Comprehensive and Collision Auto Insurance Coverage
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UPDATED: Mar 30, 2021
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If you have a newer car, a nicer car, or if you just simply don't want to have to worry about paying full price for specific car repairs, then you may already have comprehensive and collision coverage on your car insurance policy. But if you don't, or if you're not sure, then this article is for you. Below, we'll be discussing the ins and outs of both of these types of elective coverage. So if you would like to know more, just keep reading.
Explaining Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
Even though collision and comprehensive coverage are optional – meaning, you don't have to purchase them — the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that nearly three out of four drivers still opt to get both. In some cases, depending on the type of vehicle you drive, it may be more economically advantageous for you to avoid adding these types of coverage to your current policy.
However, if you are at high risk of crashing, such as if you live in one of the worst states for weather-related fatal crashes, buying collision and comprehensive insurance is highly recommended. After we go into the specifics of both types of coverage, will go into a deeper discussion about whether or not collision and comprehensive are right for you.
To put it simply: if you get into a collision, and you need to file a claim with your insurance company in order to get that damage fixed, then that money is coming from your Collision coverage. So what counts as a collision?
Well, whenever your vehicle collides with either another vehicle, or a stationary object, you can file a claim and get your vehicle repaired using your Collision coverage.
Whenever you file a collision claim, you will need to contact your insurance company and submit any and all relevant, necessary documentation. You will likely have to meet with a claims adjuster, who will come out to observe the damage, come up with an estimate, and will likely give you a recommendation for a body shop that is pre-approved by your insurance agency.
But before any repairs can get started, you will have to pay your insurance company the predetermined deductible you chose when you put comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy.
Any other body damage that happens to your vehicle - hail damage, fire, theft, or even if you hit a deer - you can file a claim against your comprehensive coverage with your insurance company. Again, just like collision coverage, you will have to pay your insurance company your predetermined agreed-upon deductible before you can get a mechanic to so much as look at your car.
But as soon as you fork over the cash, your insurance company should get the ball rolling I'm getting you back into your vehicle as quickly as possible. Depending on what other coverage is you have on your policy, they may even be willing to pay for a rental car so that you don't lose your ability to get to work, the grocery store, school, or wherever you need to be.
Also, since we're on the subject of body shops, this may become a spot of contention between you and your insurance company while you were in the process add negotiate in the claim. Obviously, your insurance company is going to want you to use the mechanic that they recommend because it will likely be the cheapest option for them.
But many drivers, especially those who care enough about their car to buy optional coverage in order to protect it, may already have a mechanic of their own that they know and trust. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean your insurance company will let you use them.
You may have to go around to different mechanics, collect different estimates in writing, and submit them to your insurance company in order to have a chance to choose the mechanic you want to repair your vehicle. And even then, there's no guarantee that your insurance company will approve it.
Regardless, the important thing is getting your car fixed quickly, affordably, and in a way that ensures whatever repairs they do and/or whatever parts they replace will hold up for as long as the mechanic guarantees them. Otherwise, you're going to have a whole other headache on your hands.
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Are Collision and Comprehensive Necessary?
The short answer to this question is: it depends. It depends on the type of car you drive, it depends on how old your car is, and it depends on how much you are financially - and for some people, sentimentally - invested your vehicle.
If you have a newer vehicle, if you have an expensive vehicle regardless of age, if you have a make/model that is particularly vulnerable to theft, or if you would rather repair then replace your car in the event of an accident for personal reasons, you are exactly the type of person who should talk to your insurance agent about putting comprehensive and collision coverage on to your policy.
Another scenario? If you're leasing your vehicle, or if you are still making payments on it, some dealerships may require that you get collision and comprehensive coverage.
Keep in mind, though, add and collision and comprehensive coverage door policy isn't like adding roadside assistance; as you can see from the graphs above and below, these coverages aren't exactly cheap. Then again, if you have the type of money to buy a car that needs his level of protection, one would hope that you also have the spare cash necessary to by a sufficient amount of insurance for it.
Lastly, there is a certain group of drivers who would financially benefit from keeping comprehensive and collision coverage is off of their policy entirely. If you have an older car that is still in relatively good working condition but maybe only has a few years left on its drivable life, paying extra insurance money each month to keep the parts and working order and the body in good shape might just be a waste of money.
You could be better off saving that cash for a downpayment on a new vehicle. After all, every single vehicle on this Earth only has a finite amount of use. Anything that's been driven farther than 200,000 miles will probably cost more to repair than you could get from trading it in or even selling it for scrap. Put that money aside and save it for that fateful day when you have to start shopping around for a new vehicle.
Or you could compare quotes from different companies to see if you can get a better deal. There's a chance that your current carrier is overcharging you so much that you could afford these optional coverage options for about the same price you're paying now! But the only way to find out is to compare quotes today. And we can help make the process quick and easy.