What is Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage?
Comprehensive car coverage protects you against losses caused by covered events not related to a collision. These events often include storm damage and natural disasters, such as a tornado or a hurricane, falling objects such as a tree branch, theft, fire, vandalism, or animal damage.
With this type of auto policy, the maximum compensation you would receive if your car is stolen or totaled is the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle, minus the deductible.
Understanding Comprehensive Car Coverage
If your car is a lease or finance, you most likely already have comprehensive under the umbrella of a full coverage car insurance policy required by your lender. This also includes collision and liability. Once you have paid it off, it becomes an optional coverage.
Some insurers request that you purchase collision and comprehensive together. You can find it separately though and that is one good reason to do some comparison shopping.
When people hear the word “comprehensive,” they might think they will be compensated for everything, but that is not the case. This type of policy protects you against property damage that is the result of covered risks not related to a car wreck.
Freeway agents are skilled at taking your general information and finding car insurance quotes from multiple companies so you have affordable options that meet your needs.
How It Works
Comprehensive coverage may be used to help pay for or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or lost in a covered event. This type of policy usually comes with a deductible that you are comfortable with paying out of pocket. A higher deductible means a lower premium, but you must ensure you can come up with the needed funds if necessary.
What Does It Cover and Not Cover?
It covers pretty much anything that damages your vehicle outside of a wreck. That includes Mother Nature in the form of flood, hail, hurricanes, earthquakes, fire and more.
An example is if something falls on it, like a tree branch, it’s covered. Did it get stolen? Covered. Vandalized? Covered.
Damage to your vehicle that isn’t covered is damage from a car wreck. Other things that are not covered include routine maintenance such as belts and hoses, brakes, tires and windshield wipers. Here’s a handy table to further illustrate what is and isn’t covered.
|Theft: This coverage protects you by replacing your vehicle at current market value if it is stolen||Yes|
|Vandalism: Vandalism is when someone damages your vehicle on purpose, such as a key scratch.||Yes|
|Fire: Covers you if your vehicle catches fire or is destroyed or damaged by a fire.||Yes|
|Natural Disasters (hurricane, tornado): If your vehicle is damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster, this policy will help you recoup your losses.||Yes|
|Falling Objects: Falling tree limbs or other items are covered under a comprehensive policy.||Yes|
|Animal Damage: If you run into an animal, this coverage will help pay for repairs.||Yes|
|Civil Disturbance (riot): If your vehicle is damaged in the course of a civil disturbance, this policy will help you pay for the repairs or replacement.||Yes|
|Collision: Comprehensive typically will not pay for repairs or replacement due to a collision with another vehicle or object.||No|
|Another Person’s Vehicle: There is no coverage for somebody else’s vehicle.||No|
|Medical Expenses: Comprehensive does not pay for medical bills.||No|
|Normal Wear and Tear: Comprehensive does not pay for routine maintenance due to normal wear and tear||No|
Don’t forget that there are other optional products that you can choose for some of these events, such as 24/7 roadside assistance, windshield repair, tire hazard protection plans and more.
This insurance can be used for any legitimate claim, regardless of who is at fault.
Does It Cover Car Accidents?
If the crash involves something like hitting an animal, then yes. That would be covered. However, if you miss the deer but hit a tree in the process, then that would be covered under collision coverage, not comprehensive.
Your comprehensive policy does not cover any claim that results from a car accident with another vehicle. For your information, it also will not cover any claim for somebody else’s vehicle.
How Much Will Comprehensive Insurance Pay Me?
If your car is stolen or totaled, your insurer will pay you the actual cash value of your vehicle (ACV), minus your comprehensive deductible. Your insurer will use different factors to arrive at an ACV figure, but you can estimate it at a Blue Book site. If your information is wildly different from your insurer’s estimate, you can contest it.
This type of coverage doesn’t have a limit. It pays for property damage up to and including the total cost to replace your vehicle if it is a total loss and you file a claim.
Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?
Since this type of policy covers a wide variety of events, most beyond your control, it’s probably not a bad idea to get it, depending on what your automobile is worth. Once you establish your car’s rough ACV, subtract your deductible and then subtract the six-month premium. If the resulting number is a fairly large positive number, it makes sense to continue paying for extended protection.
For example, say you’ve got a 2020 Toyota Camry SE Sedan 4D with 75,000 miles on it in “very good” condition. The current car’s value is $20,000. You’ve chosen a $1,000 deductible on your plan. Subtracting your deductible from the Blue Book value gives you $19,000. Subtracting the six-month premium of $80 gives you $18,920 – a very high positive. Unless you can come up with that much money if necessary, it’s a good idea.
Now, let’s say you have a 2002 Toyota Camry SE Sedan 4D with 150,000 miles on it in good condition. Your trade-in value here is $1,800. Subtract your deductible of $1,000 and you’re at $800. Subtract your 6-month premium of $80 and you arrive at $720.
It’s still a positive but you have to ask yourself if spending and average cost of $160 a year on an auto policy is going to give you any great value, when the most you can expect the insurer to pay you is somewhere around $800 – if something covered happens.
If the repairs exceed its ACV, your carrier is going to declare it a total loss.
Customizing Your Comprehensive Car Insurance Policy
You may choose to add some additional products to your policy for greater peace of mind. Some of the more common add-ons include:
- Tire Protection: This helps you pay for damage to your tires outside of accidents.
- Roadside Assistance: 24/7/365 coverage that sends someone to your rescue in the event of an emergency, such as keys locked in car, flat tire, run out of gas or stalled on the side of the road.
- Rental Car Reimbursement: Helps pay for your rental car or other forms of transportation while your vehicle is in the shop for covered repairs.
Is Comprehensive Coverage the Same as Full?
It is considered part of full coverage. There really isn’t such a thing as a full coverage policy. That simply means a package of different protections. In most cases, that includes comprehensive, but can include other insurance company products such as uninsured driver, repairs and medical bill payments, some of which are optional coverages.
What is the Difference Between Collision and Comprehensive Car Coverage?
Comprehensive car coverage compensates owners for things that happen when they are not behind the wheel and collision provides financial compensation to help pay for repair costs when a driver is involved in a crash. The only exception is if a driver hits an animal, such as a deer. That would be covered under this policy.
How Much Does It Cost?
The average cost is around $160 per year. Of course, that will go up based on the value of your vehicle. If it’s an expensive car to replace, your premium will be more than someone who drives a basic Toyota.
Factors Affecting Premiums
Underwriters look at a variety of things when determining someone’s premium. This can include whether you have a new car or used, your credit score, how many miles you drive, and much more. A good rule of thumb is to check the cost of insurance before signing on the dotted line.
You can help lessen the burden by asking for discounts. Many insurers offer discounts for having a good driving record, bundling your policies, being a member of the military and more.
How Do I Decide What My Coverage and Deductible Should Be?
As with most of your products, you will decide what your deductible should be. Your deductible is the amount of money you will need to pay toward repairs and costs resulting from a covered event before your insurer kicks in their part. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Just make sure you can afford to pay it before you commit.
Your coverage limit is the ACV of your car. If your ride is declared a total loss, your compensation would be the ACV (depreciated value), minus your deductible.
Will this be enough to purchase a replacement vehicle? Most likely not completely – but it will be a nice down payment.
Keep in mind that these amounts are separate from your collision amounts, even if you purchase the two together in one package.
Frequently Asked Questions
What If I Wreck in a No-Fault State?
Your state-required liability is what comes into play in a no-fault state. If you have liability in a no-fault state, then your insurance takes care of your damage. However, with full coverage it doesn’t matter who is at fault. It kicks in to help pay for repairs regardless of who is at fault.
State law determines whether you are a driver in an at-fault or no-fault state. For example, comprehensive in California pays for things like hail storm damage or car theft.
In instances where you live in an at-fault state, the provider for the driver at fault for a crash must pay for the others injuries and damages. In a no-fault state, providers pay for your repairs and medical costs, while the other drivers’ provider pays for their costs. In many instances, state law requires drivers to be assessed a percentage of fault, so you may end up paying for 30% of damages.
What is the Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Deductible?
Some people feel that damages from collision may be more expensive than damages from comprehensive claims. If you choose to carry both types of coverage, your collision deductible could have more of an impact on your total premium.
Is it Better to Have Collision or Comprehensive?
Since the two protections cover completely different events, both are important to have. However, if you have a vehicle that is more likely to be stolen, you may choose comprehensive. If you live in a highly congested area where traffic accidents are frequent, you may choose collision.
Can You Just Have Comprehensive Insurance?
Yes. Some insurers want you to purchase the two together, but you can shop around and find one that will offer comprehensive by itself.
Find Affordable Car Insurance Quotes Online Today
At Freeway, we can help you make sense of the choices you have in car insurance. Contact us today for a fast and easy car insurance quote online, reach out by calling us at 800-777-5620 or stop by one of our convenient locations.