What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?Comprehensive car insurance is often lumped together with collision car insurance in an auto insurance policy. An insurance provider may categorize comprehensive insurance, along with collision and fire/theft coverage, under the physical damage portion of a car insurance package.
Comprehensive car insurance covers damage caused outside of a car accident.
Areas of comprehensive insurance coverage include:
Personal items in a vehicle
Comprehensive coverage works hand-in-hand with collision coverage to fully protect your vehicle.
Paid Losses by Type: Texas 1999-2011
You may need comprehensive insurance if:
- You are paying off a brand-new vehicle that requires full coverage car insurance.
- You are leasing a vehicle that requires full coverage car insurance.
- You want to protect your vehicle from damage, outside of a collision.
- You already have a collision insurance policy and want full-coverage protection.
Comprehensive insurance coverage is beneficial for non-accident damages that can rack up substantial repair expenses for your vehicle.
Many drivers are surprised to find that common vehicle-related damages can often fall under the umbrella of collision coverage instead of comprehensive coverage.
- For example, a comprehensive claim may be filed if you hit a deer. However, if you swerve to miss the deer and hit a guardrail or tree – it falls under the category of collision car insurance. Those costs will usually be higher and could cause your premium to increase.
- Another potential comprehensive insurance claim may involve a hit-and-run accident. If your vehicle was damaged when parked on the street, you must first prove that you weren’t at fault. After you file a police report for the hit-and-run incident, your insurance claims adjuster may determine that the damage was caused by weather related activity, i.e. slick roads, but it will fall under the category of a collision claim.
- Comprehensive car insurance coverage can also be advantageous to reimburse the cost of glass replacement if a rock breaks your windshield when driving on the highway. If your vehicle is stolen, comprehensive insurance will cover the cost of replacement in full based on the actual cash value of your car.
NICB’s Top 10 Cities for Auto Thefts, 2009-2011
- Theft Rate
|San Fransisco-Oakland- Fremont, Calif.|
In a nutshell, it pays to have comprehensive coverage for all of those “what if” scenarios.If your vehicle is damaged outside the parameters of a car accident by a falling object, fire, vandalism, or what have you, comprehensive insurance will foot the bill.
What Comprehensive Car Insurance Does Not Cover
Once you discover what comprehensive car insurance does cover, it’s fairly easy to distinguish the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage.
Comprehensive car insurance may also be referred to as “other than collision” coverage.
If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, you may feel like you have it all. But not so fast… Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t literally “cover it all” outside of an accident.
Comprehensive insurance may have certain gaps in coverage and will not provide for:
- Tire changes
- Towing/roadside assistance
- Rental car reimbursement
- Personal property coverage
- Vehicle upgrade reimbursement, i.e. GPS navigation systems
Is Comprehensive Insurance Worth the Money?
Comprehensive car insurance coverage may seem like a wonderful benefit to have, but the final determining factor is often its price tag.
Comprehensive coverage will cost more for a newer or more expensive vehicle.
A lower deductible means a higher insurance premium.
How to Tell If Comprehensive Car Insurance Is Right for You
There are two specific instances when you may benefit from comprehensive insurance:
Your lender or lease holder requires comprehensive coverage on your vehicle.
- If you are leasing or paying off a loan on a new car, comprehensive insurance is often mandatory. It makes sense.
- If you owe money on a vehicle loan or lease, your lender doesn’t want you to get stuck in a tough spot where you can’t afford to pay for costly repairs or replacement of a car, causing you to default on the loan. Comprehensive insurance will protect both you and the lender from unforeseen damages, unrelated to an accident.
You own an older, high-value car.
- If your older vehicle has depreciated significantly in value, the cost of comprehensive insurance may not be worth the price of the premium.
- However, if you have an older car with a high value, such as a classic car, comprehensive insurance would be advantageous to protect against hail damage, vandalism, etc.
- Also, if you have an older car but don’t have enough money in the bank to pay for its repair, comprehensive insurance makes sense.
A comprehensive coverage policy is recommended for those that want to protect against the unexpected.
- Opfer, Chris. “HowStuffWorks “What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?”.” HowStuffWorks “Business & Money”. Web. 10 July 2013.
- MacDonald, Jay. “Car Insurance: When Not To Skimp | Bankrate.com.” Mortgage Rates Credit Cards Refinance Home CD Rates by Bankrate.com. Web. 10 July 2013.