The look and appearance of your car can mean a lot to many people. To some, if the paint work is damaged, that can mean just as much as if something else was damaged. However, insurance companies do not always see this damage in the same light.
If your car’s paint was damaged, can you include that in an insurance claim, or are you out of luck?
We have asked attorney Alaina Sullivan about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
Appropriate Insurance Coverage
Whether you can file a claim for paint damage to your vehicle depends largely on what type of insurance coverage you currently have. The most basic insurance coverage, also known as liability insurance, will cover you if you cause damage to another individual’s car when you cause an accident.
Collision insurance coverage will take care of damages and repairs when you are in an accident. It is possible collision coverage will cover paint damage, but that is not always the case. If you were in a serious accident and a lot of your car’s exterior was damaged, paint would likely be lumped into this category of what is covered.
The best insurance coverage for covering paint replacement is comprehensive auto insurance. Comprehensive coverage normally takes care of any events that are not necessarily collisions or accidents. This type of insurance covers drivers when theft, fire damage or vandalism occurs to the car.
If your paint work was damaged due to vandalism, you may be covered through your comprehensive insurance coverage.
File a Police Report
How did the paint get damaged on the car? Was it from an act of vandalism? If any question exists as to how hit happens, and you want to ensure that your insurance company believes you when you say that it was from an act of vandalism so that your damages can be covered, you may need a police report as supporting evidence. If witnesses saw what happened, it is important that you get their information as well.
Get an Estimate
Before deciding what to do, it is important to get an estimate from qualified body shop as to how much it will cost to repair the damage. This step will help you decide whether you even want to file a claim for damages, if the damages are not significant enough to justify the claim.
If the estimate can include a proximate cause for what created the paint damage, that would further help your claim that the damages came from an act of vandalism. Any evidence that can go towards that will help the insurance process.
Remember the Deductible
One word is always in the back of everyone’s minds when it comes to filing an insurance claim, and that word is “deductible.” It is what you agreed to pay before your car insurance coverage kicks in. Deductibles normally range between $500 to $1,000, but it can vary, depending on your insurance contract.
If the damage is minor to your car, you may find yourself paying the deductible and only the deductible if the amount for damages is smaller than what your deductible is. However, paint damage, if it is extensive, can be pretty expensive, so you may be in in the clear when it comes to reaching your deductible.
Wear and Tear Not Included
However, paint damage that occurs from normal wear and tear is not included in terms of car insurance. Normal wear and tear is to be expected, no matter how inconvenient it may be. In fact, most policies specifically exclude wear and tear coverage.
Any damage that occurs to your car, including paint damage, needs to occur from a qualifying event, not normal wear and tear. This type of change occurs over time as the vehicle ages. If the paint has become damaged because it has been exposed to the elements, car insurance will not pay for a new paint job.
Contact an Attorney Today
If your car’s paint was damaged and are concerned about whether you have coverage for damages received, it is recommended you contact an attorney to ask any questions you may have.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company. To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.