Collision vs. Comprehensive Coverage: Differences in Car Insurance Policies


Knowing the difference between collision vs. comprehensive insurance may help you avoid expensive out-of-pocket costs. Collision coverage can pay for repairs or replacements after an accident, while comprehensive coverage can pay for repairs or replacements after an incident that is generally out of your control. When comparing collision vs. comprehensive insurance rates, collision is typically more expensive but may be required to purchase comprehensive coverage.

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UPDATED: 2021-10-21T17:06:32.022Z
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What You Should Know

  • Collision coverage will cover repairs or replacement of your vehicle after an accident
  • Comprehensive coverage will cover repairs or replacement of your vehicle after incidents that are generally not under your control, such as natural disasters or vandalism
  • The main difference between collision vs. comprehensive insurance is what kind of incidents are covered

All types of car insurance are meant to offer financial protection. However, each type has different standards for which damages it protects against and which expenses it will cover. You may experience limits in how much your car insurance will cover if you choose a policy with a lower limit.

Collision and comprehensive insurance are two main types of car insurance that provide similar types of coverage for repairs and replacements of a vehicle. To understand more about your car insurance, read about collision vs. comprehensive insurance below.

Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above to get affordable collision or comprehensive car insurance quotes.

What is collision coverage?

Collision coverage is a type of car insurance that covers repairs to your vehicle after an accident. This could be an accident that involves another vehicle, or it could be an incident that occurs with only your car.

For example, collision insurance would cover your vehicle if another vehicle hits your car or if you hit something, such as a tree. In addition, if your car is damaged in a hit-and-run, collision coverage may cover repairs if you don't have uninsured motorist insurance.

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is a type of car insurance that covers repairs to your vehicle if it is damaged by an incident that is not considered an accident.

This could include:

  • Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Fire
  • Hitting an animal
  • Terrorism

If your car is stolen and not recovered, your comprehensive coverage will cover the cost to replace your vehicle.

The events covered by a comprehensive policy are sometimes called "acts of God" since they are incidents you generally have no control over.

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What is the difference between collision vs. comprehensive insurance?

What is the difference between collision and comprehensive insurance? When summed up, it comes down to the reason for damage to the vehicle.

If the policyholder controls how their vehicle is damaged, or if another driver damages the vehicle, collision insurance will provide coverage. However, if the policyholder is not in control of the damage, comprehensive insurance will provide coverage.

Sometimes, it may become confusing to determine whether collision vs. comprehensive insurance will cover the damages to your vehicle.

For example, if a tree branch falls on your car, comprehensive coverage would cover repairs. However, if you swerve to avoid being hit by a falling branch and you hit a tree, collision coverage would cover repairs.

How do collision and comprehensive coverage work?

Depending on the type of incident that causes damage to your vehicle, you will begin by filing a claim with your insurer under either your collision or comprehensive insurance policy.

When you buy collision or comprehensive car insurance, you may have coverage limits or an agreement that determines how much you may receive from the insurance company when you file a car insurance claim.

Your insurance company and state are responsible for establishing whether your car should be repaired or considered totaled. In most states, if the cost of the repairs exceeds 75% of your car's value before the accident, it is totaled.

If your car is deemed to be totaled, you are likely to receive the value of your car from the insurance company, but you should check with your insurance policy and company to understand your agreement.

How much do collision and comprehensive coverage cost?

Let's take a look at the average collision vs. comprehensive car insurance rates in each state:

State Average Annual Rates for Collision Coverage Average Annual Rates for Comprehensive Coverage
Alabama $366.12 $169.90
Alaska $370.63 $140.50
Arizona $312.95 $204.93
Arkansas $364.07 $216.70
California $453.88 $96.15
Colorado $326.39 $228.32
Connecticut $398.50 $133.91
Delaware $344.34 $133.19
Florida $343.41 $137.88
Georgia $381.66 $169.68
Hawaii $342.17 $106.97
Idaho $246.22 $130.86
Illinois $336.00 $133.32
Indiana $277.65 $130.71
Iowa $244.39 $133.32
Kansas $280.48 $267.10
Kentucky $300.45 $157.38
Louisiana $468.87 $231.76
Maine $286.22 $108.54
Maryland $393.57 $162.34
Massachusetts $427.17 $145.10
Michigan $462.80 $157.50
Minnesota $257.41 $197.67
Mississippi $365.06 $229.41
Missouri $305.96 $204.08
Montana $278.31 $267.84
Nebraska $263.68 $253.30
Nevada $344.81 $115.46
New Hampshire $319.72 $115.63
New Jersey $403.19 $129.12
New Mexico $304.46 $197.95
New York $437.13 $179.31
North Carolina $333.60 $133.49
North Dakota $263.72 $241.51
Ohio $297.50 $128.46
Oklahoma $343.57 $254.61
Oregon $265.06 $101.80
Pennsylvania $363.42 $162.59
Rhode Island $460.49 $136.58
South Carolina $302.52 $197.24
South Dakota $236.35 $308.71
Tennessee $343.10 $158.13
Texas $430.54 $234.17
Utah $293.62 $122.44
Vermont $324.51 $142.83
Virginia $305.61 $146.00
Washington $297.16 $113.77
Washington, D.C. $497.81 $224.28
West Virginia $345.68 $213.34
Wisconsin $243.52 $148.83
Wyoming $290.18 $291.22

In most cases, collision coverage is a little bit more expensive than comprehensive coverage. You should keep in mind, though, that car insurance companies usually require that you purchase different coverage types before being able to buy the next type.

For example, most car insurance companies will require that you purchase liability coverage before collision coverage.

Then, you would need to buy liability and collision coverage to purchase comprehensive coverage. Therefore, you would have to pay for all three types of coverage.

Do you need collision and comprehensive insurance?

Neither collision nor comprehensive coverage is required by law. However, there may be some instances where you are required to have it or should consider buying it even if you're not required to have it.

If you lease or finance a vehicle, the finance company may require that you carry collision or comprehensive insurance. Having coverage makes sure you can still pay off your loan or lease if the vehicle is totaled or stolen.

Collision and comprehensive offer protection against expensive out-of-pocket costs.

For example, if you expect that you wouldn't be able to afford expensive repairs or to replace your vehicle after an incident, collision or comprehensive coverage may be a good investment.

You may also want to consider buying collision or comprehensive insurance if your car is over a specific value or under a certain age. The newer and more expensive your car is, the more costly repairs or a replacement would be.

If you'd like to purchase collision or comprehensive insurance, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to find a collision or comprehensive car insurance company near you.

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