Will car insurance cover paint damage?

Paint on the car looking a little shabby? Discover if your car insurance policy will cover you for paint damage.

In some situations you might be able to claim paint damage under car insurance, in others you won’t be covered at all, and sometimes you might even have to pay more or less for paint fixes following a claim. If you've got comprehensive cover, you'll probably be covered for paint damage. But before you pop that claim in, make sure it makes sense financially, especially if you'll have to pay an excess.

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When will I be covered for paint damage?

Car insurance will only pay for damage that results from an insured event. In the case of paint damage, you’ll generally only be able to claim it with comprehensive car insurance, except in some very specific situations (such as paint damage caused by theft).

Claiming it under comprehensive car insurance will still be subject to your policy exclusions.

  • When will comprehensive car insurance cover a paint job? This cover type might pay for new paint following any insurable event that damaged the paintwork. This might be an accident, a storm, hail or others. However, it’s subject to the policy exclusions and special conditions.

What exclusions should I be aware of?

Car insurance generally won’t cover damage caused by deterioration, wear and tear or weathering.

As such, 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.

However, you might still be able to claim it if it was a single event, such as a sandstorm or hurricane.

Special conditions

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 new paintwork 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” and “old and weathered” so as not to end up inadvertently paying for a new paint job when it’s not covered.

How much does a car paint job cost?

The cost of repainting a car can vary widely depending on how good a job it is, whether you’re getting any additional protecting coatings, what kind of paint it is and what kind of car you’re driving.

Generally, you might expect several thousand for a job well done, or up to $1,000 for a basic touch up.

  • A basic touch up: Mostly cosmetic. The “invisible” parts of the car, like under the hood, generally won’t be done and you’re looking at basic synthetic enamel paint. It’s mostly focused on matching the colour as close as possible, and isn’t expected to be a long term fix.
  • A proper paint job: This usually involves sanding the body, removing rust and repainting it for a consistent and clear finish.

What kind of paint job will car insurance cover?

It depends on the type of claim and the cause of damage. If the insurable event caused damage that necessitates a proper paint job, then that’s the kind of quality you can expect. If it’s just covering up a scratch, then it might be a more basic touch up.

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