How can I fix a scratch on my car? If you have a cosmetic issue with your vehicle like a car scratch, you are probably going to want to get it fixed. Maybe you drove too close to the bushes that outline your driveway, maybe you scratched your door while trying to insert a key, or someone intentionally “keyed” your car. No matter how it occurred, car scratches are unattractive. Depending on the severity, you may consider fixing the scratch by yourself, but if it is not easily fixable, you may resort to your auto insurance policy to help you pay for the repair and get your vehicle looking good again.
Want to fix it yourself and avoid having to file a claim to your insurance company? If the scratch is small and not very deep, there are ways to do this at little-to-no cost. You will first want to wash your vehicle with soapy water and dry it thoroughly. After the vehicle is dry, you will want to use fine sand paper and gently sand down the area immediately surrounding the scratch. This can be a difficult process, as you will want to be very careful to only skim off the paint. You do not want to sand all of the paint away or reach the primer layer.
Now you will need a rubbing compound, which you will apply to the sanded area. Using a soft cloth, you will buff out the compound and smooth the surface of the vehicle. Then you will apply a car wax to protect the vehicle from further scratches.
Ok, this method is all well and good for a simple inch-long scratch that is not very noticeable, but if you have a much deeper and longer scratch on your vehicle, then it is probably not a good idea to try and repair it yourself. It may be more costly and it may require more work than a simple soaping and waxing. Comprehensive and collision coverage becomes very useful in the case of a car scratch.
Scratches are common types of damage with comprehensive claims. If a car backs into your vehicle in a parking lot, a ball scratches it at an athletic field, or you back up along a sharp branch or bush, the scratch can be repaired with comprehensive protection with your auto insurance policy.
Check with an independent auto insurance agent to see if you have the coverage to repair the scratch. If you do, make sure you understand the cost of your deductible compared to the cost to repair the scratch. A deductible is the amount that you pay out of pocket to your insurance agency to help cover the cost of the repairs. It is particularly helpful if you are in a major fender bender, but scratches are different. If your deductible is $500 and the scratch will only cost $250 to fix, then you should pay for the entire repair out of pocket. It simply does not make sense to pay double for the same repair by going through your insurance policy. Even if the scratch will cost $600 to fix, you need to consider other factors before submitting a claim.
While it is completely untrue that filing a claim with your insurance company automatically increases your premium rates, it is still a possibility. Your insurance company considers a variety of factors when determining your premium, including whether you were at-fault, your history of accidents, accident severity, and the requirements of your policy. Make sure to speak with your insurance agent to understand if filing the claim for a smaller repair is worth your effort. You don’t want a small scratch to mean an increase in your annual premium.
If you know that the scratch is costly enough to warrant an insurance claim, then you need to follow several steps. Preparing a claim is easy. If the incident involved another party, then you will need to exchange insurance information. No matter how the accident occurred, make sure to take pictures of the damaged area and the accident scene. Make a note in your phone or on paper as to when and how the scratch occurred. Sometimes in these situations, you can be flustered and might not remember everything correctly later on. Once you contact your insurance agent, they will likely have your retell the circumstances surrounding the accident, so recording the information quickly is important. Be honest with the details you give the agent. You do not want to be dropped from your policy if you are caught in a lie.
Keeping track of your phone calls, emails, and letters is important. Make a note of every conversation with your agent, the repair shop, and the other driver (if there was one). Find out your claim number so you have that for your records too.
The insurance company may want to send an insurance adjuster to your house to assess the car damage. They will verify the severity of the scratch and possibly recommend auto body shops. The next step is to take your car in for repairs. Your agent may require you to get an estimate from several different shops prior to fixing the car. Once the scratch has been fixed, send a copy of your bill to your agent for their records. The insurance company will then submit a payment for the repair, minus your deductible, which you will then pay.
If your car is scratched, it is important to understand the severity of the scratch and what your auto insurance policy covers. You can contact your independent auto insurance agent to see what kind of coverage you have.
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