In Canada, whether car insurance covers scratches and dents depends on the type of coverage you have on your policy, the cause of the damage, and the insurance company’s terms and conditions. Here’s a brief overview:
- Collision Coverage: This covers damages to your vehicle as a result of a collision with another vehicle or object. If the scratches or dents are due to a collision, and you have collision coverage, then your insurance should cover the repairs, minus any deductible.
- Comprehensive Coverage: This covers damages to your vehicle that aren’t caused by a collision. Instead, it covers events like theft, vandalism, natural disasters, falling objects, etc. If the scratches or dents were caused by any of these covered events, and you have comprehensive coverage, then your insurance should cover the repairs, minus any deductible.
- Liability Coverage: This is the mandatory coverage in Canada, which covers damages to other people’s property or their medical expenses if you’re at fault in an accident. It does not cover damages to your own vehicle. So, scratches and dents to your own car wouldn’t be covered under liability insurance.
- Specific Endorsements or Riders: Some policies might have specific endorsements or riders that provide additional coverage for minor damages like scratches or dents, often referred to as “minor protection” or similar terminology. This might be an additional cost or part of a package deal with the insurer.
- Claim Consequences: Before filing a claim for minor damages, like scratches or dents, consider the cost of repairs versus your deductible and the potential impact on your future insurance premiums. Sometimes, paying out-of-pocket for minor repairs without involving the insurance company can be more cost-effective in the long run.
- No-fault insurance provinces: Some provinces in Canada, like Ontario and Quebec, have a no-fault insurance system. This means that, regardless of who is at fault, you deal with your own insurance company for damages to your car. But the type of coverage you have still dictates whether those damages will be covered.
Breakdown by Province
Car insurance in Canada is regulated at the provincial and territorial level, and as such, there are differences in regulations, mandatory coverages, and optional coverages across provinces and territories. Here’s a breakdown by province:
- British Columbia:
- Insurance is provided by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), a provincial crown corporation.
- ICBC offers optional comprehensive and collision coverage for dents and scratches.
- Private insurance companies provide coverage.
- Comprehensive and collision coverage are optional, but if chosen, they would cover dents and scratches.
- Basic insurance is provided by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), a crown corporation.
- SGI offers optional comprehensive and collision coverage for added protection against dents and scratches.
- Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) provides basic insurance coverage.
- MPI offers optional comprehensive and collision coverage for dents and scratches.
- Private insurance companies provide coverage.
- Comprehensive and collision coverage are optional. If you choose them, they would cover dents and scratches, minus the deductible.
- The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) covers bodily injury.
- Private insurers cover property damage. As in other provinces, you’d need optional comprehensive and collision coverage to be insured for dents and scratches.
- New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador:
- Private insurance companies provide coverage in the Atlantic provinces.
- As with other provinces, comprehensive and collision coverages are optional. If added, they can cover dents and scratches.
- Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut:
- Private insurance companies provide coverage in the territories.
- Comprehensive and collision are optional, but if chosen, would cover dents and scratches.
What to do if someone scratches your car while parked and left
If someone scratches your car while it’s parked and then leaves without providing their information, it’s termed a “hit-and-run.” Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you should do:
- Safety First: Before you inspect the damage, make sure you’re in a safe location, especially if you’re in a parking lot or on the side of a busy road.
- Document the Scene:
- Take clear photographs of the damage to your vehicle.
- If there’s any evidence of the other vehicle (like paint transfer), photograph that as well.
- Capture photos of the surrounding area, including the location of your parked car, nearby signage, and any security cameras.
- Look for Witnesses: If anyone saw the incident, ask them for a description of the vehicle or the person responsible. Take their contact information in case they’re needed to provide a statement later.
- Check for Security Cameras: If the incident happened in a parking lot or near businesses, there might be security cameras that captured the event. Inquire with store managers or property owners about potential footage.
- Report to the Police: Depending on the jurisdiction, you should report the hit-and-run to the local police, especially if the damage is significant. Some areas might have a non-emergency line or an online system for reporting minor incidents.
- Contact Your Insurance Company:
- Notify your insurer about the incident as soon as possible.
- If you have collision coverage or specific endorsements for hit-and-run incidents, your insurance may cover the repair costs minus your deductible. However, if you only have liability coverage, the damage to your car will likely not be covered.
- Some insurance companies might not increase your rates for hit-and-run claims, but this varies by company and location, so it’s essential to clarify with your insurer.
- If you’re going through insurance, they’ll guide you on the next steps for repairs.
- If you’re paying out-of-pocket, obtain a few quotes from reputable repair shops to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
- Consider Prevention:
- In high-traffic areas, consider using dash cams or parking cameras. Some dash cams have “parking mode,” which records when they detect motion or impacts while the vehicle is off.
- Try to park in well-lit areas or near security cameras when possible.
Does insurance cover parking lot dents?
Whether your insurance covers dents sustained in a parking lot depends on the type of insurance coverage you have and the specifics of your policy. Here are the relevant insurance coverages you’d need to consider:
- Collision Coverage:
- This covers damages to your vehicle resulting from a collision, whether with another vehicle or with an object.
- If your car is dented in a parking lot due to a collision with another vehicle (even if you weren’t in your car at the time), and you have collision coverage, then your insurance should cover the repairs, minus any deductible.
- Comprehensive Coverage:
- This coverage handles damages to your vehicle that aren’t caused by collisions. Instead, it’s for events like theft, vandalism, natural disasters, etc.
- If the damage in the parking lot wasn’t caused by a collision (e.g., someone intentionally vandalizing your car), comprehensive coverage would be applicable.
- Again, you’d be responsible for paying any deductible associated with the claim.
- Liability Coverage:
- This coverage doesn’t apply to damage to your own car. It covers damages to other people’s property or their medical expenses if you’re at fault in an accident.
- If someone else’s car was damaged in the parking lot, and it’s determined you’re at fault, your liability coverage would come into play for their repairs.
A few things to consider:
- Deductible vs. Repair Cost: Before making a claim, determine the cost of the repairs and weigh it against your deductible. If the repair costs are close to or less than your deductible, it might not be worth making a claim, especially considering potential increases in future premiums.
- No-fault vs. At-fault: Depending on where you live, the insurance process might vary. In some places with “no-fault” insurance, each party deals with their own insurer regardless of who’s at fault. In “at-fault” locations, the person responsible for the damage would have their insurance handle the claim.
- Hit-and-run: If someone damages your car in a parking lot and leaves without notifying you, it’s considered a hit-and-run. Some insurance policies may have specific provisions or endorsements for hit-and-run incidents.
- Claims Impact: Always remember that making claims can potentially increase your future insurance premiums. It’s essential to evaluate whether making a claim is in your best financial interest in the long term.
Is it worth claiming on car insurance for a dent?
Whether it’s worth claiming on car insurance for a dent depends on several factors, including the cost of repair, the amount of your deductible, the potential impact on your insurance premiums, and the specifics of your policy. Let’s break down different scenarios to understand this better:
- Deductible is Higher Than Repair Cost:
- Scenario: Let’s say the repair cost for the dent is $300, but your deductible is $500.
- Outcome: It’s not worth making a claim because you’d have to pay the full repair cost out-of-pocket anyway, as it’s below your deductible. Making a claim in this scenario could still impact your future premiums, even if no payout occurs.
- Deductible is Slightly Lower Than Repair Cost:
- Scenario: The repair cost is $550, and your deductible is $500.
- Outcome: Even though your insurance might cover the $50 difference, making a claim for such a small amount might not be worth it. A claim could lead to increased premiums in the future, which over time could cost more than that $50.
- Deductible is Significantly Lower Than Repair Cost:
- Scenario: The repair cost is $2,000, and your deductible is $500.
- Outcome: It might be worth making a claim since the insurance would cover $1,500 of the repair. However, you should still consider the potential rise in future premiums. If you have a history of multiple claims, another claim might substantially increase your rates.
- First-time Claim vs. Multiple Claims:
- Scenario: You’ve never made a claim before, or it’s been several years since your last claim.
- Outcome: Many insurance companies offer “first accident forgiveness” or similar programs. This means your rates might not go up for your first claim or if you’ve been claim-free for an extended period. In such cases, if the repair cost is significantly higher than the deductible, it might be worth claiming.
- Potential Loss of No-Claim Discount:
- Scenario: You have a no-claim discount on your premium because you haven’t made any claims for several years.
- Outcome: If making a claim means you’ll lose this discount, you need to calculate the long-term cost. The increase in premiums over the years might end up being more than the out-of-pocket cost for fixing the dent.
- Nature of the Damage:
- Scenario: The dent is merely cosmetic and doesn’t impact the vehicle’s functionality or safety.
- Outcome: Some people might choose not to repair a minor cosmetic dent at all or may delay the repair until it’s financially more feasible. In such cases, there’s no need to make a claim.
- Claim Impact on Resale Value:
- Scenario: You’re planning to sell or trade in your vehicle soon.
- Outcome: A vehicle with visible damage might fetch a lower price. If repairing the dent (and potentially making an insurance claim for it) results in a significantly higher resale value, it might be worth it.
How much will my insurance go up after scratching someone’s car?
Before the Incident:
- Annual Insurance Premium: $1,200
Scenario 1: Minor Scratch, First Offense
- If the scratch on the other person’s car is minor and this is your first at-fault incident, the rate increase might be relatively small.
- Estimated Premium Increase: 10%
- New Annual Premium: $1,320 ($120 increase)
Scenario 2: Minor Scratch, Multiple Offenses
- If this isn’t your first at-fault incident, the insurance company might consider you a higher risk, leading to a more substantial rate increase.
- Estimated Premium Increase: 25%
- New Annual Premium: $1,500 ($300 increase)
Scenario 3: Significant Damage
- Even if it’s your first offense, causing significant damage (even if it started as a “scratch”) might result in a higher rate increase.
- Estimated Premium Increase: 20%
- New Annual Premium: $1,440 ($240 increase)
Scenario 4: Accident Forgiveness Policy
- Some insurance companies offer “accident forgiveness” for the first at-fault accident, meaning your premium might not increase at all for the first incident.
- Estimated Premium Increase: 0%
- New Annual Premium: $1,200 (no increase)
Other Factors to Consider:
- Location: Insurance regulations vary by province. Some regions have regulations limiting rate increases for first-time offenses or minor accidents.
- Claims-Free Discounts: If you had a claims-free discount, you might lose that discount after an at-fault accident, which can effectively increase your premium.
- Deductible: If the cost to repair the scratch is close to or less than your deductible, it might not be worth making a claim, especially if you factor in the potential premium increase.