Can I claim car dents on my insurance?

Car dent insurance claims can be made under car dent insurance coverage, also known as physical damage coverage, which is an additional coverage option. However, filing car dent insurance repair claims may increase your insurance rates down the road.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Depending on the type of coverage you have, you may be able to claim a car dent on your insurance
  • If the dent was something you caused, you’ll need to be sure the cost of a potential rate increase is worth your insurance company paying for the damage to be resolved
  • A comprehensive claim is not considered chargeable, so you can file that claim without worrying about a rate increase

To place a claim or not to place a claim, that is the question.

If you have recently discovered that your vehicle has a major dent or a pattern of moderate dents, it is only natural to be upset. Once you calm yourself and realize that the damage cannot be undone, you must focus on resolution.

You can either handle the repairs on your own or you can file a claim and pay just a small portion of invoice for the dent repair.

If you carry the right type of coverage, you do have the right to file a claim for damage to your car when it is dented.

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How does physical damage insurance work?

The state only mandates that you must purchase liability coverage and does not dictate whether a driver protects their car from damage.

While physical damage coverage is not a state requirement, it is a contractual requirement when you are financing or leasing the vehicle.

If you hold the title to the vehicle, you can decide if you want to pay premiums for physical damage protection.

Liability insurance only pays to repair vehicles that you do not own when you are negligent for the damage. In order for your insurer to pay any type of dent claim on your vehicle, you must carry physical damage coverage.

It consists of both comprehensive and collision, but some policies may only carry comprehensive for non-moving claims.

To truly comprehend how your insurer will help you with repairs, you first need to know how each coverage works individually.

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Understanding Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage provides you with protection if your vehicle is stolen or damaged in a number of different ways.

It is often called “Other Than Collision” (OTC) coverage because coverage kicks in situations where a collision has not occurred.

Some of the perils that would be classified as a comprehensive loss include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Hail
  • Wind
  • Falling Objects
  • Civil Riot
  • Explosion
  • Glass breakage
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Encounters with live wildlife

Before your comprehensive coverage will pay, you need to pay your deductible.

The costs to repair the dents in the body of your car need to exceed the deductible that you have selected on the car.

There is no purpose to filing a comprehensive claim when the repairs are minor and you have a high deductible.

Understanding Collision Coverage

When you carry collision coverage, you are covered when your vehicle is damaged because it collided with another vehicle or object.

Collision coverage is much more expensive to purchase than comprehensive, which is why many people select high deductibles to keep the cost down.

You should have the cost of your damage estimated before you call and file your claim.

If you do not believe that the damage is going to exceed the amount you are obligated to pay, you need to be prepared.

What type of claim will you file?

Knowing how your claim for repairs will be classified is extremely important when you are trying to keep your premiums down.

If you file a claim without doing your homework, a small $100 claim payout might lead to a large rate hike at your next renewal.

You need to be prepared and learn about all of the scenarios and how the insurer views these cases.

While every insurer has their own investigation procedures, here is basic information on how some of the common claims for dents are handled:

Your Car is Dented While Parked

If your vehicle was parked and you witnessed someone back into it, you can file a claim for the damage as part of your comprehensive coverage.

Damage because of a shopping cart, a car door, or even a ball should be covered.

It can be helpful to identify the other driver so that your insurer can settle the claim with his provider, but if it is not possible, the claim is often settled.

Some companies may consider hit and run claims for dents as collision claims when there is no evidence.

A Tree Branch Falls On Your Car

Falling objects can be classified as comprehensive claims unless the object hits the ground and then you run it over.

Fruit falling from a tree, items falling off of another vehicle, and wind blowing a heavy object into your car are all examples of comprehensive coverage as well.

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When will your rates go up?

If you have a comprehensive loss and you file a claim, you do not have to worry about your rates going up when your next term starts.

Comprehensive claims are not considered chargeable in any scenario, so do not hold back from filing.

If there are two parties, your rates can go up if you are more than 50 percent at fault for the damage.

Be sure that you know what to expect when you are filing a claim.

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