Get comprehensive coverage to protect yourself from car damage that’s beyond your control.
Unlike what the term implies, comprehensive coverage doesn’t insure you for everything. Comprehensive typically kicks in for anything other than collision. Think of comprehensive car insurance as protection against some of the more unexpected damages to your car.
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What does comprehensive coverage include?
Hitting another vehicle or object isn’t the only way your car can be damaged. Comprehensive coverage protects you from unusual incidents that are difficult to control or prevent. Comprehensive coverage insures against damages not within your control, such as:
- Vandalism and theft
- Weather-related incidents
- Damage from animals
- Natural disasters
- Explosions and fire
- Glass damage
- Falling objects
Do I need comprehensive coverage?
Unlike liability insurance, you’re not required to have comprehensive coverage regardless of the state you live in. Whether you should buy comprehensive coverage depends on how much you want to be insured against.
Consider adding comprehensive in these scenarios.
- You finance your car. Financed cars are typically required by lenders to have comprehensive and collision coverage.
- You live in a neighborhood that is often targeted for car theft.
- Your city has a high incidence of animal collisions, especially deer or other large animals that could cause massive damage to your car.
- Your area has the potential for severe storms, like hail storms, flooding or tornadoes.
How much does comprehensive coverage cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, comprehensive coverage costs an average of $134 a year when added to your existing policy. Many insurers also offer roadside assistance for free with comprehensive coverage, which is an added plus.
The best way to find the cheapest comprehensive policy is to compare rates from a few providers. Take a look at how much you can expect to pay for car insurance with comprehensive coverage for sample drivers in California.
What isn’t covered by comprehensive?
- Hit-and-run. You’ll need collision to be covered in a hit-and-run.
- Rental car. A separate coverage is needed for rental car reimbursement.
- Car crash. Whether you are at fault or the other driver is, a car crash is covered by collision, not comprehensive.
Comprehensive typically covers you for anything other than an accident. You’ll need other types of insurance for everything else. For example, liability insurance pays for damages you may have caused to another driver in an accident, and collision coverage covers your car repair bill. When you combine liability, comprehensive and collision, you get what’s called full coverage car insurance that covers you from almost any kind of car damage.
Does comprehensive come with a deductible?
Comprehensive coverage comes with a deductible. You’ll choose how much you want your deductible to be when you’re buying insurance. To decide, weigh how much car repairs would cost against how much you’d want to pay out of your own pocket. The higher you set your deductible, the lower your insurance premiums will be.
Case study: Comprehensive coverage in action
You always park your car on the street after coming home from work. One night, a tree falls on your car, smashing the hood of your car. You’re now stuck with a repair bill of $5,000. Luckily, you have comprehensive coverage. After you pay your $500 deductible, your insurance covers the additional $4,500 for your car repair.
Comprehensive vs third party liability
Liability insurance encompasses two parts: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Here’s how liability works: If you’re at fault in an accident, you’re liable for the cost of damages to someone else’s property, as well as the cost of medical care the other driver might incur. Liability does not cover any expenses that you incur.
While liability covers the cost of injury to other drivers and their property, comprehensive ensures that you’re covered for the expense of replacing or repairing your own vehicle and damages that aren’t within your control. Some situations that are covered under comprehensive include natural disasters, fire and theft.
- Covers you in the event of vandalism or theft
- Covers you for the costs of damages that aren’t within your control
- Provides the above coverage regardless of who is at fault
- Does not cover damage to your car from a collision
- You’ll have to pay a deductible
- Covers damage to someone else’s property
- Covers the cost of injury you cause to another person, including medical care, legal help and funeral costs
- Does not come with a deductible
- Does not cover any damage to your own car
- Does not cover any of your medical expenses
- Provides only the minimum amount of coverage
Comprehensive coverage offers protection against noncollision auto damage. It can offer peace of mind knowing you’re covered when the unexpected happens. To find the best price, compare different providers.