Auto Insurance

Comprehensive vs. Collision Car Insurance

Comprehensive insurance pays to fix damages to your vehicle caused by acts of God, while collision pays for colliding with anything other than an animal. Sometimes it is beneficial to carry one or the other, and other times both.

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Two optional coverage options on your auto insurance policy are collision and comprehensive insurance, both of which cover damage repairs to your vehicle.

While these two coverages are not included in state minimum requirements, they may benefit you if you are in an accident or something unforeseen happens to your vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage is for natural damages, also referred to as “acts of God,” while collision is for colliding with anything other than an animal.

Repairing a vehicle can get very expensive after an accident, especially if underlying damage is not seen with the naked eye. Consider adding comprehensive and/or collision to your policy to avoid a financial burden.

Comprehensive vs. Collision Car Insurance At a Glance

Collision coverage is provided when you are in an accident, regardless of fault for damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive covers incidents such as hitting an animal, glass breakage, or weather-related incidents. 

Collision InsuranceComprehensive Insurance
CoveragesColliding with anything other than an animal where you are at fault. A hit and run to your car would also be covered here. Acts of God such as a tree falling on the car, glass breakage or hitting an animal. Also covers fire, theft, and vandalism. 
Mandatory?Not required by states, but may be required by lenders if you have an auto loan or are leasing a vehicleNot required by states, but may be required by lenders if you have an auto loan or are leasing a vehicle

Understanding Comprehensive Insurance

While the word “comprehensive” may sound like it covers everything based on the true definition, this is not the case. Comprehensive insurance primarily covers incidents such as windshield breakage, hitting a deer, a flood, a fire, or even a tree falling on your vehicle. 

Let’s say you hit a deer, and the damage is pretty severe but not enough to be totaled. The insurer will pay to repair your car, minus your deductible if you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy. In many windshield claims, sometimes your deductible will be waived if it can be repaired. 

What Does Comprehensive Insurance Cover?

It’s important to note that different insurers will have different inclusions and exclusions. For example, some will waive your deductible on glass claims, some will not. Typically, the following will be included:

  • Weather – Weather events like hail storms and hurricanes may be covered under comprehensive insurance. Also, flooding may be covered here as well. 
  • Glass – A broken windshield from a rock is common and may be repaired under comprehensive coverage. If your neighbor hits a baseball into your driver’s window, that may be covered here too.
  • Falling objects – Trees are notorious for falling on cars. Even items in your overpacked garage can fall and damage your vehicle. 
  • Theft or vandalism – While this may not be as common, theft and vandalism may still be covered under comprehensive insurance.
  • Fire – Even if your car is in the garage and your house catches on fire, it may be covered under comprehensive insurance rather than homeowners insurance.
  • Animals – Depending on where you live, the chance that you may hit an animal could be high, but thankfully this type of incident may be covered under comprehensive insurance.
  • Riots – Cities tend to have this issue more than anywhere else. But, if your car is damaged in a riot or civil commotion, coverage may be provided. 

Not Covered By Comprehensive Insurance 

You may hear comprehensive insurance called “other than collision,” so it can be easy to remember that damages sustained in a collision will not be covered here.

If you suffer any injuries with a comprehensive claim, your medical bills will not be paid under comprehensive coverage but instead under medical payments. If anyone else is injured, that would be covered under your bodily injury liability coverage, which is required by each state. 

Advantages of Comprehensive Car Insurance

  • Comprehensive coverage ensures you may be reimbursed for severe damage or theft to your car.
  • Comprehensive insurance ensures that if your windshield is damaged, it can be repaired or replaced promptly, sometimes with no out-of-pocket expense from you. If you drive a lot, this is a huge benefit. 
  • You may not always have spare change lying around to fix repairs, and while you may be able to try your best to prevent a collision, events covered under comprehensive insurance are often out of your control, so it’s a good idea to have this insurance to fall back on.

Understanding Collision Car Insurance

The collision coverage on your auto insurance policy will pay for the damages to your car when you collide with anything other than an animal. This means any other object or car. It also includes if your car rolls over or you have the unfortunate bad luck of a hit-and-run driver. 

If you rear end, someone, that would be a collision claim to fix your vehicle. Your claim will be subject to a deductible you choose when you begin your policy, often $500 or $1,000.  

What Does Collision Insurance Cover?

You must know what your insurance policy covers, which can vary from one insurance company to another. Pay attention to all exclusions noted on your policy. That being said, most collision insurance will cover the following:

  • Objects – With the number of distractions we have these days, hitting an object is not unheard of. Telephone poles, trees, and even some mailboxes can do quite a bit of damage.
  • Buildings – Flying through the drive-through to grab lunch and hit the building? That may be covered under collision insurance.
  • Rolling/Flipping – A very scary scenario to consider, but collision may pay for the damages to your vehicle if you roll or flip. The chance that it will be totaled and you may need a new car will be high in this case. 
  • Roads – Many people have hit a curb or pothole by accident. This situation may also be covered by your collision protection on your auto insurance policy. 
  • Cars – Damage to your car by another, regardless of fault, may be covered. It’s important to note, though, that if someone else is at fault, you should try to put the claim in on their policy, so you don’t have to pay your deductible. If you use your insurance, they can try to subrogate, meaning that the at-fault person’s insurance will reimburse the deductible you paid.

Not Covered By Collision Insurance

There are some things that may not be covered under collision insurance, and typically coverage for those things will be found somewhere else on your policy. Hitting a deer, fire damage, and attempted theft of your car causing a broken windshield would all be excluded from collision but covered under comprehensive.

Injuries to drivers or passengers of a car you hit would be excluded from collision. Your bodily injury liability coverage part would pay for those damages. 

Advantages of Collision Car Insurance

  • Hit-and-run – Unfortunately, some drivers out there will not be honest and find you if they hit your unattended vehicle. Carrying collision insurance is most beneficial in these cases, so you can get your car repaired without tracking down that person, which is often impossible. 
  • Speed – Dealing with your insurance carrier can be quicker and easier than dealing with another person’s insurer. Using the other driver’s insurance company can delay things because they must determine fault and assess the damage. Collision coverage ensures that regardless of fault, you can get your car fixed promptly. After all, we rely on our vehicles so much that it is hard to be without one, even for a short time. 

Things to Consider When Deciding Between Comprehensive and Collision Car Insurance

When deciding between comprehensive and collision, or even if you should carry both, there are quite a few factors to consider. The first is budget. If you cannot afford both, choose the one that makes the most sense regarding your driving habits and what may cost more financially without insurance coverage. 

Another factor to consider is the age of your vehicle. Older vehicles may not have available parts, or they may be cheaper to fix, and therefore you may not necessarily need to carry both coverages or any at all. 

You Should Consider Comprehensive Insurance:

  • Loan/lease – Often, if you finance or lease a car, the lender will require that you carry both comprehensive and collision coverage. That way, they have the assurance the loan will be paid if there is an accident.
  • Crime – If you live in a high-crime area and there is a chance your vehicle will be stolen or vandalized, you should have comprehensive insurance.
  • Weather – Living in an area prone to weather events is a good indicator that you should carry comprehensive insurance on your auto policy. Whether tornados, hurricanes, or even bad thunderstorms producing hail, they can cause severe damage. 

You Should Consider Collision Insurance:

  • Commute – If you have a long commute, you should consider collision because your risk factor for a claim is higher than someone who may work remotely. You are on the road more and more likely to be involved in an accident. 
  • Value – A newer car will have a higher value than an older car (not considering classics and antiques) and would warrant collision coverage due to the cost of repairs. Plus, if you have a loan on your vehicle, the bank will likely require this coverage for their peace of mind. 
  • Affordability – You simply do not have the funds for repairs. Insurance will be more affordable than a claim you have to pay out of pocket, more often than not.