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Vehicle Paint Damage

Insurance Claims for Paint Damage

One of the first things people notice about your vehicle is the paint job. Generally speaking, car paint is a durable part of your vehicle, but sometimes things happen. Worse still, damage to your vehicle’s paint and/or finish can be an eyesore.

It is often not cheap to have your car repainted. The average mid-quality paint job runs around $1,000-$1,500. A high-quality paint job generally costs well over $2,000. That’s why most vehicles’ paint jobs last for the lifetime of the car.

So, let’s say that there is an incident that causes your car to need new paint. You might be looking at a very high repair bill to get the car repainted. You should naturally turn to your car insurance to see how it covers paint replacement.

When Does Car Insurance Cover Paint?

Most car insurance policies cover paint replacement in their comprehensive auto coverage. But you should remember that comprehensive coverage does not cover every type of incident. In other words, you should not count on your insurance always covering paint replacement.

Comprehensive coverage usually covers events that are not related to accidents or collisions. The insurance should cover the repairs that the comprehensive coverage names and comprehensive coverage will work when an incident like theft or fire damages your car.

Collisions and accidents, on the other hand, are likely part of your car’s collision coverage, not comprehensive coverage.  Your collision coverage will also likely cover severe accidents that require extensive paint work.

When Car Insurance May Not Cover Paint

If you are in an accident, your collision coverage will likely cover repairs. So in theory, collision coverage will cover your paint job. But as we mentioned before, don’t count on your insurance to always cover paint replacement.

Remember your deductible. You must pay a certain amount of your deductible before your car insurance kicks in. If your accident is very minor, and the cost of the needed repairs are under your deductible, then your car insurance may not pay anything out towards the repairs. This means minor paint damages may not qualify for payouts under your collision insurance.

While you might be able to make a comprehensive claim if your paint was damaged in a single event or weather-related incident, in most cases car insurance won’t cover damage caused by deterioration, wear and tear or weathering. You typically won’t be able to claim paint damage when it’s the result of ongoing exposure to rain, sand, sun, salt, water or similar. That’s why it’s important to take care of the finish on your vehicle after exposure to elements such as sand and saltwater.

Car insurance specifically won’t cover damage from wear and tear or deterioration, but some deterioration of paint is inevitable in older cars. In some cases, the cost of new paint will actually be deducted from a car insurance claim, or you might have to pay for the cost of a new paint job on top of a claim.

For example, if your claim involves brand new panels to replace old and weathered ones, an insurer might ask you to pay the difference in value between brand new vs old and weathered. Your insurer wants to avoid inadvertently paying for a new paint job when it’s not covered.

The bottom line is, check out your car insurance and see what it covers as far as paint damage, and then make sure to get into a regular routine of washing, waxing, and polishing your vehicle.