Car Insurance: What is Scratch and Dent Cover and is it Worth it?

New-car sales are on the up once again, with July 2020 recording an 11% jump in registrations compared to the year before as buyers flocked to dealerships amid lifted coronavirus restrictions to sign for a new set of wheels.

Whether buying new or used, there can be a head-spinning number of costs to factor in, whether it be servicing plans, road tax, insurance, or other products designed to cover damage to the car.

One such upsell item is scratch and dent insurance – covering your car against cosmetic damage.

But what exactly do scratch and dent policies insure against, and are they worth taking out? Let’s have a look.

A car with a damaged bonnet after a crash

What Is Scratch and Dent Insurance?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, scratch and dent cover is designed to protect your car if it is scratched or dented after you purchase it.

If you suffer a ding, typically an insurer will arrange for a mobile technician to come and fix the car at your house or place of work, with repairs generally taking a few hours.

Also known as cosmetic insurance, this type of cover is usually much more affordable than your overall cover and is often included as a bolt-on with products such as GAP insurance, with specialist insurers such as ALA providing this type of cover, as well as the more familiar names in the market.

What Does It Cover?

Again, no shocks here, but scratches and dents are what this cover is all about – but there are often restrictions.

This cover is only designed to protect against minor damage – a scuffed wheel arch picked up in a clumsy car park exit, a dinged wing mirror caused by an unseen bollard, a bruised bumper sustained while moving furniture.

You will not be covered against larger dents or cuts in body work, while items such as lights, alloy wheels and your windows or windshield are almost always not included.

Using a pen and a calculator

Is It Worth It?

If you spend a lot of time in built-up areas, parking in tight street spaces, or travelling in and out of tricky spots, this type of cover could well pay for itself in no time, with small bits of damage not costing you any extra.

It can also reap benefits when it comes to selling your car or trading it in with a dealer. The less damage to the bodywork, the more you will be able to command for the car – even factoring in for depreciation.

If you’re buying a new model it is almost certainly worth the small expense for the potential benefits it can gain you down the line. If your car is used and already features a few imperfections, it is unlikely to make too much of a difference to your life, however.

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