UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Comprehensive and collision automobile insurance are two of the most important types of insurance coverage which are not required by state law to be included on any driver’s automotive insurance policy. This is more than a little strange, seeing as how the vast majority of filed claims, in one way or another, could be financially covered by Collision or Comprehensive coverage.
Some states will give you the option to purchase Comprehensive coverage without getting Collision insurance, but you won’t be able to get Collision coverage without Comprehensive insurance. Regardless, because these coverages protect drivers from so many different situations, purchasing both is usually the best option. And in certain circumstances, just because your state doesn’t require Comprehensive and Collision insurance, doesn’t mean you won’t have to buy it. Leased vehicles, or new vehicles which are financed by a bank loan, may also require you to purchase these types of coverage.
Collision automobile insurance generally protects you against the eponymous “collision damage”. If you are found culpable in an accident and your vehicle and/or someone else’s property sustain damage, your Collision coverage might end up paying out the claim. Situations where this type of insurance kicks in include (but aren’t limited to):
- Accidents between two drivers
- Accidents that involve your automobile hitting an object or structure (poles, fire hydrants, trees, etc)
- Hit-and-run accidents
Comprehensive automobile insurance insulates you from almost any sort of random, unexpected, or otherwise non-avoidable circumstances. To give you an idea of what might be covered under a policy that has Comprehensive coverage, the following are usually common instances in which comprehensive protects you:
- Tornado, flood, or other types of weather damage
- Theft and/or vandalism
- Fire damage, water damage, or acts of God
Comprehensive and Collision Automobile Insurance Coverage – Specificity and Selection
Comprehensive and Collision coverage works a little bit differently than the other coverages on your policy. For starters, both types come with a mandatory payment called a “deductible”. In the event that you have to file a claim and your insurance company agrees to pay out that claim, you will first be required to contribute to the overall cost by paying your deductible to your insurance company. This is different from your premium because you only pay a deductible if your insurance company accepts the claim. It is a one-time payment per claim, whereas your monthly premiums are mandatory each month to keep your policy current. Deductibles usually come in amounts of either $250, $500, or $1,000. But different companies in different areas might be more flexible with your deductible amount.
After this deductible is paid out of pocket by you, the insurance will reimburse you for the damages up to the fair market value of your car at the time of the accident. But if your vehicle has depreciated in value over time, there might be a “gap” in price between the fair market value of your vehicle, and the actual cost to fix or replace it. This is why many drivers also purchase gap insurance – just in case the gap left by Comprehensive and Collision is too expensive to handle.
You have a great deal of control over how high or low your deductible is. If you haven’t done so already, you might want to contact your insurance agent and discuss it. Drivers with a clean record who are at the lowest risk of getting into an accident can raise their deductible and save a considerable amount of money by lowering their monthly premium. However, if the worst does happen, you will have a hefty deductible bill to pay before you can get back on the road.
As a rule of thumb, if your Comprehensive and Collision is costing you more than 10% of your car’s market value, you’re probably paying a bit too much. You might want to think about eliminating the coverage from your policy – but just understand that there could be potentially expensive consequences if you do.