After finally saving up enough to buy your dream car, you’ve been taking extra-special care of it — that is, until one fateful day when you find a big scratch down the side. You’re not sure how it got there and whether auto insurance will cover the repair, especially since you don’t know who did it and the damage is cosmetic. So, how expensive will the repair be out of pocket?

When you’ve poured a substantial amount of money into buying or leasing a car, it’s hard to stomach paying even more for auto repair costs. Luckily, car insurance can help you cover the bills — but that coverage may be limited depending on the type of damage, who was at fault, and the details of your policy. You might also be wondering whether it’s worth filing a claim if your premium will go up.

1. Broken Window

You parked on the street not far from the restaurant where you’re having dinner. Unfortunately, when you return to the car a few hours later, you find the front passenger window smashed in. Luckily, you didn’t have anything expensive sitting in the car, so the thief only made out with some loose change and a few sticks of gum. Still, you’ll have to get that window fixed before it rains again.

How much does it cost to fix a broken window?

Auto body repair costs vary based on the make and model of the car, your location, and the shop providing the service. As of May 2021, it costs $389.99 before taxes and fees to fix a broken front passenger window for a 2020 Toyota Camry or a 2020 Honda CR-V — two of the bestselling vehicles of the year — in New York City, according to Safelite AutoGlass, a national auto glass repair and replacement service.

Will auto insurance cover a broken window?

If your car is vandalized, the repairs won’t be covered by liability insurance, which helps protect you financially if you’re at fault for a car accident. The repairs also won’t be covered by collision insurance, which would only apply if your window was damaged during an accident with another car or object, like a fence or wall.

If your window was broken by a vandal, fallen tree branch, or other incident outside of a collision, your best bet for coverage is through comprehensive insurance. This type of insurance covers repairs for a wide range of events, including falling objects, natural disasters, and vandalism.

Is it worth making a claim for a broken window?

Your deductible is the amount that you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Most deductibles are either $500 or $1,000. So, if the cost of repairs for your broken window falls below your deductible, then it’s a smart idea to avoid making an insurance claim. You’ll be paying that amount out of pocket either way, and filing a claim can raise your auto insurance rate.

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2. Cracked Windshield

What the heck was that? You’re driving down the freeway when suddenly you hear a loud tap — and a big ol’ crack appears in your windshield. Did something fly off the truck in front of you? Was it a tiny meteorite from outer space? Or was it a coordinated attack from the bird community? Whatever the origins of the mysterious object, you’re going to need a new windshield.

How much does it cost to fix a cracked windshield?

Windshield repair costs depend on where you live, the extent of the damage, and the auto glass service provider. According to AAA, repairing one chip in a window typically costs between $60 and $100, though larger cracks can cost $125 or more to fix. Replacing a windshield, on the other hand, can cost hundreds of dollars more than repairing it, according to the National Windshield Repair Division of the Auto Glass Safety Council.

Will auto insurance cover a cracked windshield?

If your windshield is cracked by a rock, auto insurance may cover repairing or replacing the damaged glass if you have comprehensive coverage. Your insurer might also offer the option to purchase full glass coverage that doesn’t require you to pay a deductible for repairing your windshield.

Is it worth making a claim for a cracked windshield?

If you’re already paying for comprehensive insurance, then you should use the coverage to replace your windshield before the crack spreads or deepens, which could pose a safety risk. In fact, to promote safe driving, several states require insurers to waive the deductible for replacing a windshield, according to AAA. Some car insurance companies will also cover repairs without a deductible since it’s less expensive than a replacement.

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3. Dented Car Door

You’re out and about in your car to run errands on a beautiful winter day. However, when you go to brake, you realize that you’ve hit a patch of black ice. Your tires lose traction, and your car slides right into a telephone pole. Good thing you don’t have any passengers riding shotgun, because that side of the vehicle is struck hard. Unfortunately, the pole also leaves a huge dent in the car door, preventing it from opening properly.

How much does it cost to fix a dented car door?

The total cost to repair a dented car door depends on the severity of the dent, among other factors. As of May 2021, it costs between $788 and $1,313 to fix a large dent in a car door on a 2020 Toyota Camry or a 2020 Honda CR-V in New York City, according to Maaco, an automotive paint and collision repair provider.

Will auto insurance cover a dented car door?

Remember, collision coverage doesn’t only apply to damage from an accident with another vehicle — it can also take care of collisions with objects. If your car crashes into a telephone pole, the dent would be covered by collision insurance if you have that coverage as part of your auto policy.

Is it worth making a claim for a dented car door?

If the dent looks minor and the cost of repairing it is less than your deductible, then you could consider leaving insurance out of it to prevent any increases in your premium. However, if the dent impedes your ability to open the car door and will cost upward of $1,000 to fix, then it might be worth filing a claim. After all, that’s what your collision coverage is there for.

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4. Paint Scratches

You come home after a long day to find a truck parked in front of the entrance to your building’s garage. You don’t have time for this — you need to eat, use the bathroom, and watch hours of mindless TV! Instead of waiting for the driver to return, you decide that you’ll squeeze by the truck to maneuver into the parking garage. But, just when you think you’re home free, you hear the terrible sound of your car door scratching against the cement wall. That’s definitely going to leave a mark.

How much does it cost to fix paint scratches?

The total cost of fixing paint scratches hinges on the extent of the damage. As of May 2021, it costs between $488 and $813 to repair scratches on one panel of a 2020 Toyota Camry or a 2020 Honda CR-V in New York City, according to quotes from Maaco. But that’s a relatively small area, so how much does it cost to repaint a car?

As expected, you get what you pay for. A new paint job can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000, depending on factors such as the quality of the work, paint color, vehicle size, and type of finish, according to J.D. Power, a global data and analytics company. Ultimately, you can get a sedan painted for around $500, but if you want the job done well, then it may cost much more.

Will auto insurance cover paint scratches?

If you have collision coverage, then it will cover the cost of fixing paint scratches from an accident with another car or object. However, if the scratches are from another driver sideswiping you, then the other person’s liability insurance will cover your repair costs. Another option is comprehensive coverage, which would take care of repairs for damage caused by any incidents outside of a collision.

Is it worth making a claim for paint scratches?

If you only see a small scratch and the repairs won’t cost more than your deductible, then you might as well pay out of pocket. But filing a claim under your comprehensive insurance is a good idea if there’s extensive damage to your car beyond the paint scratches. However, make sure that repainting your car is worth the cost — after all, a scratched paint job doesn’t impede your car from driving properly. If you’re trying to save money, you could consider leaving it alone.

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5. Damaged Suspension System

You’re driving home from the gym when you come across the biggest pothole you’ve ever seen. It seems to have appeared overnight. You certainly don’t want to subject your poor tires to the treacherous pothole, but veering around it would mean driving into oncoming traffic. Fortunately, your tires make it out alive — but you realize shortly afterward that the pothole wrecked your car’s suspension system.

How much does it cost to fix a damaged suspension system?

Depending on factors like the make and model of your car, replacing an entire suspension system can cost $1,000 to $5,000 or more, according to CostHelper, a community resource for price guidelines. However, replacing individual parts of the suspension system can cost just a few hundred dollars, though the exact price will depend on your car and the auto body shop.

Will auto insurance cover a damaged suspension system?

If your suspension system is damaged after hitting a pothole, collision insurance may cover the costs to repair your car because the incident could be considered a single-vehicle accident. Remember, this type of insurance covers collisions with not only cars but also other objects.

Is it worth making a claim for a damaged suspension system?

Driving a vehicle with bad suspension can increase your risk of rolling over when you turn or make it difficult to brake quickly in an emergency situation. So, if the damage to your suspension system is serious — and expensive — then you should file an auto insurance claim ASAP for safety reasons.

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6. Dented Bumper

You’re minding your own business on your commute to work in stop-and-go traffic. The only problem is that the driver behind you is texting — and not paying attention when it’s time for the “stop” part again. You even see it coming through your rearview mirror before their car plows into yours. Luckily, they weren’t going fast enough for you to get hurt. But you already know that your bumper didn’t make it out of the car accident unscathed, and you have no idea how much it costs to replace your rear bumper.

How much does it cost to fix a dented bumper?

We’ve covered glass and suspension repairs, but how much does bodywork cost? Unfortunately, the answer varies widely depending on the extent and location of the damage. For rear bumper replacement costs, you can expect to pay between $880 and $1,390, according to Cash Cars Buyer, a licensed dealership that purchases used and junk cars.

Will auto insurance cover a dented bumper?

When you’re rear-ended or struck by another car through no fault of your own, the other driver’s liability insurance will cover your bills because they’re responsible for the damage. However, if you caused the accident, then you’ll file a claim under your collision coverage (if you have it) to fix the damage. Keep in mind that you must pay a deductible first before insurance will cover anything.

Is it worth making a claim for a dented bumper?

If you aren’t at fault for the accident, then the other driver’s insurance company will cover your repair bills, so you’ll want to make the most of this process. When you’re responsible, however, you should weigh the damage against your financial situation to decide whether it’s worth filing an insurance claim. Although a dented bumper might look unattractive, it won’t affect your driving — unless, of course, part of the bumper is sticking out or dragging on the ground.

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Auto Body Repairs FAQ

Below are the answers to some common questions about car insurance and auto body repairs.

Is it better to pay out of pocket or file an insurance claim?

You run the risk of your auto insurance rate increasing when you file a claim, so whether you pay out of pocket should depend on the extent of the damage. If it’s minimal, then you could take care of the repairs on your own to avoid paying a higher premium.

“Depending on the number of prior claims and if the cost of the repair isn’t much more than your deductible, then it makes sense to pay out of pocket,” says Tammy Michaels, a senior insurance specialist at Barnum Financial Group in Shelton, Connecticut.

However, if the costs greatly exceed your deductible, then it’s better to file a claim, especially if the damage poses a safety risk and you can’t afford the repair bill out of pocket.

How can I keep my premium from increasing if I have to file a claim?

Your auto insurer may offer accident forgiveness coverage, which means that your first accident won’t cause your insurance rate to go up. For example, drivers who haven’t had an accident or violation in the last five years can add accident forgiveness coverage to their auto insurance policy with Liberty Mutual.

Related: Don’t Miss Out On These Hidden Auto Insurance Discounts

What is a zero payout?

A zero payout is exactly what it sounds like — your insurance company isn’t coughing up any dough. This happens when you report an accident to your insurer but don’t end up filing a claim. If any damage ends up causing bigger problems down the line, then at least your insurance company will have the incident on record.

“A zero payout means the insurance carrier didn’t pay anything out because the damage may have been less than the deductible or wasn’t a covered loss,” Michaels says. “I always advise my clients to obtain an estimate prior to putting a claim in if the damage is minimal. Having the cost of the repair in advance determines if it is worth going through insurance.”

Can you keep cash from an insurance payout and not fix your car?

If you own your vehicle, then it makes sense that you should be able to decide whether to fix any damage. So, can you collect the cash from the insurance payout and leave your car unrepaired?

“Yes, you can if it isn’t leased or the damage doesn’t result in a total loss and there is a loan on the auto,” Michaels says.

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The Bottom Line on Auto Body Repairs and Insurance

Whether it’s a crack in your windshield or a dented bumper, car repairs can quickly become costly. The more extensive your auto insurance coverage is, the more options you’ll have to pay for the damage. When you’re deciding whether you should use your insurance, it’s important to find out if the cost estimates exceed your deductible. Overall, you can try your best to keep your car in pristine condition, but if it does get damaged, at least now you have a sense for what to expect with common auto body repairs.

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