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What happens if someone keys my car?

A malicious key scratch can set you back a fair amount.

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As far as petty acts of vandalism go, a jagged line in your vehicle's paint job seems relatively minor. Unfortunately, fixing the cosmetic damage to your car could potentially cost you hundreds. However, depending on how much the damage costs, it might not always be worth claiming on your car insurance.

What to do when someone keys your car

As with any act of malicious damage or other vandalism, you should start by taking a picture of what's occurred. Next, find out whether there were any witnesses to the incident, be they human or security camera, to assist you in identifying the perpetrator. Since vandalism is a crime, you should also call the police and report the date, time and location of the incident, making a note of the incident number. Tracking down the culprit could save you a lot of money.

It's also important that you immediately call up your insurer to start a claims process, whether or not you decide to actually go through with it. As always, the sooner the better! Have a licensed repairer provide an estimate for the damage caused so you can get a good handle on the costs involved.

Finally, after considering the issues outlined below, decide whether to go ahead with the repairs (and potentially the claim).

Does insurance cover someone keying your car?

Generally, most if not all comprehensive car insurance policies will cover this kind of vandalism as a malicious act of damage to your vehicle, barring any stipulated exclusions that might apply. You will likely be able to claim the damage from the keying on your policy if you want to.

If you don't have comprehensive cover or your excess is more than the cost of repairs, you'll be left to foot the bill yourself.

How to make a claim for someone keying your car

To make a claim for this sort of incident, you should follow the standard procedure laid out by your insurer. Get as many details as possible, find witnesses and let your insurer know as soon as you can after discovering the damage. While a police report may not be required by your insurer, it's in your best interests to call it in because finding the culprit could recoup you the cost of repairs without needing to go through with the claim.

Does getting your car keyed raise your insurance?

Sadly, the answer is probably yes. Most insurance companies will count any claim against you and raise your premiums depending on what you're claiming for. While the price increase from an incident like this would be far less than an accident where you're to blame, it will still drive your premiums up. The effect could be far worse if you've made another claim within the past year or two, since consecutive claims have a greater impact.

Should you claim on your insurance?

The answer to this question largely depends on the extent of the damage. If the scratch is short and relatively shallow, it may require a simple touch-up: a job you could potentially do yourself or have it done for a couple of hundred dollars. If it's extremely mild or hard to notice, you may even choose not to worry about it at all. If, on the other hand, the scratch is severe, for example going all the way down through the layers of paint to the metal of the car, a professional repair job may cost you up to $1,000 or more.

In many cases, the excess on your car insurance will be greater than the cost of repairs, making a claim pointless. But even if your insurance will get you some money back, consider the long-term cost of making a claim. The small payout you get now may be outweighed by the accompanying premium rise in the future. In all but the worst cases, making a claim on your insurance for a key scratch may not be the most cost-efficient course of action.

Protect your ride from damages with comprehensive car insurance

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently come up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. They only cover the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps their premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low cost option that covers them for the basics.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. You'll get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service. Plus, get a $100 e-Gift card when you purchase a new policy by 30 November 2020 (T&Cs apply).

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer, and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription - you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at anytime. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month-to-month.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Real Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. They'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. They offer higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. You get a free Bauer magazine subscription when you sign up and a portion of your premiums go to supporting female-led businesses.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (they'll cover men too!).
Kogan Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include but you'll also be entitled to some benefits on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.
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