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What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by an incident other than a car accident. This includes damage from severe weather, natural disasters, or crimes like theft and vandalism. Comprehensive insurance is a type of optional coverage that can be purchased as an add-on or as part of a full-coverage policy.
What Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Cover?
While collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by an accident, comprehensive insurance mostly covers your car while it’s parked. It also helps fill in some of the gaps left by collision coverage, such as hitting a large animal like a deer or moose.
Here are some examples of vehicle damage covered by a comprehensive policy:
- Rodent damage
- Falling objects like tree branches, boulders, or ice
- Broken windshield
- Riot or civil disturbance
A claim payout from comprehensive insurance will cover up to the actual cash value (ACV) of your car, minus the deductible on your policy.
What Isn’t Covered By Comprehensive Car Insurance?
Because comprehensive car insurance is only meant for non-collision damage, it has several exclusions. Here are a few types of damage that aren’t covered by comprehensive coverage and the types of insurance you would need instead:
|Type of Damage||Type of Insurance|
|The other driver’s medical expenses if you’re at fault for an accident||Bodily injury liability|
|Damage to the other driver’s vehicle if you’re at fault for an accident||Property damage liability|
|Your medical expenses after an accident||Medical payments (MedPay) coverage or personal injury protection (PIP)|
|Belongings stolen from your car||Homeowners or renters|
What Does Collision Insurance Cover?
A collision car insurance policy handles some of the damage excluded from comprehensive insurance coverage.
Collision insurance can typically cover your car’s:
- Collision with another vehicle
- Collision with a tree, telephone pole, or guardrail
- Damage from road hazards like potholes
- Damage from a rollover
Should I Carry Comprehensive Car Insurance?
You may want to consider adding comprehensive car insurance to your policy in these scenarios:
- You have a new car
- The value of your vehicle is high
- You plan to park or store your car for an extended period of time
Comprehensive insurance isn’t required to legally drive in any state, but a lender will likely require you to carry comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is leased or financed. Once your lease is up or your car loan is paid off, you can opt out of comprehensive coverage.
Is Comprehensive Car Insurance Worth It?
To determine if comprehensive car insurance coverage is worth it, calculate the value of your car and subtract your deductible amount. The resulting figure is the maximum you can expect from a comprehensive insurance claim.
Compare this number with your annual insurance premium. If the maximum payout amount is higher than what you pay for insurance each year, comprehensive insurance may be worth purchasing.
Comprehensive Car Insurance Costs
According to the most recent study conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of comprehensive insurance for U.S. drivers was $171.87 per year in 2019. California drivers enjoyed the least expensive comprehensive insurance, paying an average of $96.53 annually. South Dakota had the most expensive comprehensive premiums with an annual average of $347.61.
Your car insurance deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket when your insurance company approves your claim. Once you meet your comprehensive deductible, the provider will cover the remaining expenses up to the value of your car.
An auto insurance policy with a higher deductible will have a lower premium, but you’ll have to pay more out of pocket for any repair costs. Typically, comprehensive deductibles are $500, $1,000, or $1,500.
Factors That Affect The Cost Of Comprehensive Car Insurance
Insurers use a number of factors to calculate your insurance quote for comprehensive insurance and other kinds of coverage. These factors include:
- Vehicle: Insurers consider the make, model, age, and mileage of your vehicle when calculating your insurance rates.
- Driver’s age: Young drivers under 25 and those who are over 55 generally pay more for car insurance. Teen drivers pay the highest insurance rates.
- Location: Each state has its own insurance regulations and required minimum coverage. If you live in an area with high theft or crash rates, you may see a higher premium.
- Driving record: Drivers with traffic violations, DUIs, and recent at-fault accidents pay much higher rates for auto insurance coverage.
- Coverage limits: Increasing your coverage limits beyond what your state requires or adding optional types of coverage will raise your premium.
- Deductible: You’ll usually be able to choose the deductible amount for your insurance policy. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium.
Comprehensive Car Insurance: Conclusion
Comprehensive insurance is perhaps best viewed as a shield against bad luck. It covers damages caused by incidents other than car collisions. Most of these non-collision incidents happen to parked vehicles. Comprehensive coverage isn’t required by any state, but lenders will often require you to have it if you have a lease or an auto loan.
Comprehensive coverage is especially worth considering if you have a new vehicle, as it covers an amount that’s up to the actual cash value of your car, minus your chosen deductible. Comprehensive coverage can be purchased as an add-on or as part of a full-coverage policy.
Best Comprehensive Car Insurance
When you’re looking for cheap car insurance, get free insurance quotes from a few providers to determine which policies best fit your needs and budget. We recommend taking a look at policies from Allstate and USAA for comprehensive coverage.
Allstate: Best Local Agents
Allstate is one of the largest insurers in the U.S. and has built a reputation on having great coverage and a reliable claims service. The company’s A+ financial strength rating from AM Best signifies its ability to pay out claims.
Allstate offers a wide variety of car insurance add-ons, such as custom equipment coverage, rental reimbursement, and roadside assistance. The provider’s other coverage options include homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and life insurance.
Read more: Allstate insurance reviews
USAA: Best For Military Members
USAA has some of the industry’s most affordable insurance policies and a reputation for outstanding customer service. In addition to its slate of full coverage car insurance options, USAA offers boat insurance, life insurance, and more.
USAA holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best. You can only qualify for USAA coverage if you’re a member of the military, a veteran, or the child or spouse of a USAA member.
Read more: USAA insurance reviews
Comprehensive Car Insurance: FAQ
How We Rate Insurers
Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:
- Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between insurers because so many factors impact annual premiums. The cheapest insurer for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. To determine our cost score, we look at insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, discount opportunities, and consumer reports.
- Coverage: To determine our coverage score, we look at the number of coverage options available as well as coverage limits and deductible options. Our ratings also take into account additional services and benefits like roadside assistance.
- Reliability: It’s important that an auto insurer is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong financial strength rating from AM Best score best in this category. Established insurers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
- Service: We comb through customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn about customer experiences. Insurers with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the claims process, giving higher ratings to car insurance providers that offer easy-to-use claims apps.
*Data accurate at time of publication.