Comprehensive Insurance

Consider comprehensive insurance to be like a container that holds most other events that may happen to your vehicle. Collision coverage focuses on collisions; liability coverage focuses on acts you are at fault for; in the same way, comprehensive insurance coverage protects you after instances such as accidents with animals, vandalism, theft, fire, acts of nature/weather, or glass and windshield damage.

You choose whether you’re covered or not. However, if you are leasing your vehicle, or your bank holds the title, such coverage may be required. Adding comprehensive coverage isn’t expensive.

Varieties of Insurance available

  • Liability-Only

    Vehicle liability insurance offers financial protection to someone who hurts someone else or damages their property while they are driving their vehicle.
  • Collision

    This insurance coverage helps to repair or replace your vehicle once it’s damaged in a collision with a tree, fence, or another vehicle.
  • Comprehensive

    This is coverage protecting you from damage not caused by an accident with another vehicle. Theft, vandalism, falling objects, and riot or civil unrest are covered.
  • Full Coverage

    This means you have bought several types of coverage to protect your property as well as the property of others. Full coverage insurance protects you financially.

What is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

This form of vehicle insurance covers damage from many incidents, such as weather or explosions. But it won’t cover damage from a rollover accident or collision. Think of it as covering most unforeseen events or even acts of nature/God.

This isn’t a mandatory coverage, though most people do buy it. If you are financing or leasing your vehicle, you may be required to purchase comprehensive coverage to keep the bank’s/leasing company’s investment safe.

If you have to file a claim against your comprehensive coverage, your insurance policy specifies what your deductible is. A deductible is a specific amount of money deducted from your claim. This can be from $500 up to $1,500+. The deductible amount identified in your policy is your financial responsibility when you file a claim. Your insurance company will cut a check and send it to you or to the body shop, less the deductible, to pay for repairs.

What Does it Cover?

Some people may mistake comprehensive coverage for “full coverage” when they buy a policy or try to file a claim. Comprehensive doesn’t pay for damages caused by a collision; nor will it pay for medical costs. Items covered are damage related to lightning strikes, flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes, along with the things already mentioned.

If you are parked at work and a hail storm starts suddenly over your city, comprehensive coverage pays to repair the body and damaged windows. If a tree limb (or an entire tree) falls on your car, it’s covered. Damage related to fire or explosions are covered; if you hit a dog or a deer, the damage to your car is covered; damage from an earthquake is covered; if someone vandalizes your car, this is covered; damage to your car from a riot is covered.

What Doesn’t it Cover?

The term comprehensive coverage may fool you into thinking that buying this form of coverage protects you financially from everything that can happen to your vehicle. However, this coverage is still limited. Collisions aren’t covered in this; collision coverage, a separate category, does pay for this type of damage. While you need and receive protection, you’ll still have to get collision coverage AND comprehensive in order to have “full coverage”.

Roadside assistance also isn’t covered. Additionally, comprehensive doesn’t cover lockout services, tire changes, charging or changing a battery, delivery of water, oil, or gas. Comprehensive coverage doesn’t reimburse for a rental vehicle. A separate part of your policy may cover rental should your car be unusable. Loss of personal property inside your vehicle also isn’t covered, though any broken windows should be.

Who Needs Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage isn’t required by your state. It’s optional. However, you are required to carry liability insurance as a part of your insurance package; this covers the cost of repairing someone else’s vehicle or medical care if you are found at fault in an accident. Your liability coverage doesn’t pay for damages to your vehicle.

If you choose a liability-only policy (which is required in most states), then your policy won’t pay for damages to your car after an accident. Nor will it pay for ‘act of God’ damage to your vehicle.

If you fall under one or more specific categories as a driver, then you should think about purchasing comprehensive insurance coverage:

  • An under-25 driver drives your vehicle
  • You are financing or leasing your vehicle (many lenders require this)
  • If your vehicle is totaled or stolen, you won’t be able to afford to replace it
  • Your address falls within an area marked by a high level of vandalism or theft
  • You live in an area vulnerable to severe weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, high winds, etc.)

Answer these questions to decide if comprehensive is a good choice:

  • How much do you want to avoid risk?
  • What is your car’s worth?

The Cost

It’s time to find out what the cost of comprehensive coverage. If you don’t want to risk a loss, this coverage protects you financially. The cost for coverage relies on your vehicle’s age, mileage, make, model, and your deductible. If your car is a newer model, it’s a good idea to purchase comprehensive, especially if replacing this vehicle after a loss would be too hard without the extra insurance.

On average, the annual cost is about $136. Though, you should keep in mind, this is an addition to your liability insurance, so you’ll continue paying for that, and add this coverage onto it.

What Doesn’t it Cover?

Many factors impact the cost of comprehensive coverage. Not every state allows every factor to be considered, but here is a run-down of the things which might affect how much you’ll pay.

  • Gender:

    younger men and older women pay more (not allowable in all states)
  • Age:

    Youth and inexperience means you pay more
  • Education:

    A college degree means your coverage costs less
  • Marital status:

    Married drivers pay less than single, widowed, separated, or divorced drivers
  • Your employment:

    People in certain occupations are charged more because of the higher likelihood they will file claims against their insurance - Consumer advocates are focusing on getting insurance companies to change this
  • Address:

    From state to state and even ZIP code to ZIP code, insurance rates can vary widely - Customers in cities pay higher premiums than their rural counterparts due to the higher likelihood of damage or accident
  • Rent or buy:

    Homeowners are more likely to receive price discounts, even if they don’t carry homeowners insurance
  • Credit history:

    Making timely payments on your bills also rewards you with lower premiums. Some insurance companies use insurance scores, which are similar to credit scores


Does Comprehensive Cover Medical Bills if a Tree Falls on My Car While I’m in it?

No. While comprehensive coverage is, well. . . “comprehensive,” it doesn’t cover everything, and it’s focus is damage to your vehicle. Even if you are hurt when a tree falls on your car, your comprehensive coverage won’t pay for your medical bills.

Does Comprehensive Cover the Cost if My Vehicle is Vandalized with Spray Paint, Keying or, Other Damage?

Yes. A policy with comprehensive coverage will pay a claim after your vehicle is vandalized via keying, spray painting, or other acts of vandalism.

Does Comprehensive Cover the Cost of Stolen Property if a Thief Breaks my Window and Makes Off with My Purse/Phone/Tablet?

No. While comprehensive coverage pays a claim related to vehicle damage resulting from a break-in, it won’t cover loss of personal items.

Does Comprehensive Cover the Costs if My Car is Damaged by Flooding or Fire?

Yes. Your comprehensive policy covers damage related to fire or flood damage. This coverage is intended to be an extra layer of protection for unanticipated events.

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