Both comprehensive and collision coverage pay for repairs to your car, but each one covers different types of accident situations. Before buying either insurance coverage, consider which situations you need protection for, the deductibles you’ll pay before your policy kicks in and the cost of comprehensive versus collision coverage.
What's in this guide?
- What is comprehensive insurance vs. collision?
- What's covered by comprehensive vs. collision insurance?
- Comprehensive vs. collision deductibles
- How much is comprehensive and collision insurance?
- When do I need comprehensive vs. collision coverage?
- Compare car insurance with comprehensive or collision coverage
- Bottom line
- Common questions about comprehensive and collision coverage
What is comprehensive insurance vs. collision?
Comprehensive coverage protects you from damage caused by events other than collisions that you have little control over, like theft, vandalism or flood damage. This coverage pays out to repair or replace your own car, instead of damage to someone else’s vehicle or for injuries. Comprehensive coverage is optional, but most auto loans require it in order to finance your car.
Collision coverage pays for your own car’s damage if you hit another car or object like a pole. In these at-fault accidents, your liability coverage pays for damage to other cars or for other people’s medical bills. But collision takes care of the repairs to or replacing of your car. Like comprehensive, collision coverage is optional, but most auto loans require this protection for financing.
What’s covered by comprehensive vs. collision insurance?
You can decide whether you need comprehensive or collision coverage on your policy, based on what each type of coverage protects.
|Hitting an animal|
|Hitting an object, like a pole|
|Hitting another car|
|Single car accident (like swerving off the road)|
|Medical bills for you, passengers, pedestrians or other drivers|
Extras included when you buy collision or comprehensive
While many insurance companies stick with the items covered above, a few provide extra coverage if you buy comprehensive or collision.
- Roadside assistance. Some standout companies include roadside services like towing, battery jumpstarts and lockouts included with comprehensive coverage. Or they may require both comprehensive and collision to add this to your policy.
- Towing. Rather than a full suite of roadside service, some companies offer towing if you have both types of coverage.
- Rental car reimbursement. Many companies require comprehensive and collision if you’d like rental car coverage after an accident.
- Pet injury. This add-on may require both coverage types, so you can take care of your car and cherished pet at the same time.
Comprehensive vs. collision deductibles
Your comprehensive coverage will come with a deductible that you have to pay before your insurance company pays for any repairs or car replacement. Common deductible options are $250, $500 or $1,000, although you can find higher deductibles with some companies. If you have a $500 deductible and a storm causes $1,200 in damage, you’ll pay $500 and your insurer will pay the other $700.
Your collision coverage deductible works the same way with deductible options typically going from $250, $500, $1,000 or $1,500. If you have a $500 deductible and your car needs $2,000 for repairs after hitting a pole, you’ll pay $500 and your insurer will pay $1,500.
It’s important to note that these deductibles are separate. Let’s say you buy both comprehensive and collision coverage, each with a $500 deductible. If you hit a pole and a hailstorm damages your car the same day, you’ll pay $500 for the damage from the pole and another $500 for hail damage before insurance kicks in.
How much is comprehensive and collision insurance?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, comprehensive brings on a yearly cost of $134 and collision costs $290. Keep in mind that you’ll need to choose a deductible with each coverage, which is the amount you pay after an accident before your insurance covers the damage.
When do I need comprehensive vs. collision coverage?
You could benefit from comprehensive coverage if:
- You have a car loan or lease. Your car loan or leasing contract might require you to get extra coverage to protect the lender’s investment in your car.
- You want full coverage. Full coverage is an insurance term that means you have your state’s minimum insurance, plus comprehensive and collision coverage. This provides wide protection for the most common physical damage scenarios.
- Harsh weather is common where you live. You may want the added protection for areas prone to floods, hail, wind or other weather-related damage.
- Your area has high crime rates. You might opt for comprehensive if you live in an area prone to theft or natural disasters. Or you might need collision if your area has many accidents or high traffic, such as major cities.
- You can’t afford to pay out of pocket. You might not want to take a hit if a storm or theft situation involves expensive repairs or you need to replace your car.
You might want collision coverage if:
- You have a car loan or lease. Your loan or leasing contract will require you to get this extra coverage.
- You live in a high-traffic area. You could have a higher chance for car accidents if you drive in heavy traffic regularly.
- You drive a lot. If you drive many miles for work or travel, you face a bigger likelihood for getting in an accident along the way.
- You own a newish ride. You want your new or luxury car to get the valuable care it needs, plus get peace of mind about replacing it if it’s totaled.
- You want full coverage. Full coverage means you bought your state-required car insurance, plus comprehensive and collision coverage. This provides the widest protection for your car’s physical damage.
- You can’t afford to pay out of pocket. You might need the extra protection if you couldn’t shoulder expensive repairs or a new car after an at-fault accident.
When to drop comprehensive or collision insurance
Many drivers can benefit from comprehensive and collision, but not every driver needs both types. The decision to drop one or both isn’t straightforward since it depends on your situation. Consider forgoing coverage in these situations:
- You paid off your car loan. You’re no longer required by a lender to keep extra coverage because you own your car outright. You can decide to drop one or both comprehensive and collision coverage.
- You live on a limited income. You need to make room in your budget for other needs. However, consider keeping collision coverage if you can’t pay out of pocket after an accident.
- You don’t drive much. You have less risk of getting into a collision if you don’t drive much throughout the year. If so, you might consider dropping collision coverage.
- You drive an old clunker. Your well-loved car might not be worth the value of comprehensive or collision coverage anyway. Collision coverage costs more than comprehensive, but collisions are more of a risk for most drivers. That knowledge may play into your decision for dropping comprehensive or collision.
- Your coverage costs more than the car. You might not want extra coverage if the insurance and deductible costs a sizable portion of your car’s value. For example, if you own a car worth only $5,000, paying $300 per year for collision and another $1,000 for a deductible would cost about a third of the car’s value.
Compare car insurance with comprehensive or collision coverage
For a minimal added cost, comprehensive or collision coverage can protect many drivers from a variety of damage. If you do choose to add one or both types of coverage, compare multiple insurance providers to get the best benefits and value.
Common questions about comprehensive and collision coverage
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