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Cosmetic Car Insurance – 5 things to think about
Cars are getting bigger, but parking spaces are not – and that’s where cosmetic car insurance can help.
How many times have you returned to your car in a car park to notice a scratch or dent that wasn’t there before? Or sometimes we’re the ones who make the mistake and open our car door onto a bollard or get too close to a wall!
It’s annoying. And putting the damage right can end up costing you £hundreds. Despite the cost, many of us won’t bother claiming through our car insurance because we’ve got high excesses to pay first or because we don’t want to lose our no-claim discount. But there is an alternative that will give you peace of mind you can fix the dents: cosmetic car insurance.
Cosmetic car insurance: the solution to the “dent and run’ problem
A whopping 1 in 5 of us admits to damaging another car and leaving the scene without making the other car owner aware. These knocks and scratches to your car’s bodywork are all too common. And if you don’t witness it happening you’ll be left footing the bill to put it right unless you want to drive around looking like an extra from a demolition derby.
So could cosmetic car insurance be the low-cost answer to keeping your pride and joy gleaming? Read on for our top 5 things to think about when considering if cosmetic car insurance is right for you.
1) What is cosmetic car insurance?
Also known as scratch and dent insurance or SMART insurance, cosmetic car insurance is an extra policy you can take out on top of your mandatory car insurance. It is specifically designed to pay out if you need to repair a relatively minor scratch or dent on your vehicle, so you won’t need to make a claim through your regular insurance policy. That means that you know you’ll be able to afford to keep your car looking in pristine condition. And you know you won’t be risking higher future premiums because you’ve lost your no-claims bonus.
Remember, even if you’re not making a claim through your standard car insurance, you still need to let your insurer know about any incident when you come to renew. If you don’t, your car insurance could be invalidated.
2) Do I need cosmetic car insurance?
Not sure if you need to take out additional cosmetic car insurance? To help you to decide, think about the following:
- Do you mind driving around in a car with dents and scratches on it?
- If you want immaculate bodywork, can you afford to pay for repairs to dents and knocks? These can run into the ££hundreds depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
Of course, you don’t have to repair scratches and dents to your vehicle. But cosmetic damage can lead to more serious problems if left. Consider:
- Scratches or dents that have broken the layer of paint will mean that water can get to the car body. And that means rust can set in.
- If you plan to sell your car in the future, any buyer may be put off by the damage and consider you to be an uncareful driver. Remember, they don’t know if the damage was caused by you or another driver.
- Even if the buyer still wants your car, they may ask for a discount on the price to cover the cost of getting the repairs done.
3) Why can’t I claim for repairs to scratches and dents on my normal car insurance?
You could just claim for these minor repairs on your normal car insurance. But there are several reasons why you might choose not to do this. The first is the fact that your claim will result in you losing any no claims bonus that you have built up. The no claims bonus can result in significant savings on future car insurance premiums, even if it’s only one year without a claim. So that can mean you could end up paying significantly more for your mandatory car insurance when you come to renew. If you have cosmetic car insurance as an add-on, you won’t lose the no-claims bonus on your normal car insurance policy.
What about if the person who damaged my car has exchanged insurance details with me?
Whilst it might not seem fair, even if you make a ‘not-at-fault’ claim on your insurance, you could still see the premiums on your car insurance go up the following year. This is because insurance prices are calculated on risk. You might be considered a greater risk if you have reported an accident, however minor.
Don’t forget to factor in the excess
Many of us also opt for higher excesses on our standard car insurance as a way to keep our annual premiums down. Depending on the costs of the cosmetic repair work that needs to be carried out, you could find that the amount you need to pay in excess means there is little point claiming the remaining costs back from your insurance company. With cosmetic car insurance, you’ll only pay a nominal excess.
4) What does cosmetic car insurance cover?
Every policy is different, so speak to your broker so you know exactly what level of cover you are getting. Generally, cosmetic car insurance policies allow up to three claims a year. Whilst these policies are not designed to keep your car in showroom condition, they will pay out for minor scratches and dents to be fixed. Usually
Cosmetic car insurance won’t cover you to repair any structural damage to your vehicle that may result from a bash. And it won’t cover you for any mechanical damage. You’ll also need to check if there are any exclusions. For example, some policies may not cover you for damage to the roof, bonnet or boot. Some specialist paint finishes may not be covered. And if you’ve modified your alloy wheels, these may also be excluded from the cover. Your insurer may also specify a maximum size for dents, stone chips, and scratches that you can claim for.
5) Get the best value price on cosmetic car insurance
Most standard motor policies don’t offer you the option of adding on cosmetic car insurance. To get this extra cover, speak to a specialist broker like Easy2Insure. We’re an independent insurance broker and can shop around some of the UK’s biggest insurance providers. We’ll find the exact level of cover that you need, and negotiate the best price possible. Our expert team can help you so you can decide if cosmetic car insurance the right choice for you.
Call us now on 0800 9179 522 to find out more or get in touch here.