February 23, 2022

What you need to know about dent and scratch repair

When determining what you need to know about dent and scratch repair, price isn’t always number one. In fact, you first need to know what types of repairs are available. Then, you need to consider if your car is really worth repairing. And if it is, if that repair is covered by insurance. We’ll spell it all out for you in this 7-minute read.

1. What is dent and scratch repair?

Dent and scratch repair is the process of removing scrapes and impacts caused by something hitting your car. They can be very small or quite large depending on the collision you had. But you can get them from little things like shopping trolleys, bollards, poles and columns. It’s most common to get them on the doors and bumpers. Dent and scratch repair removes these bumps and scuffs to get your car back to its original condition.

2. What causes dents and scratches?

Dents and scratches are always caused by an impact. Scratches tend to be horizontal or vertical lines caused by sustained contact with another object. And dents are caused by sudden blunt force. You can get dents and scratches just doing everyday things with your car like parking up. Sometimes, but rarely, dents and scratches are caused by vandalism. For example, a troublemaker might go around a parking lot running their keys along the side of cars to scratch their paint.

3. Is it worth getting my dent repaired?

It is worth getting your dent repaired if your car has more value than the cost of the repair. That seems intuitive. But you may not know how much your car is actually worth right now, especially if you’ve had it for a while. Large dents can cost hundreds to replace, so you’ll want to take that into consideration before getting a dent repaired. And a scratch? The price of that repair will change depending on how large and deep it is. Plus, it will also change if you need fresh paint or not. However, it’s important to remember that deep scratches and dents can let in rust. So, if you care about your car, it’s probably best to fix a small issue now before it becomes a large problem.

4. How much does it cost to fix a dent and a scratch?

The average cost to fix a dent and a scratch in the UK is £100 - £200 per panel. Some small dents you might be able to repair yourself with hot water or a plunger. But if there’s any paint damage, you’ll need a professional. Same with scratches… You may be able to fix small ones that aren’t visible on your wet car with a polishing compound. However, if the paint is damaged, it’s best to seek professional help. It’s rare for dent and scratch repair to cost more than £1500 in total, so for all but the oldest rust-buckets, it’s worth it. And you can get a quote beforehand by sending in a photo of the damage.

5. Is dent and scratch covered by insurance?

Generally, no. There is a specific type of insurance for this sort of damage called cosmetic insurance. It’s usually around £100 per year with no or low excess. The purpose of this kind of insurance is to avoid claiming on your main policy with a higher excess. But, according to WhatCar, “You will probably have to tell your main insurer about any claims that you make on a scratch and dent policy, too. The respective companies should be able to advise you about this but, generally, any claim has to be reported to your main insurer, otherwise, you could invalidate your policy, so scratch and dent cover is not a way to avoid adding claims to your normal car insurance policy.” So, it’s probably not worth involving insurance to cover these sorts of repairs. It’s better to pay for it directly if you can. Over the life of your car, unless you’re often in a high-traffic area, you’ll likely only need to fix one or two dents. But a £100 per year policy would add up to more than that in annual costs over time.

6. How do body shops fix dents?

First, they’ll check to see if it’s worth repairing the dent or just replacing the panel. Then, the technician will use the correct method to fix the dent. This might include a hammer and dolly, dent puller (suction), stud welder or pliers. When they have repaired the dent, it might not be level yet. In that case, they will need to apply a filler to bring it to level. Following that, they will add a hardener and sand it smooth with the surface of your car. Once everything is dry, they’ll repaint it to match with the rest of your car. However, if your car is old or uncommon, a perfect paint match may be difficult to find. You’ll want to work with a specialist shop like Whites Bodyworks to ensure a seamless repair.

7. Will my insurance go up if I scratch a car?

If you make a claim or the other person makes a claim, then yes. Your insurance may go up if you scratch a car or your car is scratched and you claim. However, most scratches and dents are minor. Therefore, they are not covered by standard insurance. So, you’d have no need to claim. If you repair the damage privately or arrange to do so with the other driver, then you’ll have no claims against your insurance.

8. Summary

In brief, it’s generally a good idea to repair a scratch or a dent. It’s affordable. And it protects your car from developing surface rust and compounding the problem. In most cases, you won’t need to involve insurance as dents and scratches are generally not covered by primary policies. If you do have cosmetic insurance, you’ll need to consider if it’s worth it in the long term. Lastly, if the paintwork is involved, you’ll want to make sure you have the work carried out by a professional garage that’s familiar with your make and model. Hopefully, that has helped you with everything you need to know about dent and scratch repair. Remember, you can always pop over a picture for a quote on your unique case.

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