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What is Comprehensive Insurance?

Comprehensive insurance (also known as “other than collision”) is a type of auto insurance that covers damage from causes other than collision. It covers events that are beyond your control, such as a flood, an animal on the road, or a fallen tree on the hood.

It is important to note that this coverage is optional and can be added to any other coverage you already have, such as liability insurance, in your car insurance policy. If your car is financed or leased, you’ve probably already covered at your lender’s request.

Whether you have this coverage or not, you need to understand how it can protect you and your vehicle.

What does comprehensive insurance cover?

Comprehensive coverage covers adverse situations that are beyond the car driver’s control. Some events may vary from one insurance company to another, and it is always worth checking item by item, but they are usually the following:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism, fire, riots and explosions
  • Civil disturbance, like a riot
  • Windshield and glass damage
  • Falling trees / branches and other objects
  • Rocks / objects kicked or falling from cars
  • Storms, hail, wind, floods, lightning, earthquakes and hurricanes
  • Animal accidents (hitting a deer)
  • Fire

What won’t it cover?

There is coverage for every kind of protection you need to have for your car, but in the case of comprehensive insurance, it does not cover:

  • Damage to your car due to a collision
  • Medical expenses
  • Court costs
  • Loss of income for you or your passengers if you miss work after an accident
  • Damage to someone else’s car due to a collision
  • Property stolen from your car

For example, if you hit a deer, the comprehensive kicks in, but if you dodge a deer and hit another car instead, the accident would have to be covered by collision coverage. See more about how insurance works if you hit a deer.

How does comprehensive coverage work?

To explain how this coverage works, take a look at this scenario:

1. A tree branch falls on your car. 

The branch dents the roof of your car and causes $5,000 in damage.

2. You file the claim.

A claim is a request for your insurer to pay for your losses.

3. Your car is repaired.

Let’s say the deductible is $1,000. You pay the $1,000 and your insurer would be responsible to pay the remaining $4,000.

The deductible defined at the time the insurance was purchased is what defines how much you will spend when you need to call the insurance.

Comprehensive vs. Collision

Although it is common to confuse comprehensive coverage with collision coverage, they are very different– complementary, but different. As we described above, comprehensive is “everything that is not a collision.” That is, comprehensive insurance covers events that are beyond our control, while collision covers traffic accidents.

To clarify: Neither coverage will cover medical expenses for an accident or damage to someone else’s vehicle if you have an accident.

Pros and Cons of Having Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive auto insurance protects you financially against theft, natural accidents and weather-related damage. This insurance means you won’t pay out of pocket if a tree falls on your car or if a thief steals your vehicle overnight.

There are downsides, however. If you have an accident, comprehensive insurance will not pay for the damage. And comprehensive insurance can be expensive if purchased along with collision insurance. If your vehicle is older and paid for, you can save money by not purchasing comprehensive coverage, especially if theft and weather-related events are not a concern where you live.

PROSCONS
– Protects you from theft.
– Covers weather related events.
– Covers break-ins.
– Replaces broken windshield wipers due to hail.
– If you own a new car and live in a high-crime area, comprehensive insurance will cover damage caused by break-ins or theft.
– It does not cover damage caused by collision.
– It may not be necessary for an older car with high mileage.
– It does not cover anything personal stolen from your car.
– It does not cover damage caused by potholes.

Do I need comprehensive coverage?

Since it is an optional coverage, the question about whether or not to include it in your auto insurance policy is a personal preference. However, the best thing to do is to understand the real risks your car is taking.

Ask the following questions:

1. Does my car lender require comprehensive coverage?

If you already rent or finance, or plan to do so, then it’s likely that comprehensive coverage is part of the requirement and you won’t be able to get your car without it.

2. How much is my car worth?

If the amount is less than what you would spend on insurance, this coverage may not be worth it.

3. Do I live in a densely populated area or with a high incidence of theft?

Cities with a larger population may also have more crimes you want protection from.

4. Are any natural disasters common in my region?

If you live in an area where fires are frequent or floods are common, for example, comprehensive coverage can save your car.

5. Can I afford to buy a new car?

If you’ve bought a car, you probably need it. If something happens that wrecks your car, would you be in the position to buy a new one entirely out of your pocket?

You need to consider the events and circumstances that covered by insurance and identify if they are risks that justify the added cost to your auto insurance policy.

Facts about comprehensive coverage:

  • 80% of drivers add comprehensive coverage
  • On average, comprehensive coverage costs $23 per month*
  • The most common deductible is $500*
  • Claims for damaged glass and deer accidents are the most common.

*These values are based on averages; the value for each driver can vary greatly as it takes into account many different factors.

But remember, if you forgo comprehensive coverage, you could end up with a garage bill all of your own. It is important to consider the costs of any potential repairs to what you can afford in terms of premiums or deductibles before making a decision.

Need to know the price of comprehensive coverage? Get an online car insurance quote and find out exactly how much it will cost in just minutes.

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