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Will car insurance pay for a paint job?

Things to Remember...

  • Car insurance doesn’t cover rust, peeling or wear and tear
  • If you’re in a non-fault accident, the third-party carrier will pay for repair bills
  • If you’re involved in an at-fault accident, collision will pay for body damage repair and exterior paint if the total is less than the car’s fair market value
  • If your vehicle is vandalized and your paint is ruined, a paint job may be covered if you carry comprehensive coverage under your policy
  • When filing a comprehensive of collision claim for exterior paint, be sure to check your deductible as physical damage claims are subject to a deductible

Your nice and shiny exterior paint is what keeps your car looking new. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for a paint job to survive an accident unscathed no matter what type of top coat is used.

Luckily, when you carry insurance you don’t necessarily have to fork out a large sum of money on a paint job after all of the body work has been done.

In many scenarios and with the right coverage, it’s possible that your personal insurance policy will cover exterior painting services.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE quote tool below! While paint isn’t automatically excluded, it’s also not automatically covered in all cases. Read on, and find out when your insurer will pay for paint and when they won’t.

Table of Contents

Insurance Companies Don’t Pay for Wear and Tear

One of the first and most important exclusions that are written into a car insurance contract is for wear and tear. Car insurance is specifically designed to pay for sudden and unexpected losses and not gradual deterioration.

Since wear and tear are defined as gradual damage that is both expected and inevitable, it has it’s very own exclusion within the car insurance policy contract.

Many different components of a car will deteriorate with time and use. Brake pads, belts, pumps, and tires are all auto parts that regularly need replacing and that are excluded from that replacement when they’re worn.

Exterior paint is also something that suffers damage over time and fades. Unfortunately, if your paint is losing its shine because its exposed to the elements and your car is aging, a claim for a new paint job wouldn’t be covered because of the auto insurance wear and tear exclusion.

Coverage for Repairs After a Not-at-fault Accident

When there’s a sudden and unforeseen loss, the story is very different. It’s very difficult to make it out of a collision without some type of paint damage.

If you’ve been hit by another driver and the other party has taken responsibility for the loss, repairs are covered under the liable party’s Property Damage Liability (PD) coverage.

Since PD specifically pays for third-party repairs to help the injured party restore their property, structural damage, mechanical damage, and exterior paint is all covered.

In some cases, when it’s a single body part, it might be possible to get away with paying for painting a single part rather than the whole car.

Either way, as long as you’re found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the loss, the other party’s insurer will be responsible for paying for repair bills and paint jobs.

If the cost of all of the damage exceeds the fair market value of your car, it’s possible the third-party carrier will attempt to total the car out instead of having it repaired.

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Coverage for Repairs Following an At-fault Collision

If you’re at least 51 percent at fault for a crash, you can’t rely on the other party’s insurer to take responsibility to pay for damages. In this scenario, negligence can cost you rate hikes and even the cost of a paint job.

This is because you’ll need to have the appropriate optional coverage types before your insurer will accept and pay out a claim for paint damage after an at-fault collision.

In order for your policy to pay, you must carry collision coverage. If you have a basic insurance policy without physical damage or you’ve elected to carry only comprehensive to keep premiums low, you’ll be left footing the bill on your own.

What happens if an uninsured motorist hits my car?

If you were to suffer a loss with an uninsured driver, things get a bit more complicated. There are two ways you could go about collecting for a new paint job under your policy. You can either file an Uninsured Motorist Property Damage claim or a collision claim.

Which route you go depends upon the coverage you carry and which will cost you less out of pocket in the end.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) is separate from Uninsured Motorist coverage. This coverage specifically pays for damages to your auto when someone hits the car and doesn’t have their own Property Damage Liability coverage.

If you don’t have full coverage, it’ll pay you up to $3500 for car repairs.

If you have a collision, UMPD waives your deductible. If you don’t have UMPD don’t fret. You can file a claim for paint damages after the loss under your collision coverage even if you don’t have UMPD but will be required to pay the deductible.

Coverage for Repairs After a Vandalism

Exterior paint is easy to target and this is why paint job claims are the most common after a vandalism.

If you’ve discovered that someone has keyed your car or spray painted a terrible word across your hood, you’ll need to file a claim for your comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage specifically pays for claims for fire, theft, vandalism, flood, falling objects, and even explosion.

Be Sure to Review Your Deductibles

If you have a comprehensive or a collision claim to file under your policy, make sure that you know what your deductibles are. Each coverage has its own deductible and that’s the amount you must pay before the insurer will issue a claims payment.

If a paint job costs less than your deductible, it’s in your interest to hold off filing a claim. If, however, you’re filing a non-fault comprehensive claim, your rates won’t be affected.

Auto insurance can really save the day when you have the coverage that you need when disaster strikes. This is why it’s imperative that you understand your policy and select the right coverage options.

If you’re not happy with your coverage or you want to price shop, it’s time to do a thorough comparison.

Use an online comparison tool and you can review multiple rate quotes all at once. Once you find the best rates, fill out your application and start your policy immediately.

Start comparing auto insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE quote tool below!


  1. http://www.kiplinger.com/article/insurance/T004-C000-S001-collision-coverage-don-t-take-chances.html
  2. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/wear-and-tear-exclusion.asp
  3. http://classroom.synonym.com/comprehensive-insurance-cover-paint-damage-7690.html
  4. https://wallethub.com/edu/property-damage-liability/8775/
  5. http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2013/12/05/240841.htm
  6. https://wallethub.com/edu/collision-insurance/7292/
  7. http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/auto101.cfm
  8. http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/auto-insurance/comprehensive-auto-insurance-cover.htm
  9. http://www.iii.org/article/understanding-your-insurance-deductible

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