My Car Was Keyed. Will Car Insurance Cover This?

Caeva O'Callaghan | October 25th, 2022

Someone Has Run A Key Around My Car And Scratched It, Will My Car Insurance Pay For This?

Keying a car is one of those petty acts of vandalism that turns your day sour in an instant. But can your car insurance fix it?

It depends: what kind of car insurance do you have on the vehicle? If you have comprehensive cover, then yes. If you have third party only, or third party fire and theft, then no.

In short, you need the highest level of car insurance cover to pay for damage as a result of someone keying your car.

In this article, we’ll answer questions such as:

  • Someone keyed my car – what do I do?
  • Will my car insurance pay for scratches in my paintwork?
  • My car was vandalised, will my car insurance cover it?

Keying is an act of vandalism. If someone deliberately scratches your paintwork, you need to treat it as a criminal act.

What to do when someone keys your car

Keying is when someone deliberately scratches the side of a car with keys. It makes a deep scratch in the paintwork, and the hallmarks of this particular crime are pretty recognisable. If you come back to your car to find this kind of damage, don’t despair. Although it’s upsetting, it’s not an emergency situation.

Keying is an act of vandalism, which is a crime. First of all you need to report it to the Gardai. Even if they can’t take immediate action, it’s helpful to have the incident on record. They can give you a crime reference number, which you’ll need for an insurance claim.

Take lots of photographs of the damage and surrounding environment. Your car will be absolutely fine to drive: the damage will just be cosmetic. The scratch may look very deep, but this kind of damage will not affect the car’s inner workings.

Check your mirrors for signs of damage. Driving with damage to your mirrors can be dangerous, and you should only get behind the wheel if you need to bring your car home or immediately to a garage.

Next, you need to decide whether to claim on your car insurance – and if you even can.

Making a claim for vandalism

First of all, is it even worth making a claim? It depends on how bad the damage is, and how important your car’s appearance is to you. If the fact that it happened bothers you more than the look of it, then you can continue to drive as normal. If it’s an older car you don’t care much about, it’s probably not worth correcting its appearance. But if it’s a new car, or you want to fix how the scratches look, feel free to touch it up.

But in most cases, this can be done relatively inexpensively. Car scratch sticks can be purchased which buff out minor damage. Or, you can buy a can of auto spray paint and have a go at larger scratches. It’s only worth going down the DIY route if the scratches aren’t too deep. If you can see metal underneath the paint, it’s probably going to need a professional. Deep scratches down to the metalwork will expose the panel to rust and corrosion, so it’s important to repair this even if you’re not bothered about how it looks.

Hiring a professional to sand down the scratches, re-prime the panels and apply a fresh coat of paint can be pricey. But it’s certainly worth it. And it might be cheaper than claiming, considering you may have to pay the excess on your policy.

Not only that, you may not have cover at all. You will only be able to claim for damage done by vandals on your car if you have comprehensive car insurance. This is the highest form of car insurance you can buy. If you have third party only, or third party, fire and theft cover, this will not include vandalism.

After your car is repaired

Your car insurance rates are most likely to increase if you make a claim for vandalism within one or two years of a prior claim. This will also affect whether you want to claim if someone keys your car. The more often you make a claim, the more likely your insurance company is to raise your rates.

Meanwhile, there are some precautions you can take to prevent this from happening again:

  • park in an enclosed garage
  • avoid parking on pavements
  • park in a well-lit area
  • check that your car alarm works well
  • consider installing CCTV if the car is on your property
  • leave plenty of space between your car and others when parking

We don’t need to mention that keying a car is a classic passive-aggressive move by someone who feels scorned. If there’s a person in your life – a neighbour, or an ex for example – who instantly jumps to your mind, it may be time to address the problem. Smoothing things out will prevent such damage happening again.

Give us a call today with your car insurance questions?

If you need advice on claiming on your car insurance or if you have any queries about an upcoming renewal, feel free to call us and we can help you out. We are available to talk anytime Mon-Fri between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If you need an instant car insurance quote, you can use our insurance calculator which compares insurance from 13 leading car insurance providers in Ireland.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.