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What is car scratch and dent insurance? Is it worth having?

When you’re buying a new car there’s a chance your dealer may offer you scratch and dent insurance, either as part of the deal or for an extra charge. Or you can buy it yourself after you’ve got your car.

What is car scratch and dent insurance?

Like it says on the tin, this type of insurance will allow you to get minor dents, dings and scratches fixed without claiming on your main car insurance policy – often by a mobile repair company who can pop to your house and fix them on the spot.

Is car scratch and dent insurance worth buying?

Most people don’t bother claiming for small dents and scratches on their regular car insurance, partly because insurance excesses often require you to pay the first £300 or more of any claim – thus wiping out the point of claiming for a small dent. Also, claiming on your car insurance can increase your next year’s premium.

Scratch and dent insurance often has a much lower excess – which can range from nothing to £50 – which makes it far more useful for repairing minor damage.

So, if you want to keep your car looking as good as possible, have to park on tight streets or just seem to attract trolley dings in the supermarket car park then yes, scratch and dent cover can be useful.

It’s also useful to keep your car in good enough condition so you won’t be penalised when you finish a PCP finance contract or car lease term. Both PCP and car leasing deals require your car’s condition to fall within the BVRLA’s ‘fair wear and tear’ guidelines or you’ll be charged to fix any outstanding damage. Scratch and dent insurance can help avoid ending up with a dented car at the end of your agreement.

Scratch and dent insurance may not cover bigger damage like this

What doesn’t scratch and dent insurance cover?

Scratch and dent insurance isn’t designed to cover major panel damage (such as that caused by a crash), and often insurance companies won’t cover broken bumpers. Check all policy documents carefully to see what the maximum size of scratch or dent will be covered – 15-20cm is often the maximum allowed.
Also, it’s worth noting that scratch and dent insurance companies will limit the number of claims you can make each year – often there’s a maximum value of £1,000, or three claims.

Anything else?

Make sure you tell your main car insurer about any claims you make on your scratch and dent insurance – they do count as claims and your motor insurance policy could be made invalid if you don’t disclose scratch and dent claims when asked.

If you’re interested in scratch and dent insurance then ask your dealer for a quote – and naturally, you can get it from many third parties.

Remember to read our guides to other extras you may be offered by dealers, including alloy wheel and tyre insurance, paint protection and interior upholstery protection.

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