to full coverage, comprehensive auto insurance is less expensive. And the cost is lower than average in 22 states in America. However, your rates could change at various car insurance companies.

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Your Keyed Car: The Bottom Line

Accidental damage from keys isn’t relative to significant damage. When someone intentionally keys your car, the damage to your vehicle is more extensive and may require assistance from your insurance company.

If you know who keyed your car, call the police department in your local area but contact the non-emergency number to file your report. Don’t wait for law enforcement to provide you updates — call your insurance company and procure coverage for your keyed car.

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