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Most car owners are understandably hesitant to claim from their car insurance cover when their vehicle sustains a minor dent or scratch. The reality is that car insurers will ‘penalise’ you for claiming with future premium increases as well as an excess at the time of a claim, unless you have chosen a no excess policy. What could be just a small repair could cost you thousands in the immediate and long term through a car insurance claim.

If you have scratch and dent cover, then you have a second option for those minor ‘dings’ and ‘bangs’. Knowing when to claim from your car insurance cover and when to claim from your scratch and dent cover can save you money in the long run. However, it is important to note that scratch and dent cover cannot replace car insurance and vice versa. Ideally you should have both forms of cover for you vehicle.

When to claim from scratch and dent?

Firstly you should understand how scratch and dent works. This type of cover is for minor damage to your vehicle. Depending on the cover, you may be able to claim for interior damage as well as exterior damage. However, most scratch and dent insurers have restrictions. For example, only a dent that is not more than 30cm in diameter, that does not require removal and panel beating, and does not extend between two panels will be covered.

These terms and conditions vary among scratch and dent insurers. Cover may extend beyond just the body of the car. Some types of scratch and dent cover will also pay for mag rim repairs but this is also limited to a certain degree. Ultimately, the claim is capped at a certain amount and if the repairs cost anymore than this limit then you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket.

When to claim from car insurance?

Car insurance works on a much larger scale. In addition to paying for minor damage, car insurance will also pay for major vehicle damage. This will even extend to replacing the vehicle in the event of a write-off, theft or loss through other means. Furthermore, car insurance will also pay for the repair costs to third party vehicles in the event that the road traffic accident was your fault.

Ideally, car insurance claims should only be considered when there is significant damage or loss of a vehicle. Scratch and dent should be used for minor vehicle repairs. Claiming too often from your car insurer will not only affect your no claim bonus, it can even result in your insurance being cancelled. Furthermore other insurers may refuse to cover you for an excessive claiming history.

Understand the difference between scratch and dent cover and car insurance. Apply your mind as to when you should and should not claim from each. With both types of cover, you are most likely covered for all possibilities especially if you have comprehensive car insurance. Both covers should work for you when you need it but do not abuse either as it can cost you in the long run.