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What to do if someone keys my car

Does car insurance cover me if my car is keyed?

Mehdi Punjwani
Written by  Mehdi Punjwani
5 min read
Updated: 19 Feb 2024

It’s always frustrating at the very least when you find out your car has been ‘keyed’ – the act of using a key or sharp object to scratch the paint on a car’s exterior - there’s damage to fix, and the concern that someone has targeted your car specifically. It’s a common act of vandalism experienced by high proportion of car owners. Find out what to do if it happens, whether you should claim on your car insurance, and how to stop it from happening again.

What do I do if someone keyed my car? 

If your car has been keyed, you can and should report this to the police as an act of vandalism - remember to use the non-emergency number (101), not 999. If you plan on making a claim on your car insurance for the damage caused, you’ll need a crime reference number from the police. 

You’ll need to assess the damage done to decide on the next course of action - whether you want to leave it, repair it yourself, or take it to a professional who can do the best job. You should also inform your insurance provider, even if you don’t plan on making a claim, as it’s good to keep them updated as to any work or repairs your car requires.  


Getting your keyed car repaired 

If the damage resulting from your car being keyed isn’t too significant then you might consider tending to the repairs yourself with a DIY scratch-repair kit to reduce the visible damage. If the appearance doesn’t bother you then you could even consider leaving it - especially if it’s not particularly noticeable. 

However, for deep scratches it’s best to go to a professional - if metal is exposed then this could lead to rust or corrosion, so repairs will be required even if not for aesthetic reasons.  

The cost of repairing keyed car damage 

DIY scratch repair kits can cost anywhere between £10 and £40, but professional repairs are likely to cost more. Depending on the extent of the damage, you could end up paying from £90 for light surface repairs to £300 for deep paintwork repairs. 

Can I repair keyed car damage myself? 

For minor or light scratches you can repair the damage yourself, to an extent - however it’s unlikely to look as good as if a professional garage or body shop took care of it. If you’re looking to fix the bulk of the damage yourself, here’s how you can go about it: 

  1. Use warm soapy water to rinse the area free of any dirt or debris that could cause further scratching, then thoroughly dry it 

  2. Apply your scratch remover to a pad, cloth or other buffing tool - check if one is included with the scratch remover you bought. You’ll need around a 2p coin’s worth, but check the manufacturer guidelines to be sure 

  3. Use a circular motion to rub the scratch remover into the scratch, ensuring you maintain the same direction to evenly cover it 

  4. Clean any excess scratch remover with a microfibre cloth to prevent damage to paintwork 

Claiming on car insurance when your car is keyed 

If your car insurance policy covers damage from vandalism, you might be covered for keyed car damage. Some fully comprehensive car insurance policies offer this as standard or as an optional extra, while others don’t - and you’ll find third-party coverage won’t cover it at all. 

However, it may be worth considering whether you actually want to claim if someone keys your car. You should think about the following: 

  • Your excess payment: If the amount you need to pay in excess is more than or even close to the cost of repairs without claiming, it probably isn’t worth it 

  • The extent of the damage: For minor scratch damage you might want to skip the claim and fix it yourself - especially if the appearance of your car isn’t hugely important 

Does claiming for a keyed car affect my no-claims discount? 

You should contact your insurer directly to ask whether a claim for keyed car damage will affect your no-claims discount. There are no hard and fast rules - while some insurers will accept it wasn’t your fault, others may not be so understanding. 

Can I press charges on someone who keys my car? 

You can press charges on someone who keys your car, as this is an act of vandalism - which is a crime. However, this depends on you knowing who did it, which can be harder to determine. You should check for CCTV footage if available - you can ask local business owners or the local council but remember the request will usually need to come from your lawyer or insurance provider. 

Preventing your car from being keyed 

In some circumstances it can be hard to prevent anyone from being able to key your car, especially if you’re parking on the street. Here’s a list of suggestions that can help to lower the chances of it happening: 

  • If you can, park in a garage or gated carport  

  • If you’re parking on a public street, try to find somewhere well-lit and relatively busy 

  • Try to leave a reasonable amount of space between yourself and other vehicles to provide less cover for potential vandals 

  • Install home security like CCTVs, alarms and lights to deter criminals 

  • Apply a protective wrap or film to your car’s exterior paintwork to prevent damage 

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