Does Insurance Cover Parking Lot Dents?

Parking lots can be a minefield of potential dents and scratches to your vehicle. Shopping carts rolling in the wind, car doors opening, distracted drivers – so many hazards await you and your car in a busy lot. And the worst part is, the culprit often drives off without leaving a note, leaving you with an eyesore on your car and a repair bill to pay.

So does insurance cover dents and scratches from a parking lot? The answer depends on your coverage.

What Types of Insurance Might Cover Parking Lot Damage

Two common coverages can help pay for parking lot dents and scratches:

  • Comprehensive coverage: This covers damage from events other than collisions, like vandalism, theft, fire, hail, and more. So if a rogue cart or car door put a dent in your vehicle, comprehensive would cover the repairs.

  • Collision coverage: As the name implies, collision covers damage from accidents with other vehicles or objects. If someone backed into you and drove off, collision would likely pay for the dent repair.

Without either comprehensive or collision coverage, repairs for parking lot damage would be entirely out-of-pocket.

Some other policy options that may help:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: If a hit-and-run driver dented your car, this coverage could pay for repairs if you didn’t have collision.

  • Rental reimbursement: Pays for a rental car while your vehicle gets fixed. Helpful if the repair takes several days.

  • Diminishing deductible: Reduces your deductible for each year you’re claims-free. Could lower your out-of-pocket cost for a claim.

What Steps to Take After a Parking Lot Dent

If you come out of the grocery store and spot a new dent in your car, stay calm and take these steps:

  • Document the damage: Take photos or video of the dent and surrounding area. Look for security cameras in the lot too – the footage could help identify the culprit.

  • File a police report: Even if you don’t have a license plate number, a police report creates an official record of the incident.

  • Call your insurance company: Report the damage to your insurer promptly. An adjuster may want to inspect the vehicle.

  • Get repair estimates: Your insurer will need quotes from auto body shops to determine the payment for repairs.

  • Pay your deductible: Once approved, your insurer will pay the shop directly, minus your deductible which you’ll need to pay upfront.

  • Consider a diminished value claim: Even after repaired, your car’s value could be lower. You may be able to claim this lost value.

What Dents Are Covered by Insurance?

Insurers don’t repair every little ding or scratch – some damage is considered wear-and-tear based on your policy deductible. Here’s what’s generally covered:

  • Dents deeper than a half dollar
  • Scratches longer than 6 inches
  • Collision damage larger than a golf ball
  • Multiple dings and dents indicating vandalism
  • Damage compromising your car’s structural integrity

Cosmetic-only damage like small hail dents, light scratches, and small dings may not be covered or exceed your deductible.

Tips to Avoid Parking Lot Dents

While insurance can ease the financial sting of parking lot damage, avoiding dents in the first place is ideal. Here are some tips:

  • Park strategically: Avoid spots near cart returns and busy lanes. Park next to newer cars less likely to have dings and dents.

  • Check surroundings: Glance around when opening your door to avoid hitting adjacent vehicles. Look for approaching cars as you pull in/out.

  • Use corner spots: Less door traffic with just two neighbors to worry about.

  • Take a compact spot: Fitted for smaller cars so less room around your vehicle.

  • Park away from crowds: Isolate your oasis of open spots for protection.

  • Use your trunk at loading: Pack purchases in the trunk rather than juggling items next to your vehicle.

  • Employ a protector: Install door edge guards or bumper protectors to shield from scratches and shield dings.

Shopping Cart Dents

Let’s talk specifically about how to prevent runaway carts from damaging your car. Besides parking carefully, do this:

  • Return carts properly: Don’t leave them strewn about the lot. Nest carts together in corals.

  • Use cart locks: Slot your cart into a locking system that keeps it from rolling away. Never leave a cart loose.

  • Choose carts wisely: Don’t overload carts that may become difficult to control. Opt for carts with all wheels working.

  • Be aware: If it’s windy out, take extra precaution around loose carts that could potentially roll.

  • Avoid distraction: Don’t take your eyes off your cart as you load items into your vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • Comprehensive and collision coverages will pay for parking lot dents and scratches in most cases.

  • Even if you don’t identify the culprit, file a police report and claim to get repairs covered.

  • Insurers have damage thresholds on what repairs they will cover. Minor dings and scratches often don’t qualify.

  • Park defensively to avoid other vehicles and be cautious with shopping carts.

  • A parking lot dent may reduce your car’s value, so consider requesting diminished value compensation.

No one wants to walk out of a store or errand to find new damage on their car. But with the right insurance coverage and proactive parking strategies, you can rest easy knowing a rogue cart or careless driver won’t cost you a fortune in repairs. Drive defensively, choose your parking spot wisely, and review your auto policy to make sure you’ve got comprehensive and collision coverage.

Does insurance cover scratches on car?


Is it worth claiming insurance for a dent?

Yes, your motor insurance will likely cover dents, scuffs, scratches and other cosmetic damage to your car. But it might not be worth claiming on your main policy because the cost of minor cosmetic repairs is usually less than the excess you’d have to pay.

Can insurance be claimed for dents?

Insurance provides financial assistance if repair costs are incurred as a result of an accident, fire, or other tragic events. Also, you will be compensated if you lose your car to theft or total damage. While driving a car, a few incidents are unavoidable; a dent is just one of them.

Does a dent count as an accident?

If you bump into the curb and cause little or no damage to your car, it generally isn’t considered an accident and you don’t need to file a claim. If you hit the curb with force and consequently scratch or dent your car, however, it could be considered an accident.

Can you claim insurance on a small dent?

If you have fully comprehensive car insurance, your normal policy should cover scratches and dents – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth claiming on it. Every time you make a claim on your cover, insurers take note. If you make claims too often, you’ll miss out on a no claims bonus.

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