What is comprehensive car insurance coverage and what does it cover?

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage helps cover the cost of damages to your vehicle when you're involved in an accident that's not caused by a collision. Comprehensive coverage covers losses like theft, vandalism, hail, and hitting an animal. For example, if you are driving and hit a deer, the damage would be covered under comprehensive coverage. However, if you swerve to miss the deer and hit a tree, comprehensive coverage doesn't apply because this type of accident is considered a collision with an object.

Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage you can carry to help protect your vehicle. Unlike some coverages, you don't select a limit for comprehensive. The most it will pay is based on the actual cash value of your vehicle. You will be responsible for paying your selected deductible.

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What does comprehensive cover?

Comprehensive coverage covers damages to your vehicle in certain situations. It's sometimes referred to as "other than collision" coverage. All that means is that it may cover damages to your vehicle that collision coverage doesn't. This may include, but is not limited to, things like:

  • Theft
  • Glass breakage
  • Fire
  • Floods and hail
  • Hitting an animal

What damage is not covered by comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage does not cover damages caused by hitting another vehicle or object. These incidents are covered under collision coverage. It will also not cover normal wear and tear on your vehicle. Normal wear and tear includes items that normally need to be replaced over time from usage such as:

  • Belts and hoses
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers

Comprehensive Coverage vs. Collision Coverage

Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage can be used to help repair the damages caused to your vehicle in an accident. Both coverages have a deductible you are responsible for paying before the coverage starts covering the damage. The coverages differ in the situations in which they apply.

Comprehensive coverage applies when:

  • Your car hits a deer
  • Someone steals your vehicle
  • Your car is damaged in a hailstorm

Collision coverage applies when:

  • You swerve to miss a dog and hit a fence
  • Another vehicle hits your vehicle
  • You have a single car loss with damage to the vehicle

Why should you buy comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage:

  • Can be used no matter who's at fault
  • Helps pay for repairs, over your deductible, so you're not stuck paying the entire bill on your own
  • Is required by most lienholders along with collision coverage. This helps to protect their interest in the vehicle.

What is a comprehensive deductible?

A comprehensive deductible is the amount you've agreed to pay before the insurance company starts paying for damages. You can think of it as how much of the financial risk you're willing to take on if you're in an accident. Typically, the more risk you're willing to take (higher deductible), the lower your insurance cost would be. The less risk (lower deductible), the higher your insurance costs would be.

Let's say there's a bad hailstorm in your area and your vehicle has $1,000 in damage. You have a $100 deductible on your comprehensive coverage. You'll pay the first $100, and then your insurance company will pay the remaining $900 of the vehicle repair bill. If you have an older vehicle, you may want to consider whether you need comprehensive coverage as it is normally limited to the actual cash value of your car.

Please note:

The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages. These descriptions do not refer to any specific contract of insurance and they do not modify any definitions, exclusions or any other provision expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. We encourage you to speak to your insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.