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Is it worth claiming on car insurance for a dent or scratch?

You’ve emerged from a minor collision with a dent or scratch on your car. Should you file an insurance claim to cover the repair?/car-insurance/do-you-have-to-declare-non-fault-claims/

If the incident is your fault, it usually doesn’t make sense to claim for minor cosmetic damage to your vehicle. This is because most insurers require you to pay the first £300 or more of any claim - this is called your excess. Most cosmetic repairs will cost less than your excess, so you’ll be footing the entire bill for them, making getting your insurer involved a redundant hassle.

Additionally, by claiming you’ll reduce or squander your no-claims discount, leading to higher premiums in the future. You’ll also have to report the claim when you seek out a new policy or renew your current policy, and that alone will increase your insurance costs.

The exception is in cases of very large dents, which aren’t cosmetic and may impact the running or longevity of the vehicle, or if your car is particularly expensive to repair. In those cases, claiming for a dent might make financial sense.

Additionally, if someone else dents or scratches your vehicle, it may be worth claiming on their insurance for the repair. In this case, they’ll be paying the excess. Furthermore, non-fault claims like this generally don’t impact your no claims bonus. However, you’ll still have to disclose a non-fault claim when seeking out policies in the future, and you may see your premiums rise accordingly.

Even if you don’t file a claim for a dent or scratch, you should still notify your insurer of it.

Many insurers require you to inform them of even minor damage to your vehicle. Failing to do so can invalidate your policy and lead to future claims being rejected.

Because it’s usually not cost-effective to claim for cosmetic damage with standard car insurance policies, some fastidious motorists take out cosmetic car insurance, also called scratch and dent insurance.

These are separate policies, with lower excesses (usually £50), designed specifically to address small dents and minor repairs. These insurance policies don’t make financial sense for many people, but if you’re fussy about the appearance of your car then you might want to consider one.

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