Do I need dent insurance?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Door dents can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 to repair
  • If you are not bothered by the sight of the damage to your automobile, then dent insurance is not worth your money
  • Parking away from other cars, not hemming cars in, and opening your own car door carefully can help you avoid dents

It’s an inevitable part of owning a car: you park, run your errand or have your lunch, come back, and there’s a fresh new dent on the side of your car.

The funds for the repair will most likely come out of pocket, since most door dings cost between $60 and $100 to repair, well below most automotive insurance deductibles.

Fortunately, there’s door ding insurance. For between $300 and $600 a year, you can get the ding repaired and not worry about it. But is it worth it? First, you have to understand a few things about dings and dents, and how you feel about your car.

Before you continue reading and formulating a decision on your car, enter your zip code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool above!

Those Dang Dings


Yes, dings and dents are unsightly and can be annoying. But in most cases, they’re not a serious repair problem.

Your car will work just fine; it just won’t be quite as pretty as it was. If it doesn’t bother you, it might not be worth the money.

That said, if the paint is scratched, you should probably consider having the paint repaired because paint resists rust and other problems that can wreck your car. And, of course, if you want to sell the car, you’ll probably want to make it as attractive as possible.

For small dings, though, you don’t even need to go to the body shop.

All you need to do is apply something very cold to the dent, and the metal will contract, popping it right out. You can do this with dry ice; a computer air duster held upside down, or anything else extremely cold.

If you decide not to do it yourself and want to take it to the body shop, how much is it going to cost you?

Between $60 and $110 for a one-inch dent, with $25 to $50 added for every half inch. In other words, for a three-inch dent, $260 if you’re lucky, and $510 if you’re not.

Before you ask, yes, it pays to shop around on this; there are dozens of dent repair shops.

But different techniques have different costs and different levels of effectiveness.

For example, Paintless Dent Repair is currently the most common dent technique because it’s both much cheaper and simpler than other bodywork techniques, like filling the dent with Bondo, sanding and painting, or taking off the door panel and literally hammering the dent out.

With Paintless Dent Repair, you use a specialized set of tools to essentially pop the dent out from the inside, which also has the advantage of allowing you to fix creases in the metal.

Although you can buy these tools online for less than the cost of a professional doing it, you can also easily mess it up; one slip and you can break the paint.

Contact your car insurance company and see what types of coverage will cover common dings and dents.

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But how common are dings and dents?

It’s difficult to get statistics on door dings, because people rarely report want to report a claim to their insurance companies, especially if their deductible is higher than the cost of repairing the ding.

What we do know is that like it or not, car dents are pretty common; even the most careful and respectful driver can get one at, say, the mall if they park next to the wrong car at the wrong time.

So basically, getting a ding is inevitable, although there are things you can do to lower your chances.

Spot Inspection, Literally

Insurance expert examining car damage.

Essentially, get your car inspected by the insurance company’s professional.

Before you do this, though, you’ll probably want to get your car professionally cleaned, as dirt can be mistaken for a scratch, and repainted, to reduce the number of scratches.

This will help with low car insurance and make filing claims easier.

Then you’ll need to follow the inspector and take photographs of every possible flaw on the body: they’re only going to pay out for damage that occurs after you have the policy.

After you sign off on the inspection, you have a policy and don’t have to worry.

The Best Cure Is Prevention


That said, even if you don’t care about dings, you can still keep them limited by doing the following:

  • Park politely – Don’t hem in the cars on either side of you if at all possible. Many door dings are caused by people trying to squeeze into their cars after somebody parks too close to them in a garage.
  • Avoid parking next to people – It’s worth trying to limit the possibility of getting tagged by someone else’s door.
  • Don’t inflict dings yourself – Open your door carefully and respect the other drivers around you; we have no statistics on how many dings are inflicted out of vengeance, but consider how furious people get about, well, anything.

Try to avoid gravel and roads covered in rocks; they can ding the heck out of your car, and are likely to scratch the paint.

Keep an eye on weather reports and get your car under cover, especially if hail might be in the offing.

In short, ding and dent car insurance is worth it if you get a lot of dings, really hate dings, or are excessively protective of your car. Just remember that courtesy will get you just as far as a good policy.

If you’re interested in going beyond ding and dent to get a comprehensive quote on auto insurance, just enter your zip code into our FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates from top companies in your area!

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