Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance is a coverage that helps pay to replace or repair your vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged in an incident that’s not a collision. Comprehensive typically covers damage from fire, vandalism or falling objects (like a tree or hail). If you’re financing or leasing your car, your lender likely requires comprehensive coverage. If you own your vehicle outright, it’s an optional coverage on your car insurance policy.

WHAT IS COVERED BY COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE?

Comprehensive helps cover damage to your car that’s not the result of a collision, such as:

Theft

Vandalism

Fire

Natural disasters (like a hurricane or a tornado)

Falling objects

Damage done to your car by animals

A civil disturbance (like a riot that results in damage or destruction of your car)

Comprehensive auto insurance infographic.

WHAT’S NOT COVERED

Damage to your car from a collision

Damage to another person’s vehicle from a collision

Your (or your passengers’) medical expenses after an accident

A suburban home.

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COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE DEDUCTIBLES AND LIMITS

When you purchase comprehensive coverage, you will select a set deductible, which is the amount you pay out of pocket toward a covered claim. Let’s say you choose a $500 deductible, and your car is later damaged by hail in a covered claim. If it costs $1,500 to repair your car, you would pay your $500 deductible, and your insurance would pay the remaining $1,000.

Comprehensive coverage has a limit, or the maximum amount your policy will pay toward a covered claim. The limit on comprehensive coverage is typically the actual cash value of your vehicle.

If your car is stolen, for example, your policy would reimburse you for your car’s depreciated value. In other words, if you wanted to replace your stolen vehicle with a newer make and model, you would likely have to use some of your own money to do so, in addition to using the reimbursement from your insurer.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLLISION AND COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE?

Collision coverage helps pay to repair your car if it’s damaged in a collision.

Comprehensive is a separate coverage from collision and covers different types of losses.

Comprehensive Insurance vs. Collision Insurance

Feature            Comprehensive Coverage      Collision Coverage

What’s Covered

Non-collision damage to your vehicle, such as:

Theft

Falling objects

Fire

Natural disasters

Animal damage

Damage to your vehicle from:

 

Collision with another vehicle

Collision with an object, such as a fence

Single-car rollover accidents

Deductible

Yes

Yes

Coverage Limit

Actual cash value

Actual cash value

Required or Optional?

Required if leasing or financing vehicle. Otherwise optional.

Required if leasing or financing vehicle. Otherwise optional.

What’s Not Covered

Damage to another person’s vehicle

Medical bills (yours, your passengers’, other drivers’, other passengers’)

Damage to another person’s vehicle

Medical bills (yours, your passengers’, other drivers’, other passengers’)

WHY BUY COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE?

If you’re wondering whether you should buy comprehensive coverage, here are a few considerations:

Comprehensive coverage may be required by your car’s lender.

If you’re leasing or financing your vehicle, your lender may require you to have comprehensive and collision coverage until the vehicle is paid off.

How old is your car and what is it worth?

If you have paid off your car, comprehensive coverage is optional. It may be a good idea to find out the Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle. Would you be able to pay that amount to repair or replace your vehicle if it were stolen or damaged in an accident? If you can’t afford to pay much out of pocket, then buying optional coverages, like comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, may be a smart investment.

How much are the annual premiums for comprehensive and collision coverage?

The Insurance Information Institute suggests that you take the amount you’d pay in one year for comprehensive and collision coverage, and multiply that number by 10. Is your car worth less than that number? Then comprehensive and collision coverage might not be a cost-effective option for you. In other words, you might want to talk to your agent about whether it makes sense to include these coverages on your car insurance policy.

What is Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive insurance coverage is one of the main coverages available as part of a car insurance policy.

Comprehensive is optional insurance protection you add to your basic car policy that provides you with coverage from damages that are not the result of a collision with another car.

Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage Examples:

Comprehensive coverage is a popular coverage that provides insurance from various sources of damage that can happen to your car, besides from a «car to car» accident.

Some examples are:

damage from theft

fire and explosion

vandalism

flying or falling objects

civil unrest or riot

Common Comprehensive Insurance Coverages

Comprehensive coverage also includes your glass and windshield, damage from weather conditions or natural disasters, like windstorm, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, hail, and flood.

Comprehensive coverage also includes damage to a vehicle caused as a result of a collision or damage from birds or an animal.

Is Comprehensive Coverage Mandatory or Required?Comprehensive coverage is not part of the state minimum requirement for automobile insurance.

However, if you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, the lender or finance company may require you to purchase full coverage for your vehicle, in which case they will require that you include comprehensive coverage.

When to Purchase Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

If you lease or have a loan for your vehicle, you will be required to purchase comprehensive insurance coverage, even though it may not be a requirement by minimum car insurance state laws.

The leasing or finance company will want to make sure your vehicle is fully insured during the time you still owe money on your vehicle.

Anytime your car has value, you will want to consider adding comprehensive insurance coverage.

Does an Old Car Need Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Sometimes people think that an older car does not need coverage for comprehensive because they don’t think it will be stolen.

However, remember that comprehensive covers many different risks, including:

windshield damage

fire

damage from weather events like hail.

These are very common causes of damage to cars that cost just as much to repair whether the car is new or old.

Comprehensive Coverage and Deductibles

Comprehensive coverage is usually sold with a deductible. You may usually choose the deductible, although the standard deductible for comprehensive coverages usually ranges from $100- $300.

Depending on the value of your car, or the cost of your insurance, you may also choose a higher deductible as a strategy to lower insurance costs. This strategy is usually a good consideration if you have a high-risk car or a high valued car.

Given that many people use the comprehensive coverage to repair or replace windshields, which do not cost a lot of money, you want to make sure you fully understand the implication of your deductible and that you can afford the cost of paying your deductible, or repairs that cost less than your deductible in the event of a claim.

Comprehensive Coverage and Glass Claims

Glass damage is usually included in comprehensive coverage on an automobile policy and would be subject to the comprehensive coverage deductible.

If your vehicle has minor damage to the glass and only requires a repair, some insurance companies do not require that you pay the deductible.

In some states, the laws regulate the application of a deductible on a comprehensive glass claim that only requires a repair as opposed to a replacement. Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina mandate the repair by comprehensive insurance coverage without a deductible because they have found that driving with damaged windshields is dangerous, this is an advantage of comprehensive coverage in these states. This being said, most insurance companies will waive the deductible in the case of a glass repair, so it is worth calling your agent or representative to know your conditions.

Some states, according to the Insurance Institute, may also offer endorsements for full glass coverage in addition to the comprehensive coverage, that allows the policyholder to opt for no deductible when there is a glass claim.

Do Comprehensive Coverage Claims Count as Responsible Accidents?Comprehensive coverage claims do not normally count as responsible accidents.

Responsible accidents would fall under the liability or collision portion of your auto insurance and not the comprehensive coverage section.

One confusing part of auto insurance comprehensive coverage which is unlike all the rest of the insured perils under comprehensive insurance is the coverage for hitting an animal.

If you hit a groundhog, squirrel, moose or even hit a deer with your car, hitting an animal is covered by the comprehensive coverage of your auto policy.

It is the rare occasion where you hit something while driving and it is not counted against you as a responsible accident. Most states, and insurance companies will not consider this kind of claim a responsible accident. Contact your insurance company to find out how they view this and make sure that there would not be other surcharges associated with a comprehensive claim.

Rental Cars and Comprehensive Car Coverage After Your Car Is Stolen or a Comprehensive Claim

Rental reimbursement coverage is an important part of coverage that only applies if you have it added to your policy as an endorsement. It is not included in comprehensive coverage.

If you want to have a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired due to a comprehensive claim, then you need to make sure that you have comprehensive coverage on your car and rental reimbursement coverage or loss of use coverage.

If you do not have comprehensive coverage, then the rental reimbursement coverage will not come into play because the damage isn’t covered.

Examples of Comprehensive Coverage and Claims

Emily parked her car on the street outside a friend’s building, during her visit the weather got bad, and she decided to stay the night instead of head home in the storm. The next morning when Emily went to leave she noticed the roof and hood of her car had huge welts in it. She figured it must have been caused by hail during the storm. She contacted her insurance company and they reassured her the loss would be taken care of by the comprehensive insurance coverage she selected when buying her policy although she would need to pay her $500 insurance deductible first.

Broken Windshield Claim and Comprehensive Coverage

Mark was driving on the highway and all of a sudden a rock hit the windshield and created a crack. As soon as Mark got home, he called his insurance representative and was told that he didn’t need to worry, he had comprehensive coverage which may help to repair or replace a broken or shattered windshield, he may only have to pay his deductible and the rest would be covered.

Hitting a Deer While Driving

Susan was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at her family cottage when suddenly she hit a deer. Thankfully she was okay, but her car was destroyed. She called the police to make an accident report, then called her insurance worried that this might not be fully covered. Her insurance representative reassured her, she has comprehensive insurance, so the damage would be covered under her policy.