Returning from a shopping trip or starting off to work in the morning only to discover that your car has been keyed is an upsetting experience. Not only is your car damaged, but the experience is made worse by the fact that the act was deliberate. And if it’s not fixed, it serves as a constant reminder of a malicious act and also lowers the value of your car. Depending on how deep the scratch is, it could rust over time, causing even more damage.
The following tips will help you know what to do if someone keys your car:
Take well-lit photos that clearly show the damage to your car. Also make note of the date the damage occurred, during what time frame it was done, and where your car was parked.
If you’ve recently experienced a nasty breakup or have been having an ongoing dispute with a neighbor, you may think, “I definitely know who keyed my car.” However, a suspicion isn’t actual evidence.
If you file a police report, they may be able to question the person whom you suspect. It’s also worth checking with close neighbors to see if they witnessed anything if the damage occurred on your property. If you or they have a security camera system, you might have video of the incident.
The same is true if your car was in a public place when it was keyed. It’s worth asking nearby businesses if they have security cameras that may have shown your car and the culprit.
Keying someone’s car is an act of vandalism, so if this happens to you, you should call your local police department’s non-emergency number. An officer will file a report that can hopefully lead to charging the person who did it. A police report will also help if you decide to file an auto insurance claim.
If you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, it should cover the damage to your car caused by the vandalism. Call your insurance agent and give them any available evidence you have, such as photos or a police report. He or she will then either send an appraiser out or ask you to take your vehicle to a body repair shop for a preliminary estimate of the damage.
After this, your agent can help you figure out whether it’s worth it to file a claim. You’ll need to consider the amount of your deductible since this is the dollar amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company will pay anything. If your deductible is less than the final amount of the repair, then it may make sense to file an insurance claim.
If you’d like to try fixing your scratched car yourself, wash the damaged area very well so you can see exactly how deep and long the scratch is. Then dry it with a microfiber cloth and allow it to dry completely. If the scratch only affects your car’s clear coat finish, it may be able to be removed by buffing and polishing the area. If the scratch is deep enough to affect your car’s paint, you’ll need the services of an auto body repair shop.
You’ll want to make sure the scratches on your car don’t get any worse before they’re repaired, and this is especially true if you’re filing an insurance claim. That’s because your insurance company may refuse to pay or may pay only a reduced amount if your actions make the damage worse.
So if you attempt a DIY fix, make sure you know what you’re doing so that you won’t worsen the damage. You’ll also need to get it repaired soon so rust doesn’t form in deeper scratches. If this isn’t possible, store your vehicle in a garage to keep it protected from the elements.
Although it may be impossible to completely avoid being the target of vandalism, you can lessen your chances of having your car keyed or facing other damage. If you have a garage, keep your vehicle in it when you’re at home, even if you have to clean other items out in order to do it.
When you find yourself realizing that “Oh no! Someone keyed my car!” and you want it fixed so it looks like it did before the damage, contact a reliable, experienced auto body shop.
Newell’s Auto Body is a family-owned business that has been serving Central Illinois car owners since 1958. We offer award-winning body repair along with friendly customer service and trained estimators who will coordinate with your insurance agent.