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Comprehensive and Collision Insurance

Collision and Comprehensive Coverages

When you cause an accident, your first concern will probably be how you'll pay for the other driver's damage. If you have liability coverage, this will hopefully cover all of those costs. However, if liability is all you have, you could be left with no way to pay for your own damages.

While most states only require you to be covered for injuries or damage you cause to another person, not many states have requirements in place for damages you incur.

Insurance coverage for your car is considered optional and comes mainly in the forms of collision and comprehensive coverages. Based on the coverage, you'll have protection for damages incurred in a crash or other unforeseen events.

Collision Insurance Coverage

Collision coverage will help pay for repairs to your car (as well as replacement costs, in the event your car is totaled) after:

  • Crashing into another car.
  • Crashing into an object.
  • Rolling over.

NOTE: If your car is damaged in a hit-and-run incident, you will generally be covered through collision coverage. However, this may not be the case in no-fault states or other states.


Most car insurance companies do not provide coverage for pets injured in a car accident. However, some car insurance companies do offer coverage for pets as part of collision coverage. Keep in mind that this coverage tends to be limited and often does not meet the veterinary costs you are likely to face if your pet gets hurt in a crash.

Your best option for your pet is purchasing a separate pet insurance policy that will cover veterinary expenses.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive coverage will help pay for repairs to your car or replacement of your car after it's been damaged by events that aren't accident-related.

Typically, with comprehensive coverage you'll be covered for damage from the following:

  • Fire.
  • Theft.
  • Vandalism.
  • Falling (missile) objects.
  • Hitting or being hit by an animal including deer, cows, bears, moose and birds.
  • Natural disasters.

Note that not all policies are the same. Before purchasing comprehensive coverage, make sure you know what your comprehensive policy will cover.

Glass Repair and Replacement

Have a crack on your windshield? Glass repair and replacement is typically covered through your comprehensive coverage.

Generally, most car insurance companies will waive your deductible for glass repair if your crack is smaller than a dollar coin. If the crack is larger, your windshield will need to be replaced and you will likely be required to pay your deductible.

Some insurance providers may cover glass repair and replacement differently. For example, a car insurance company may offer glass coverage completely separate from your comprehensive coverage. Contact your agent to learn more.

Shopping for Collision and Comprehensive Coverages

Car insurance companies typically sell collision and comprehensive coverages together. You may find these coverages packaged together as “physical damage coverage."

When you're shopping around, remember:

  • Physical damage coverage refers to coverage that pays your own costs.
  • Liability coverage refers to coverage that pays others' costs.

Most companies will not allow you to buy collision coverage without buying comprehensive coverage; however, some may offer policies that have comprehensive and not collision coverage.

When shopping for collision and comprehensive coverages, consider whether you need these coverages and how high you want your deductibles to be.

Determining Necessity

Because comprehensive and collision are optional types of car insurance coverage, you should consider some factors before determining whether or not you need to purchase these coverages.

Your Car's Value

The value of your car is an important consideration when determining whether you need collision and comprehensive coverage. If you car is:

  • Older and/or low-value, it may not be worth purchasing these coverages, since they will only pay up to the estimated fair market value of your car.
  • Newer and/or high-value, having these coverages can save you from paying out significant costs to repair or replace your car (if totaled)*.

* If your car is totaled, your collision and comprehensive insurance will only pay you the estimated fair market value of the vehicle. If you have a loan or lease, consider gap coverage, which will pay the difference between your how much you owe and the car's cash value.

Your Driving Habits

You should also consider what you put your car through on a daily basis. For example, if you drive a lot of miles, or if you park your car in a location that is especially susceptible to theft or vandalism, you might want to have comprehensive coverage.

NOTE: While these coverages are not mandatory in any state, they are generally required as part of a car loan or lease agreement.

Choosing Your Deductibles

A deductible is the amount towards a claim that you are responsible for out of pocket before your insurance pays out. Collision and comprehensive insurance coverages require you to pay a deductible whenever you make a claim towards either coverage.

Insurance companies often offer different set options for how high your deductible is.

Choosing a higher deductible lowers your premium.

Keep in mind, however, that a high deductible means you are paying more out of pocket towards a claim. If you choose a high deductible in order to save money on your premium, make sure you have enough money saved to pay your deductible when you need your insurance.

Simply meeting your state's car insurance requirements may not provide you with enough protection. When comparing car insurance quotes, consider carefully how much coverage you need and whether collision and comprehensive coverages are right for you.

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