Does car insurance pay for paint jobs?

Comprehensive car insurance covers paint jobs if your car is keyed or damaged by weather. Collision car insurance covers paint jobs if an accident warrants new paint.

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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 University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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: Jan 19, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A car insurance policy is an indemnity contract that’s designed to protect the vehicle owner against the financial damage that a sudden loss can cause
  • When you buy insurance, the policy specifically excludes coverage for wear and tear. Wear and tear is normal damage that occurs over time when the vehicle ages. If your paint is starting to chip or fade because of its exposure to the elements, your insurance won’t pay for a new paint job
  • You must carry the appropriate type of physical damage coverage for a paint job to be covered after your car is damaged. Sometimes paint jobs are covered under comprehensive and other times they are covered under collision
  • If your car is keyed, damaged in a hail storm, or a tree falls on it, you can file a claim for cosmetic repairs like bodywork and paint under your comprehensive coverage
  • If you get into an accident and you need a new paint job to restore your vehicle, the repair bills are paid under your collision. You may also be able to make a claim against the other party’s insurance if you’re not at fault

A vehicle’s cosmetic condition can say a lot about how you maintain it. If your paint job is dull and lackluster, the car isn’t going to catch the eye of your neighbors or your acquaintances.

It’s even worse if you have deep scrapes or large chipping areas that only get worse. Unfortunately, your auto insurance won’t always pay for a new paint job.

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Whether or not your insurance will cover the cost of a new paint job depends on that coverage options that you carry and how the paint got in the condition that it’s in. If time hasn’t been kind to your car’s appearance, there’s a good chance the repairs can’t be claimed.

If, however, the paint was damaged in a qualifying event, your insurer may be obligated to pay. Here’s a consumer guide to car insurance and paint jobs to help:

Auto Insurance Is Not Designed to Pay for Damage That Happens Over Time

There are things that auto insurance policies, even full coverage policies, don’t cover. Under the contract, one of the first exclusions is damage that’s caused by wear and tear.

The wear and tear exclusion states that normal damage that’s expected as a vehicle won’t be covered when making a claim.

If your paint is fading or peeling because your car is often exposed to the elements, don’t expect your insurer to come to the rescue. You need to be able to show that a sudden event caused the damage and that the chips aren’t due to age when you’re speaking with your claims adjuster.

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How long will your car’s paint job last?

A factory paint job should last forever. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are skimping on quality and using lower quality paints that can fade and peel. As your miles add up, you might start to notice some minor dings and scrapes. The more you clean your car, the less likely the paint is to fade.

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You might think that a new paint job can’t possibly cost that much money out of pocket. While it doesn’t take longer than a day to paint your car, the technology that’s used is expensive. This is why the cost for the average exterior paint job is $1,316.

If you don’t have more than a thousand dollars to make sure your car looks nice, you might be stuck watching the paint chip off.

Paint Damaged in an Accident

When your car collides with another vehicle, the chances that your paint will come out of the accident unharmed are slim.

If scratches, chips, or peeling starts because of the accident, the paint damage will be covered if you carry the right coverage. You may not even need physical damage coverage depending on fault allocation.

For damage sustained in at-fault accidents or accidents with an uninsured driver, you need to carry collision orUninsured Motorist Property Damage. You must pay a deductible when you file a collision claim.

If the damage is sustained in an accident where you’re deemed not at fault, the other party’s insurance company will pay for your repairs under their Physical Damage coverage.

Paint Damaged in a Non-Collision Disaster


Insurance is meant to protect you against more than just other drivers. Sometimes, you can suffer a loss when your vehicle is parked and you’re sleeping in your home. Life’s little disasters are often covered under comprehensive coverage, which is included under your policy if you have collision coverage.

Comprehensive coverage will pay for paint damage that’s caused by qualifying events. Some of the perils covered under comprehensive include fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects, missiles, explosion, flood, and contact with a live animal.

If any of these covered perils are to blame for your paint damage, you can file a claim and pay your deductible so that the rest of the repair costs are covered.

It’s important to price the cost of full coverage before you add it to your policy. Once you look up the value of the car and compare it to the cost, you can make a decision. By using an online rate quote tool, you can estimate full coverage premiums and decide.

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