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Comprehensive insurance vs. collision coverage

Comprehensive and collision coverage are two types of optional auto insurance that can help pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged. However, they cover different types of damage.

Collision coverage protects your vehicle from damage that occurs in a collision with another vehicle or object. This includes helping to pay for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Collision coverage can also help cover the cost of damage to your vehicle if you roll over.

Comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged in an event that isn’t the result of a collision. It’s sometimes called “other than collision” coverage. Comprehensive typically covers damage from vandalism, fire, or hail to name a few. If you’re financing or leasing your car, your lender will most likely require comprehensive insurance.

Uninsured motorist insurance can help repair damage to your vehicle in a hit and run accident

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance is a coverage that helps pay to replace or repair damage to your vehicle that was not caused by a collision. It is sometimes referred to as “other than collision” coverage. Comprehensive typically covers damage from vandalism, fire, or hail to name a few. If you’re financing or leasing your car, your lender will most likely require comprehensive insurance.

What does comprehensive insurance cover?

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Natural disasters (like storms or earthquakes)
  • Falling objects
  • Damage done to your car by an animal
  • Glass-only claims*

For comprehensive claims, your deductible will apply. The comprehensive deductible options range from “no deductible” to $1,000 (Illinois also has a $2,500 option). This means you pay this amount toward repairs or replacement before your insurance begins to cover costs.

*Elephant offers a free windshield chip repair where your deductible wouldn’t be applied.

What’s not covered by comprehensive insurance?

  • Collisions with other vehicles or objects. This is covered by collision insurance, not comprehensive insurance.
  • Damage caused by your own negligence. For example, if you hit a pothole and damage your car, comprehensive insurance doesn’t cover the repairs.
  • Normal wear and tear. This includes things like oil changes, tire rotations, and brake repairs.
  • Mechanical failures. If your car breaks down due to a mechanical problem, comprehensive insurance doesn’t cover the repairs.
  • Damage caused by war or nuclear accidents. These are typically excluded from comprehensive insurance policies.

What is collision insurance?

Collision insurance helps cover damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with another vehicle or an object, regardless of who is at fault.

What does collision insurance cover?

Collision coverage usually helps pay for repairs or replacement if your vehicle is damaged in an accident, whether it’s a collision with another car, a tree, a building, or any other object. Your deductible will apply. The collision deductible options range from $50 to $2500.

What’s the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?

Comprehensive and collision are two types of optional auto insurance you can include on your auto insurance. Both can help pay to repair or to replace your vehicle if it’s damaged. However, they cover different types of damage.

Collision coverage protects your vehicle from damage that occurs in a collision with another vehicle or object. This includes helping to pay for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Collision coverage can also help cover the cost of damage to your vehicle if you roll over.

Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from damage that occurs from events that are not the result of a collision.

 

Feature Comprehensive insurance Collision insurance
Coverage Covers damage to your car from non-collision incidents such as:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects
  • Animal damage
Covers damage to your car from:

  • Collision with another vehicle
  • Collision with an object, such as a fence
  • Single car rollover accidents
What’s covered Unexpected damage like theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fire, etc. Accidents involving other vehicles or objects
What’s no covered Collision with another vehicle or object Theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fire, etc.
Deductible Yes. From $0 to $1,000 in most states Yes. From $50 to $2,500
Is it required? Not required by any state but may be required by a vehicle lender. Not required by any state but may be required by a vehicle lender.

When should I add comprehensive (other than collision) and collision?

Generally, if you have a car loan or you’re leasing a vehicle, comprehensive and collision coverage may be required by the lender, but they are otherwise optional. Most states only require liability coverage, even for financed vehicles. It is best to check with your state’s department of motor vehicles to learn what is required in your state.

While no state requires comprehensive and collision coverage, you may want to consider the following when choosing this coverage:

  • The value of your car

    If your car is a newer model, paying for repairs or replacements can get expensive.

  • Your environment

    Are you at higher risk of vehicle damage (floods, wildfires, vandalism, etc.) than other areas?

  • Your financial situation

    Would you be able to cover the cost of an accident or incident out-of-pocket?

  • Your risk of accident

    How often do you drive your car? How long is your commute? The more you drive, the higher your risk of an accident.

Frequently asked questions about comprehensive insurance

The following questions provide information about comprehensive car insurance.

 

How does liability insurance differ from comprehensive or collision insurance?

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Liability car insurance helps pay for someone else’s property damage or injuries from a car accident you caused, while comprehensive and collision insurance help pay for damage to your own vehicle.

What is an example of comprehensive insurance?

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Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage that helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged in a non-collision event outside of your control. Examples of this kind of event include vandalism or a weather event like a flood or hail.

Is comprehensive insurance full coverage?

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While there is no official definition of “full coverage,” it’s widely understood to mean insurance that includes liability insurance plus comprehensive and collision coverage. However, some people understand “full coverage” to include roadside assistance and rental reimbursement, which are not always included with comprehensive and collision. Speak with your agent about what coverages are included in your policy.

What is a deductible?

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A deductible is a set amount of money that you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance company starts paying for repairs. Deductibles are used to help keep your car insurance premiums lower. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums will be.

Comprehensive deductible: The amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket if your vehicle is damaged by a covered event, such as theft, vandalism, fire, hail, or flooding. Common comprehensive deductibles are $250, $500, and $1,000, but they can vary by insurer.

Collision deductible: The amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket if your vehicle is damaged in a collision with another vehicle or object. Typical collision deductibles are $250, $500, $1,000, and $2,500 in some states, but they can vary by insurer.

Why are there different deductibles for collision and comprehensive insurance?

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There are a few reasons why there are different deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage:

  • The likelihood of a claim: Collision claims are more common than comprehensive claims. This is because collisions are more likely to happen than other events that would trigger a comprehensive claim, like theft or vandalism. As a result, a lower premium can be charged for comprehensive coverage than for collision coverage.
  • The cost of repairs: The cost of repairs for a collision is typically higher than the cost of repairs for a comprehensive claim. Collisions often result in more damage to a car than events that would lead to a comprehensive claim. As a result, insurance companies may charge higher deductibles for collision coverage than for comprehensive coverage.

What deductible should I have for collision and comprehensive?

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When choosing a deductible, you should consider your budget and your risk tolerance.

It’s important to note that the higher your deductible, the lower your premiums will be. However, if you have to file a claim, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket.

How much is collision and comprehensive insurance?

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The cost of collision and comprehensive insurance depends on many factors, including the type of car you drive, where you live, your driving record, and the coverage you chose.

Get comprehensive & collision insurance and join the Herd today!

Elephant provides car insurance, discounts, and various coverage options to support you when you need it. Contact our team to learn how we can help you or use our Coverage Wizard to get personalized suggestions.

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