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If you drive a car, having the right car insurance policy is imperative. You can choose from different types of car insurance, including comprehensive coverage.
Although sometimes used interchangeably, comprehensive and collision insurance are two different types of optional coverage. It is important to understand the distinction when purchasing car insurance.
You should know this about an all-risk car insurance policy:
What is all-risk car insurance?
Comprehensive insurance is an optional type of auto insurance designed to protect your own vehicle against damage or loss from events other than auto accidents (for example, a tree falling on your windshield). Comprehensive coverage can help cover the cost of repairing or even replacing your vehicle after a covered incident (any event covered by your auto insurance policy).
While most states require driver’s liability coverage, comprehensive auto insurance is usually optional. You can buy it for an additional cost, but unlike liability coverage, there are no set policy limits to choose from. Instead, your limit is usually the actual cash value of your vehicle.
What does comprehensive car insurance cover?
Comprehensive auto insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by a number of non-collision events. Some common reasons for claims covered by comprehensive insurance include:
- Natural disasters (such as floods and earthquakes)
- To burn
- Damage caused by animals
- Falling objects (hail, fallen trees, stones, etc.)
- Hitting an animal
Learn more: Full Coverage Car Insurance: What Does It Include?
So if a bear gets into your car at a campground and wrecks the interior while looking for snacks, you’re probably covered. The same goes if a flying ball goes rogue during your kid’s Little League game and smashes your windshield.
What does the all-risk insurance exclude?
Your comprehensive insurance does not cover everything. Here are some events that your coverage typically excludes:
- Accidents with another vehicle or object: If you crash into something, such as another vehicle, a mailbox or even a telephone pole, your comprehensive coverage will not cover the damage. Instead, you must make a claim against your own collision coverage (if you have it) or the other driver’s insurance if they are responsible for the accident.
- Normal wear and tear: Comprehensive coverage does not cover damage resulting from normal wear and tear, such as worn tires.
- Damage to someone else’s property: Comprehensive insurance will not pay for the damage of others, whether you hit another car, a pedestrian or even someone else’s personal property. Instead, their costs for bodily injury and/or property damage are usually covered by your liability insurance, assuming you are at fault.
How does extended coverage work?
If you have damage that qualifies for compensation from the airframe cover, you must submit a claim to your own insurance. The steps for this process vary by insurer, but in general you do the following:
- Document the damage. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and make notes that may be helpful to your insurance company. You may need this for your claim.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim. You can call your auto insurer to begin the claim process, or you can do this using your insurer’s mobile app, if they have one. You will probably have to make a statement explaining what happened. Your insurance agent can walk you through the rest of the claims process.
- Get repair estimates. Your insurance company may ask you to take your vehicle to a body shop for a repair estimate. After the shop submits the estimate to your insurance company, your insurer will review it and determine how much to pay for repairs.
- Pay your deductible. If your insurance company approves your claim, you’ll have to pay your deductible — the portion of the repair cost you must pay before your insurance takes effect. You pay this amount directly to the repair shop or your insurer will deduct your deductible amount from your benefit. The typical deductible with comprehensive coverage ranges from $50 to $1,000 per incident.
Checking out: What is an Impaired Value Claim?
What does comprehensive coverage cost?
According to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost for comprehensive auto insurance in the US was $171.87 in 2019.
You typically purchase comprehensive coverage as an add-on to auto insurance, rather than as a standalone product. The premium of your hull insurance depends on many factors. The price of comprehensive car insurance can vary based on your:
- Driving record
- Vehicle age and type
- Deductible (a higher deductible usually means a lower premium)
Comprehensive insurance versus collision coverage
Both comprehensive insurance and collision insurance are optional coverages designed to protect your own vehicle. This differs from liability coverage, which is designed to protect you financially if you damage another driver’s vehicle or cause bodily injury in an accident.
While comprehensive coverage and collision coverage are often confused, an easy way to keep the two straight is to remember that collision coverage is for, well, collisions that happen while you’re behind the wheel. Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, is for almost everything else.
Here is an overview of the different events covered by comprehensive and collision insurance:
|Extensive coverage||Collision coverage|
|Collision with another vehicle||no||Yes|
|Hitting a letterbox, retaining wall or light pole||no||Yes|
|Hitting an animal||Yes||no|
|Shattered windshield by a stone or hail||Yes||no|
|Shattered windshield as a result of an accident||no||Yes|
|Personal injury to someone else||no||no|
|Damage caused to someone else’s vehicle or personal property||no||no|
When should I have comprehensive insurance?
Unlike state-mandated liability coverage, purchasing comprehensive auto insurance is usually optional. However, you may want to consider adding it, especially in these scenarios:
- If you finance your vehicle, your lender may require you to purchase comprehensive coverage until you pay back the car loan.
- If you can’t afford to cover your vehicle’s repair costs out of pocket, comprehensive coverage can save you from footing the bill yourself.
- If you have a new, expensive car, you probably want to protect it from theft, vandalism, and other damage.
Disclaimer: All insurance related services are offered through Young Alfred.