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'My car was scratched while being washed in a car park - who pays?'

This very much depends on the car insurance you have.

According to a study by Gocompare.com, the comparison site, of 237 comprehensive car insurance policies on the market, just under half insure your vehicle for damage caused whilst it is in the care of a valet, which may or may not include car washing companies.

As a result, you cannot automatically assume you'll be covered.

Businesses like car washes or valet parking companies should typically have their own insurance to cover customers against any mishaps, said Matt Oliver, car insurance expert at Gocompare. He said: "The amount of liability a business is willing to accept for your vehicle can vary significantly, and some may not cover any damage or theft of items from your car at all."

If you want to recover the costs of repairing the damage caused to your car, there are a number of different basis on which you might claim against the car washing company, such as breach of contract or negligence.

"An alternative claim might be against the operators of the car park on the basis that the car washing company was acting on their behalf, assuming the company was authorised to operate in the car park," said Richard Bagwell, partner at Foot Anstey, a law firm.

"With any claim, you will have to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the damage was caused by the company, or if it was not done by the company, when the car was in their care. This means that you will need evidence to prove that the damage took place within the two hours you left the car.

"Unless the company is willing to admit that it caused the damage, you should look to see if there is any objective evidence of what happened, such as CCTV footage. Without objective evidence, a Court will have to decide, on balance, whether the damage did take place."

In FK's case, she will have to check with her insurer to see if she is covered for the damage, as the company is unlikely to pay up once the person has left the car park. This is because the firm could claim that the damage was done in the intervening time after the vehicle left the car park.

Remember that any claim for repairs will also affect a motorist's claims history, and future premiums may be affected because of this.

If the insurer doesn't cover the damage, the cost will fall to the motorist. Usually, scratches on vehicle bodywork can be repaired for around £60-70.

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