Comprehensive insurance can really come in handy when your car is damaged by a falling tree branch, hail, vandalism, or any other non-traffic-related accident. When you think about it, vehicle replacement and repair costs can quickly add up. And paying out-of-pocket just isn’t ideal, especially when we’re talking thousands of dollars.
Although comprehensive is optional in most situations, it is almost always required by your lender when leasing or financing a car. Find out what type of coverage you need here, and keep reading to compare comprehensive auto insurance quotes for free.
What is comprehensive insurance?
Comprehensive car insurance protects your vehicle from incidents and collisions not involving other vehicles. Coverage isn’t required by state law but is necessary if you have an auto loan or lease a vehicle.
Pros and Cons of Comprehensive Insurance
Take a look at the pros and cons of comprehensive coverage to see if it’s right for you.
The positives of comprehensive insurance are:
- Covers a variety of non-traffic-related accidents.
- Potentially saves drivers money on the cost of repairs or replacements.
While the negatives to comprehensive insurance are:
- Typically higher cost than minimum required insurance.
- Not necessary for vehicles with a low value, including older cars.
Although it costs more per month, comprehensive coverage will save you money if your car is vandalized, stolen, or damaged by weather-related incidents.
What does comprehensive insurance cover?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, comprehensive insurance takes care of vehicle damage caused by any of the following:
- Weather (earthquakes, hail, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions)
- Theft of vehicle and/or parts
- Fallen objects (ice, projectiles, trees, and tree branches)
- Impact with animals
- Broken windshield, depending on the state
Like all types of insurance coverage, optional or mandatory, comprehensive has its limits on what it covers.
What isn’t covered by comprehensive insurance?
The following is not covered by comprehensive insurance:
- Property damage due to a collision.
- Bodily injuries sustained by you and anyone else involved in the accident.
Liability insurance covers property damage and bodily injuries. If you have collision insurance, this covers your property damage following a collision with another vehicle or object, such as a tree.
Is comprehensive insurance full coverage?
Full coverage is a combination of coverage that offers complete financial protection in a variety of situations. It is made up of liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, depending on your location, so comprehensive alone is not full coverage.
How does a comprehensive deductible work?
A car insurance deductible is a fee paid to the insurance company to cover the cost of replacing or repairing a vehicle. This fee is subtracted from the payout amount and is often a minimum of $500.
Here’s an example of how your comprehensive deductible works.
Let’s say your car is vandalized, and after filing a claim with your insurance company, you find out the cost of repair is $2,500. You’ll pay a deductible of $500, then your insurance company pays you $2,000, which equals the cost of repairs minus the deductible.
If repair costs exceed the car’s value, or your car was destroyed, the vehicle is considered totaled by the insurance company. Your insurer will issue a payout equal to the vehicle’s value minus the deductible. So, if your vehicle is valued at $8,000 and the deductible is $500, you’d receive $7,500.
In some cases, drivers can keep and repair the vehicle rather than salvage it. However, their insurance company may subtract the vehicle’s salvage value from the payout. Also, the insurance company can list the vehicle as salvage on the title, making it harder to buy auto insurance in the future since the car is considered undrivable unless it is repaired.
How much does comprehensive coverage cost?
Since you can’t buy comprehensive auto insurance on its own, you’ll need at least the state minimum liability insurance. In most states, drivers must purchase both comprehensive and collision insurance together.
Drivers pay an average of $134 per year for collision insurance.
Keep in mind your comprehensive deductible can be increased to lower the cost of insurance, but only increase the deductible if you can afford to pay it after your car is damaged.
Do you need comprehensive insurance?
As your car’s value depreciates, you won’t need to buy as much comprehensive insurance, if any. Again, comprehensive insurance only covers up to the value of the vehicle, and if the value of the vehicle is too low, dropping this coverage can save you money.
Here are situations when dropping comprehensive insurance makes sense:
Your vehicle’s value is less than or equal to the cost of your deductible. Your vehicle’s value is less than or equal to the cost of your deductible and semi-annual insurance and/or annual premium combined.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say your vehicle’s value is $1,000, and your deductible is $1,000. Your insurance company would only pay you the value of your car, but since it equals the amount of your deductible, paying a $1000 deductible wouldn’t be necessary.
Comprehensive Auto Insurance: The Bottom Line
Some drivers need protection beyond the state’s required liability insurance. Although comprehensive insurance is optional, it can save drivers thousands if their vehicle is damaged in a non-traffic related accident.
Even if you don’t believe your car will be stolen or crushed by a fallen tree, it might not hurt to purchase comprehensive coverage just in case. Start comparing quotes below to find affordable comprehensive auto insurance near you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?
Owners of new, leased, or financed vehicles benefit from comprehensive insurance. Purchasing comprehensive insurance isn’t necessary for an older vehicle, but it depends on its value, the cost of insurance, and the deductible.
Does comprehensive insurance cover theft?
Yes, comprehensive insurance covers the cost of replacing a stolen vehicle; however, drivers will only be paid up to the value of the vehicle minus the deductible. So if a vehicle is worth $12,000 and the deductible is $1,000, the payout would be $11,000, which could be used to purchase a new vehicle.
How much comprehensive insurance do I need?
Comprehensive coverage does not have an assigned or pre-selected limit, and drivers don’t have the option to choose a limit. But comprehensive insurance will only cover up to the value of the vehicle. Rather than choosing a limit for this coverage, drivers have to choose a deductible they can afford in the event of an accident.
Can you just have comprehensive insurance?
No, comprehensive insurance cannot be purchased as stand-alone coverage. Drivers need to purchase the state minimum insurance coverage to purchase comprehensive insurance. And in most cases, comprehensive and collision insurance must be purchased together.