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 can be incredibly frustrating.

Fixing the damage to your car can also be expensive, 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
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could 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. Also, get up to $200 for damaged or stolen groceries. Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you. Get $75 online discount + $100 gift card when you purchase by 11 July 2021. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
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. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
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 plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. 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 comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus you can also earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
PD Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed
Finder's summary: PD comprehensive car insurance policy lets you buy, manage, and start your claims process online. It includes cover for emergency repairs up to $500 and free windscreen chip repair. Ability to customise your extras cover. New policyholders can enjoy 15% off on their first year's premium. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those with low claims history and the only driver.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. 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.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums plus you can get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply. Additionally, their Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to their standard comprehensive cover.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its 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
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.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catches our eye due to some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee, where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
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