What Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover?

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What does a comprehensive car insurance policy cover?
When and how does comprehensive car insurance cover you?
How much does comprehensive car insurance cover you?
How much do I have to pay if my comprehensive car insurance policy doesn’t fully cover me?
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What does a comprehensive car insurance policy cover?

I just got a car, and I’m in the process of shopping around for the right insurance coverage. I was told I might want to look into comprehensive car insurance, only I don’t know what that covers or why I’d need it. What is comprehensive car insurance?

Car insurance coverage is commonly broken down by insurance companies into two main categories: collision and everything else. Both categories of coverage typically come with different deductibles. Comprehensive coverage is the insurance aspect that covers “everything else.” Basically, it provides coverage for accidents and incidents that are not your fault, or beyond your control. Comprehensive coverage is an optional add-on to a basic car insurance policy. 

Let’s break down what the comprehensive category includes:

  • Theft or vandalism of your vehicle
  • Storm or other natural disaster damage done to your vehicle
  • Collisions with deer*

* Accidents involving deer are a special type of collision covered under comprehensive car insurance because these incidents are considered to be outside of your control. Deer tend to jump out in front of oncoming traffic, cross a busy intersection slowly, or jump and strike the side of a moving vehicle. There’s often no way to prevent hitting them, so there needs to be a type of coverage for these events.

When and how does comprehensive car insurance cover you?

Comprehensive car insurance coverage will kick in on the effective date of your policy, and will reimburse you in the event of a covered scenario. Your policy will reimburse you for covered events up to its specified limits.

Here’s a list of some basic scenarios when comprehensive car insurance would cover you:

  • Your car is stolen
  • Your car is damaged by vandalism
  • Your car strikes a deer

Comprehensive car insurance also provides coverage for damage caused by natural forces, including:

  • Windstorms
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Earthquakes
  • Fires
  • Floods

A good rule of thumb is if your vehicle gets damaged due to something that wasn’t your fault, comprehensive car insurance should cover you.

How much does comprehensive car insurance cover you?

That depends entirely on your specific policy. Your policy’s limit may be as low as your state’s legal minimum for insurance coverage, or you can purchase additional coverage up into the millions. In the event of an accident or other covered mishap that was not your fault, comprehensive car insurance will reimburse you for fees that reach up to your policy’s limit.

How much do I have to pay if my comprehensive car insurance policy doesn’t fully cover me?

You’re responsible for any remaining amount after reaching your policy’s limit. Let’s say you have $10,000 in comprehensive coverage, but damage to your car (as a result of a covered peril) totals $11,000. You’ll be responsible for paying the remaining $1,000. How much coverage you purchase is up to you. It’s important to consider your needs along with your family’s when shopping for your policy.

With a basic car insurance package, you’ll pick your liability coverage limits. You’ll want to work with your insurance agent to figure out an amount that makes sense based on your car’s value, including what it’s worth and how much it would cost to repair it in the event of an accident. You’ll also want to factor in things like how new your vehicle is, and the skill level of any drivers getting behind the wheel.

If comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover me, what will?

There are several different car insurance coverage types and options. You can always add on other types of coverage for a more well-rounded package. Things like liability due to bodily injury or property damage will be included in a basic car insurance package, as well as coverage for medical payments in the event your family is riding with you at the time of an accident and gets injured.

If you want coverage in the event of a collision that you cause, you’ll need to purchase collision coverage. If you’re worried about another driver hitting you and being unable to pay for your damage due to lack of sufficient insurance, you’ll want to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Your best bet is to talk with an experienced independent insurance agent about all your specific concerns and needs.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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