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Compare collision coverage
Pay for your own car's damage when you're at-fault in the accident.
If you’re at fault in an accident, you need separate collision coverage on car insurance rather than liability to pay for your own vehicle’s damage. Despite the extra premium, many drivers can benefit from coverage — albeit with a few exceptions. That’s because the cost of coverage repays itself several times over if your car suffers extensive damage or needs total replacement.
What is collision coverage?
Collision insurance is a type of car insurance coverage that pays for physical damage to your own car, including repairs or replacing a totaled vehicle. It kicks in when you cause the car accident up to the maximum payout limit you chose on your policy.
What does collision insurance cover?
If you have collision coverage, you’ll be covered for most of the costs that come up. For example, you may need your car fixed or replaced after these types of accidents:
- You’re involved in a collision with another vehicle
- You’re involved in a collision with a stationary object
- Your car is rolled or flipped
What does collision insurance exclude?
Collision coverage doesn’t cover costs for damage to other people’s property. You’ll need property damage liability insurance for that. It also doesn’t pay for others’ medical expenses — only bodily injury liability coverage will reimburse those expenses.
Also, any damage classified as acts of God or nature is excluded from collision insurance. This might include a tree hitting your car or an angry mob vandalizing your vehicle. You may need comprehensive coverage to pay those costs.
Do I need collision insurance?
Many drivers benefit from this optional protection — a few hundred dollars per year could save thousands if your car needs extensive repairs or total replacement. But collision coverage can be an unnecessary cost in some situations, especially for accident-free drivers.
Weigh a few factors to determine whether you should buy collision coverage:
- Consider your car’s value. You might be paying more than it’s worth if you’re protecting a low-value beater car. Instead, you could find out your car’s value, then see if the cost of coverage and your deductible totals a hefty portion of that value. If so, you might nix coverage to save more money for a different car or other financial goals.
- Factor in your finances. Consider whether you can pay for car repairs, another car or get by without a second car if the worst happens. If you can’t shoulder the emergency cost of another car, you might need this coverage even on a low-value vehicle.
- Keep your mileage in mind. You might consider forgoing coverage on a hobby car you ride on the weekend or any cars you don’t drive often. The lower mileage means you’re at less of a risk for getting in an accident.
- Reassess after paying off your loan. If you’re financing your car, you probably need collision coverage. But set a reminder to figure out your coverage needs after zeroing out that loan.
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How much does collision coverage cost?
Collision coverage typically costs around $290 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Your actual premium will vary based on a number of factors. Your age, driving record, the type of car you drive, where you live, gender and even your credit score can affect how much you pay. And even those factors vary by state.
Is collision insurance required?
If you’re still paying your car loan off or you’re leasing your ride, the lender will likely require you to have collision coverage. This is because it has a vested interest in the vehicle, and want to see it paid off or returned.
Currently no states legally require you to carry collision coverage. But if your car is worth more than you can comfortably replace, it may be a good idea to have collision coverage, even if you’re not obligated to keep it by a lender.
Does collision insurance have a deductible?
As with most insurance types, collision coverage comes with a deductible. You’ll choose your deductible when you’re buying this insurance. Then if an accident happens, you’ll pay this amount first before your insurance company kicks in to repair or replace your car.
To decide what your deductible should be, weigh how much car repairs might cost against how much you’d want to pay out of your own pocket. The higher you set your deductible, the less your insurance premiums should cost.
Stop sign setbackWhile cruising in his car, Isaac misses a stop sign and rams into another vehicle in the intersection.
Both Isaac’s car and the other vehicle are in rough shape, so repairs are definitely in order. Isaac’s liability insurance will cover the costs for the other party. Meanwhile, Isaac’s collision insurance will help him with his costs — luckily so, as his bill comes out to $4,500. After Isaac pays his $500 deductible, his insurance covers the remaining $4,000.
With collision coverage, you won’t be blindsided by a massive car repair bill. After you pay your deductible, your collision coverage will absorb the rest of the cost.
You can soften the blow of a steep repair bill by adding collision to your existing car insurance coverage. But don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price. You can find coverage that works for you by comparing providers using our insurance comparison tool.
Frequently asked questions about collision insurance
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