Ding and Dent Insurance (What It Costs + Whether It’s Worth It)

Ding and dent insurance can cost between $300 and $500/year, and out of pocket repair expenses range from $50 and $500. Because ding and dent repair is expensive, ding and dent insurance may not be worth the cost.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State...

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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...

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UPDATED: Jun 17, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Door dents can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 to repair
  • If you’re not bothered by the sight of the damage to your car, then dent insurance isn’t worth your money
  • Park away from other cars, don’t block cars in, and open your own car door carefully to avoid dents

It’s an inevitable part of owning a car: you park, run your errand or go to lunch, come back, and there’s a fresh new dent on the side of your car. The money to repair this cosmetic damage will most likely come out of your pocket. Most door dings cost between $60 and $100 to repair, well below most car insurance deductibles.

Fortunately, there’s door ding insurance. For between $300 and $600 a year, you can get your dings and dents repaired and not worry about it. But is scratch and dent insurance worth it? First, you have to understand a few things about ding and dent insurance, and how you feel about your car. We’ll give you a complete scratch and dent insurance comparison of your options right here.

Before you continue reading and make a decision, enter your ZIP Code into our FREE tool above to find the best scratch and dent insurance for you and your car.

What To Do About Dings & Dents

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.

If it does bother you, the question you need to ask yourself is: How much money am I willing to spend? Because you’re going to need to spend some money; even if your repair is covered by your car insurance, you’ll have to pay anything up to the deductible and also take the chance that your premiums could go up in the future.

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Does car insurance cover scratches and dents?

With so many different kinds of car insurance, this can get a little confusing. Let’s start with taking a look at the different types of car insurance:

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
Car Insurance Coverage TypesCoverage DescriptionAverage Annual Rates
Underinsured/UninsuredInjuries caused by collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver$61.10
ComprehensiveTheft or damage to the insured's car not resulting from a collision$159.72
Property Damage LiabilityDamage caused to someone else's property$164.54
Personal Injury ProtectionTreatment of injuries to the insured driver and passengers$175.81
CollisionDamage to the insured's car caused by a collision$363.08
Bodily Injury LiabilityTreatment of injuries caused to others$611.12
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Your minimal requirements for car insurance coverage will depend on what state you live in. For example, if you live in California, you’re required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability, whereas in Illinois you need to have both of these plus uninsured/underinsured coverage. Of course, you may choose to carry more than your minimum requirements, depending on your situation or preferences.

At this point, you might be wondering: given the above, does comprehensive car insurance cover dents and scratches?

Technically, yes. Most comprehensive policies will cover damage resulting from events like vandalism, falling objects such as trees or hail, or animal attacks.

Watch this short video for some more information about comprehensive car insurance:

However, there’s no standard for what’s covered in a comprehensive policy, so make sure that you know what specific events your insurance company will cover when you’re buying comprehensive insurance. You want to know this before something happens, not after.

Do I just need comprehensive insurance for these dents?

Depending on what deductible level you chose for your comprehensive policy, filing a claim for a scratch on car insurance might not be worth it. Let’s look at a few scenarios to see why:

Filing a Car Insurance Claim – Deductible vs Repair Cost
Car Insurance DeductibleRepair CostShould I File a Claim?Explanation
$500$1,500ProbablyRepair cost is greater than deductible; your policy will cover $1,000, but you'll still have to pay the $500 deductible
$500$800ProbablyRepair cost is greater than deductible; your policy will cover $300, but you'll still have to pay the $500 deductible
$1,000$800NoRepair cost is less than deductible; you'll have to pay the full $800
$1,000$2,500ProbablyRepair cost is greater than deductible; your policy will cover $1,500, but you'll still have to pay $1,000
$3,000$2,500NoRepair cost is less than deductible; you'll have to pay the $2,500
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What do we mean by “probably?” Only this: filing a car insurance claim with your insurance company could result in increased premiums for you. If you have a lower deductible, you only have to pay a relatively small amount for the repair above the deductible, and if you can afford it, you might just want to pay for the whole repair yourself.

Why not get a really low deductible and not have to pay so much for these repairs? Lower deductibles will mean higher premiums, so you could end up paying more for your premiums than you would on any dent repairs.

Dent Inspection For Used Cars

If you’ve bought a used car and want to get it insured, you should 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 a car insurance claim 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.

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But how common are dings and dents?

It’s difficult to get statistics on door dings because people rarely 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, such as keeping a distance from other cars in a parking lot or parking garage.

Ding & Dent Repairs

You’ve decided to go ahead and repair your car. Different techniques have different costs and different levels of effectiveness.

Do-It-Yourself Dent Repait

You don’t even need to go to the body shop for small dings. 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.

For larger dents, you might be tempted to purchase the tools needed for something like Paintless Dent Repair, borrow your friend’s tools, or even have your friend give the repair a try. Be careful with this approach; however, you could end up causing even more damage or voiding your car’s warranty.

Go Directly to an Auto Body Shop for Dent Repair

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?

Auto body shop costs will run between $60 and $110 for a one-inch dent, with $25 to $50 added for every half inch. In other words:

Car Repair Costs by Size of Dent
Size of Dent (inches)Lower Cost EstimateHigher Cost Estimate
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Before you ask, yes, it pays to shop around on this; there are dozens of dent repair shops. Repair shops will cost you more, but the experienced ones will also make the lasting repairs you want.

Get Door Ding Insurance

Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) 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. Watch this video to see the skill involved with this technique:

Contact your car insurance company and see what types of coverage will cover common dings and dents. They might even have a relationship with a PDR service provider where you could go to get these small repairs made.

What should I do if someone scratched my car?

This is a bit more serious than a small dent or ding. If the paint on your car is scratched, you should probably consider having the paint repaired. How much does it cost to fix a dent and scratch on a car? About $630 for a scratch, according to the experts. 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.

Whether or not car insurance pays for a paint job depends on the type of car insurance you have and the event that caused the scratch:

  • If your car gets vandalized, keyed, or is otherwise scratched while not moving, and you have comprehensive car insurance, you will likely want to file a claim with your car insurance company so you can get the repair done right. A good body shop will match the paint on your vehicle and do a thorough job of helping the damaged area look as good as new.
  • If your car is scratched during the course of an accident with another car, and you have collision insurance, you’ll likely want to file a claim with your car insurance company.

For some more information about collision insurance, watch this short video:

It can be difficult to know what the right answer is, but you’re not alone in this. At the time you purchase your insurance policy, you should talk with your insurance company about the types of coverages you have, clarifying your deductible for each of them, and specifying what events are covered by them.

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The Best Cure Is Prevention (Avoid Dents on Your Car)

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 or parking lot.
  • 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 as well.
  • Keep an eye on weather reports – Get your car under cover, especially if hail might be in the forecast.

so is ding and dent protection worth it? 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 car insurance, just enter your ZIP Code into our FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates from top companies in your area!

Frequently Asked Questions: Do I need dent insurance?

#1 – Are dents covered in car insurance?

If you have comprehensive coverage, more than likely the answer to the question, Does car insurance cover dents? is yes. But be sure that you understand the terms of your policy with regard to dent repairs before you get any work done.

#2 – Will insurance cover door dings?

Again, if you have comprehensive coverage, more than likely the answer is yes, but double-check with your policy and company to be sure you understand what’s covered as well as what deductibles are in place.

#3 – Is it better to pay out of pocket or use insurance?

Generally, the rule of thumb is that if it’s cosmetic, let it go, but if the paint is scratched and you risk additional damage due to rust or corrosion, then get it fixed. Then you’ll want to weigh your estimated repair costs against your deductible and any possibility of your premiums increasing due to filing a claim, and make your decision from there.

#4 – What if I’m leasing my car?

Your car dealership will likely require that you carry specific car insurance that will cover the costs of repairs to larger dents or scratches. Depending on your lease agreement, you may need to get these repairs completed prior to returning the car or pay a damage penalty to the dealership.

#5 – What is dent protection?

There are some companies that provide a set of services to repair car dents. These services are not insurance, but rather are a package of dent repairs where you can get a certain quantity of dent repairs done within a certain time period for the price of the service. Depending on the company and the package they offer, and your likelihood of sustaining damage to your car on a regular basis, you may decide to purchase these services rather than file claims through your insurance company.

Some companies offer small repair service packages for specific types of cars; for example:

  • Volkswagen offers VW scratch and dent insurance in conjunction with other services such as windshield chip repair and certain interior fabric damage.
  • Toyota scratch and dent protection, more formally known as Toyota Dent and Ding Protection, is a similar service.
  • Although not a specific service, Hyundai dent and ding protection falls under their Excess Wear & Tear program, an option for customers with leased vehicles.

While technically not insurance, these service packages are available for a set price and often for a specific period of time.

#6 – How much does it cost to repaint a car?

Repainting a car can cost as low as a few hundred dollars or as much as you want to spend. Some factors that will impact your cost include the quality of the paint job you’d like, how much prep work is involved, how closely you want the paint to match, and whether you include any high-end options such as airbrushing.

#7 – What happens if I hit a parked car?

Once again, this will depend on the laws in your state. Each state may differ in what they require for adequate notification of the other vehicle’s owner, who is responsible for paying for the repairs, whether the police need to be called to the scene, and how long the owner of the other car has to file a claim. Knowing what the laws are in your state can help with determining what actions you need to take, and when.

#8 – What do I do if I have an accident in a parking lot?

Experts advise that it’s best to treat any parking lot incident involving your car just like any other accident. Remain calm, exchange information with the other driver, call the police, take photos, and contact your insurance company. Worst case, there isn’t much damage, and you’ve protected yourself against any further action.

#9 – How much will my insurance go up if I scratch someone else’s car?

Just as if your car gets scratched, it might be worth paying for the repair directly rather than filing an insurance claim. If it’s a very large scratch, you will want to treat the incident like any other car accident — remain calm, exchange information with the other driver, call the police, take photos, and contact your insurance company.

Depending on your driving history, your policy, and the severity of the repair, it’s possible you won’t see any premium increase at all.

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