Comprehensive Insurance Coverage
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What is Comprehensive Insurance?
Comprehensive car insurance helps cover repair and replacement costs caused by things other than a collision, such as a storm, flood, fire, vandalism, hitting an animal, falling trees, or theft.
Think of it as an extra layer of damage protection for your vehicle against events that are outside of your control.
Typically, if your car is paid off, comprehensive insurance is optional. If you're financing or leasing your car, your lender may require that you carry comprehensive coverage.
What does comprehensive car insurance cover?
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by:
- Fire or explosions
- Civil disobedience, like a riot
- Theft and associated damage
- Collisions with animals, like a deer
- Falling objects, such as rocks or tree limbs
- Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, and earthquakes
What isn't covered by comprehensive insurance?
- Damages to your car caused by a collision with another vehicle or object (except for collisions with animals)
- Damages to another person's car due to a collision
- Medical expenses, including injuries to yourself, passengers, or those in other vehicles
- Normal wear-and-tear costs, such as replacing worn tires and windshield wipers, or any mechanical issues
Does comprehensive car insurance cover glass or windshield replacement?
In general, most auto policies that include comprehensive insurance will provide some type of glass and windshield repair or replacement coverage. Some insurers may even waive your policy deductible for repairable glass damage, or offer free windshield repairs for small chips or cracks as these damages are easily repaired and can prevent having to replace a windshield.
Keep in mind, the extent of glass and windshield coverage, including deductibles that may apply, vary across insurers and states.
Common glass and windshield coverage examples include:
- An act of vandalism
- A tree branch falls on your windshield and damages it
- A baseball hits and cracks your car's windshield or glass
- While driving, a pebble hits your windshield and causes a crack, bullseye, or star break
- An animal crashes into your car and damages the glass or windshield
Customized coverage that protects your vehicle from the unexpected
Who is Comprehensive coverage right for?
- Those looking for maximum coverage on their car.
- If you lease or finance your vehicle, you may be required to purchase this coverage.
What are the benefits to Comprehensive coverage?
- You'll avoid out-of-pocket costs if your car is damaged after you've met your deductible.
- Compensation if your car is totaled.
What's the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?
Both comprehensive coverage and collision coverage help protect your car against losses and damages by covering the costs of vehicle repairs. Both coverages also have a deductible that must be met before repairs can be made.
The main difference is that comprehensive coverage pays for losses and damages to your car due to things other than accidents or collisions, while collision insurance covers damages due to a collision while on the road.
Situations where comprehensive insurance apply include:
- You hit an animal that results in damage to your car
- Your car is stolen
- Your car is damaged in a hailstorm
Situations where collision insurance apply include:
- Another vehicle hits your car
- You swerve to miss an animal and hit a fence
- Your car slides on ice and strikes a guardrail
- Someone causes damage to your car while it's parked and then drives off
Are comprehensive insurance and full coverage insurance the same thing?
No. In fact, full coverage auto insurance is not an actual policy, but an industry term that describes an auto insurance package that typically includes a combination of liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance, as well as any other coverages your state may require.
It's not uncommon for a full coverage auto insurance package to be described as having the ability to insure your car no matter what happens to it. But remember, no insurance policy can guarantee 100% coverage for every situation.
Should I get comprehensive insurance?
It depends. If you finance or lease your car, your lender will typically require you to carry comprehensive insurance. Once your car is paid off, comprehensive car insurance is typically optional.
However, you need to consider what you would do if a tree fell on your car or if it was stolen. Without comprehensive insurance, could you afford to replace your vehicle or pay for an expensive repair bill? If the answer is no, you should consider comprehensive insurance.
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How Comprehensive Insurance Coverage works
Should I get comprehensive insurance for an older car?
If you have an older car, you may be wondering if it's worth having the extra coverage comprehensive insurance provides. Again, it depends.
For example, if your car is worth $700 and you can afford to replace it if it's stolen, then comprehensive insurance may not be for you. On the other hand, if you prefer not to pay out-of-pocket to replace your car, and/or your vehicle model is still worth several thousand dollars, you may want to consider adding comprehensive insurance to your policy.
Are there other reasons to consider comprehensive coverage?
Other reasons to consider comprehensive insurance include owning a high-valued car, living in an area where vehicle theft is more prevalent, and/or living in a location where severe weather-related occurrences are common.
Comprehensive coverage can also help protect your vehicle while it's in storage and/or while it's parked and not being driven - including damage due to rodents.
As you can see, there are many situations where you may feel better protected having comprehensive coverage for your car - whether your finance company requires it or not.
How much does comprehensive car insurance cost?
How much you'll pay for comprehensive insurance depends on a number of factors that typically include:
- The amount of coverage your lender requires you to carry (if you finance or lease your car)
- The year, make, and model of your car
- The average number of miles you drive
- Your driving record
- Your credit score
- Your deductible
What kind of car insurance does my state require?
How much should my comprehensive deductible be?
Your deductible is the portion of costs you'll pay upfront for a covered claim. The ability to choose your deductible allows you to decide just how much financial responsibility you're willing to assume when it comes to repairing/replacing your car.
Most insurance companies offer a wide range of deductibles specifically for comprehensive coverage, from $50 to as much as $2,000, or possibly more. Just how much of a deductible you should select depends on what's right for you. In general, you should consider three things:
- How much your deductible choice affects your premium
- How much you can afford to pay out-of-pocket in the event of a covered claim
- The value of your vehicle
A lower deductible means you'll pay less out-of-pocket in the event of a covered claim. This can be cost-effective, especially if you're prone to smaller, more frequent comprehensive claims such as windshield chips/cracks. A lower deductible can be good choice if you don't have the readily available cash to pay for unexpected repairs out-of-pocket. For example, if you get hit with a $1,000 vehicle repair bill, can you immediately come up with the cash? Keep in mind, however, that a lower deductible may mean a higher premium.
Choosing a higher deductible for your comprehensive coverage may help you save money on your premium, but it means you'll be paying more out-of-pocket after an accident. When considering a higher comprehensive insurance deductible to save on premiums, you'll want to compare the costs of various deductible options.
For example, is there a significant difference in premium costs by going with a $250 deductible compared to a $500 deductible? What about the difference between a $750 deductible and a $1,000 deductible? You want to make sure the money you'll save on premiums will justify having to come up with the cash you'll need to cover an unexpected car repair.