Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A keyed car is treated as a vandalized car in terms of a claim that you could possibly make through your auto insurance company to repair the damage
  • If you have supplemental comprehensive coverage under your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim for key scratches on your vehicle to have them repaired
  • Find out if you have a deductible under your policy and how much it is
  • A claims adjuster may need to come out and inspect the damage to your vehicle to make sure that you are not filing a fraudulent vandalism claim
  • You will be able to choose which repair shop you take your car to, but the claims adjuster may collect estimates for the repair costs to determine how much you will be paid for your claim


There is nothing more frustrating than having your car vandalized. If your car is scratched by a key, this is considered vandalism under your auto insurance policy.

If you have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, you will be able to file a claim to have the damage repaired. You may be required to pay a deductible, so be sure to know the amount before proceeding with the claim and having any repair work done.

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Insurance Coverage for Vandalism of Your Car

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If you only have the basic auto liability coverage that is required by state law, then you will likely not be covered for vandalism of your vehicle. This would, however, be covered under a comprehensive insurance policy.

This is an optional coverage that will protect you in the event that your car is damaged from something other than a collision.

One of the reasons why it is recommended that you carry auto insurance above what is required under state law is that the type of damage covered through basic auto liability coverage is very limited.

Essentially, you are only protected for the damage that you cause to another vehicle or driver up to a certain limit under basic auto liability insurance.

In the event that you have any other type of claim for damage to your vehicle, you will need to rely on supplemental coverage or pay out of your own pocket to cover the repair costs.

The first thing you need to do before you file a claim for a keyed car is to find out whether you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. You will be able to find this information on your insurance card or certificate or through your insurance company directly.

If you do have comprehensive coverage, the next step is to check into your deductible. Often times, the repair costs for cosmetic damage to a car can be relatively small when compared to the amount of your deductible.

If this is the case, you may want to consider having the damage repaired out of pocket rather than filing a claim through your auto insurance company.

One of the ways that you may be able to reduce your premium on your auto insurance policy is to increase the amount of your deductible.

When you are asking around for quotes from different insurance companies, be sure to ask about your options for increasing your deductible and how this can affect your rate.

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Having Your Car Repaired

After you file a claim for the damage with your insurance company, you will be assigned to a claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is a representative of the insurance company who is tasked with inspecting your car and assessing the amount and nature of the damage.

You should make sure to cooperate fully with the claims adjuster while the investigation of  the damage is underway.

The claims adjuster may provide an estimate of the damage, which will determine how much you can expect to receive in settlement of your claim.

You are not obligated to use a repair shop chosen by the insurance company, although you may not be able to state your own estimate for the repair work.

Keep in mind that the check from the insurance company to cover the cost of repair of your car may not be made payable directly to you.

In fact, it is likely that in the case of cosmetic damage to your car, such as key scratches, the insurance company will make the check payable to the repair shop directly.

This is because the insurance company does not want to encourage any fraudulent claims for minor cosmetic damage.

Final Takeaways on Insurance Coverage for Key Scratches on Your Car

Whether your car is covered for acts of vandalism, such as key scratches, will depend on whether you have supplemental comprehensive coverage.

Even if you do have this coverage, you may still have to pay a deductible out of your own pocket before you can receive any money from the insurance company to have the car repaired.

Depending on the extent of the cosmetic damage to your car and whether you have a very large deductible, it may not be worthwhile for you to file a claim to have the car repaired.

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