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What is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?

Damage to your own car is covered by both comprehensive and collision insurance. Comprehensive insurance protects your car from damage caused by an animal collision or while it is parked, as well as damage caused by inclement weather or vandalism. In the event of a collision, collision insurance will pay for the repair or replacement of your vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance Collision insurance
A collision with an animal, such as a deer Your vehicle collides with a tree
Impact an object, such as a fence or pole Your vehicle collides with other vehicles
Natural catastrophes like hurricanes and floods Accident involving another vehicle for which you are determined to be to blame
Fire damage Your vehicle flips over
A tree or other object crashes onto your vehicle Collide with a structure or garage door
Theft or vandalism Damage caused by road hazards like potholes
Acts of terrorism A hit-and-run, if you can't use uninsured motorist coverage

Why get comprehensive insurance?

You can't always control what happens to your car, no matter how cautious you are behind the wheel. When you have to park outside, a strong storm can come out of nowhere. When you're driving down a dark country road, a deer jumps into your car.

These things are beyond your control, but you can prepare for them by purchasing comprehensive auto insurance. The main advantage of comprehensive coverage is that it can provide peace of mind while you are not in your vehicle.

If your car is severely damaged or stolen, having comprehensive coverage ensures that you will be compensated. However, because of your deductible, comprehensive coverage is usually ineffective for minor damage, such as a cracked bumper or minor vandalism.

Benefits of having comprehensive insurance

  • Protects against many non-collision damages
  • Tends to cost less than collision coverage
  • Can be used whether you're at fault or not

Why get collision insurance?

Even when you're calm and collected behind the wheel, you have no control over the vehicles around you. Even the most cautious drivers can be involved in a collision. As a result, every driver should have collision insurance on hand.

The main advantages of collision insurance are that you will not have to worry about high repair costs following an accident, whether you are unable to afford repair costs or simply value peace of mind. If you file a collision claim and it is later determined that the other driver's liability coverage should pay, you will usually be automatically reimbursed.

Another advantage is that you only have to deal with your own insurance company, rather than another insurer who has less incentive to pay your claim. In most cases, collision insurance can be applied to a rental car, saving you from having to purchase rental car insurance.

Benefits of having collision insurance

  • Applies whether you're at fault or not
  • Helps reduce out-of-pocket costs
  • Can provide extra peace of mind

What do collision and comprehensive insurance cover?

Coverage Details Collision insurance Comprehensive insurance
Car damage caused by colliding with an object such as a pole or a building  
Car theft or theft of car parts  
Car damage caused by colliding with an animal, such as a deer  
Non-crash damage: Fire, flood, hail, vandalism, falling objects, natural disasters such as a tornado  
Civil disturbance  
Broken windshield  

What collision and comprehensive insurance won’t cover

Even though collision coverage and comprehensive coverage cover a wide range of things, they don't cover:

  • When you hurt yourself in an accident. (Depending on the situation, your injuries could be covered by the other driver's liability insurance, your own personal injury protection or medical payments insurance, or your own health insurance.)
  • Things like a laptop or wallet were taken from your car. (Instead, check your homeowner's or renter's insurance.)

Examples of when you could make a collision claim

  • Your vehicle skids on ice and crashes into a barrier.
  • To avoid a squirrel, you swerve and collide with a post.
  • Someone damages your vehicle and drives away.

Examples of when you could make a comprehensive claim

  • You hit a deer and ding your fender.
  • A fire in your garage ruins your car.
  • A hailstorm causes damage to your vehicle.
  • Your vehicle was stolen and never recovered.

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What’s a deductible?

In general, both collision and comprehensive insurance have deductibles. A collision or comprehensive claim will be lowered by the amount of the deductible.

Common deductibles range between $250 and $1000. If you have a $1000 deductible and your vehicle sustains $10,000 in damages in an accident, the insurance company will pay $9,000 for your claim.

Some auto insurance provides "decreasing deductibles" as an incentive for safe driving. Under these schemes, if you do not file certain claims, your deductible decreases over time.

The maximum insurance payout

For both collision and comprehensive insurance, the highest possible compensation is the vehicle's worth immediately before the accident, minus the deductible. A vehicle is deemed totaled if:

  • It cannot be repaired to a safe condition for driving.
  • The cost of repairs would exceed the car's worth.
  • The cost of repairs exceeds a specific percentage of the vehicle's value.

In many states, a vehicle is considered totaled when its repair expenses exceed 75% of its value. And if you have a new car, don't think that it will be more difficult to total it. New car technology is so costly to fix that it is increasing the likelihood of damaged vehicles.

How much do collision and comprehensive coverage cost?

State Average Comprehensive Premium Average Collision Premium
Alabama $172 $369
Alaska $142 $374
Arizona $208 $322
Arkansas $220 $368
California $100 $460
Colorado $235 $329
Columbus $136 $400
Connecticut $136 $348
Delaware $228 $499
Florida $140 $349
Georgia $172 $388
Hawaii $112 $346
Idaho $136 $249
Illinois $139 $340
Indiana $130 $280
Iowa $216 $248
Kansas $272 $284
Kentucky $159 $305
Louisiana $238 $469
Maine $111 $294
Maryland $176 $400
Massachusetts $149 $429
Michigan $160 $468
Minnesota $200 $259
Mississippi $232 $366
Missouri $207 $309
Montana $277 $284
Nebraska $265 $268
Nevada $119 $348
New Hampshire $117 $324
New Jersey $136 $414
New Mexico $201 $310
New York $182 $444
North Carolina $136 $336
North Dakota $243 $268
Ohio $129 $300
Oklahoma $258 $346
Oregon $116 $266
Pennsylvania $176 $369
Rhode Island $146 $472
South Carolina $208 $308
South Dakota $309 $236
Tennessee $163 $344
Texas $283 $430
Utah $129 $298
Vermont $158 $328
Virginia $149 $308
Washington $122 $300
West Virginia $216 $349
Wisconsin $149 $248
Wyoming $300 $306

How many drivers have comprehensive insurance?

States with the largest percentage of drivers with comprehensive coverage

State Drivers with comprehensive coverage
New Hampshire 92%
Massachusetts 93%
Connecticut 86%
Florida 85%
Illinois 85%

States with the lowest percentage of drivers with comprehensive coverage

State Drivers with comprehensive coverage
New Mexico 61%
Wyoming 66%
Montana 64%
Oklahoma 68%
Arkansas 67%

Number of drivers with comprehensive coverage by state

State Share of drivers with comprehensive coverage
Alabama 70.8%
Alaska 74.2%
Arizona 74.6%
Arkansas 67.3%
California 73.4%
Colorado 74.5%
Columbus 83.6%
Connecticut 87.1%
Delaware 81.5%
Florida 84.4%
Georgia 70.4%
Hawaii 79.3%
Idaho 71.6%
Illinois 84.5%
Indiana 78.2%
Iowa 76.6%
Kansas 68.2%
Kentucky 71.9%
Louisiana 71.8%
Maine 83.4%
Maryland 83.3%
Massachusetts 90.8%
Michigan 83.6%
Minnesota 82.9%
Mississippi 69.8%
Missouri 73.4%
Montana 65.6%
Nebraska 68.8%
Nevada 73.9%
New Hampshire 93.6%
New Jersey 81.6%
New Mexico 62.4%
New York 82.8%
North Carolina 74.5%
North Dakota 73.4%
Ohio 82.6%
Oklahoma 66.8%
Oregon 81.3%
Pennsylvania 84.5%
Rhode Island 74.6%
South Carolina 77.8%
South Dakota 68.9%
Tennessee 73.4%
Texas 71.9%
Utah 80.4%
Vermont 81.4%
Virginia 80.6%
Washington 82.8%
West Virginia 72.6%
Wisconsin 82.8%
Wyoming 64.4%

Comprehensive coverage deductibles and limits

If the cost to repair your automobile is $1,500, you would pay your $500 deductible and your insurance would cover the remaining $1,000. The maximum amount your policy will pay for a covered claim is the limit of your comprehensive coverage. Typically, the limit of comprehensive coverage is the vehicle's real cash worth.

Choose a comprehensive coverage deductible

Your insurance deductible is the amount you'll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays the rest of the bill. When you choose your deductible, you can decide how much you want to pay for claims and repairs. Choosing your deductible is a highly personal decision. Think mostly about these three things when choosing your deductible:

  • Your vehicle's value
  • Your ability to deal with a sudden loss of money
  • How different deductibles change your premium

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Do I need collision and comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive collision insurance is a good idea for anyone who owns a car. You might want to get comprehensive coverage and collision insurance if:

  • You rented your car or bought it with a loan. Both collision and comprehensive insurance are probably required by your lender or leasing company.
  • If you crashed your car or someone stole it, you couldn't afford to buy a new one or fix it in a big way.
  • Your area has a lot of car thefts, acts of vandalism, bad weather (like hail), and animal-on-car accidents.

How to save on comprehensive and collision insurance

If you want to save money on comprehensive and collision coverage, the best way to make sure you're getting the best deal is to get car insurance quotes from more than one company. But you can also save money on comprehensive and collision insurance in other ways, such as:

  • Request discounts
  • Pick a car that costs less to insure.
  • Get your credit score up.
  • Drive less to make your record better.
  • Raise your collision and comprehensive deductibles
  • Drop either your full coverage or your collision coverage, or both.

When should you drop comprehensive and collision insurance?

The general rule used to be that when a car was five or six years old, its owner should drop collision and comprehensive insurance. But now it depends on how much the car is worth and how much it would cost to fix it. Older cars that can still be driven but have lost a lot of value due to wear and tear have their own way of figuring out how much they are worth.

It makes sense to drop one or both of these coverages when insuring these cars. That's because your maximum payout, which is the value of the car minus your deductible, is likely to be very low and not worth the cost of insurance over time. Classic and vintage car owners need to think about certain things.

What if I only get comprehensive insurance?

Talk to your insurance agent before dropping any coverage types if you can't pay your car insurance bill. If you drop collision or comprehensive coverage, you could be at risk for things like car accidents, theft, vandalism, floods, and fires. You can also lower your car insurance costs by raising your deductible and asking your insurance company to look into possible discounts.

What if someone else damages my car?

Collision insurance is helpful if you damage your own car by accident, like when you back into a pole. But it can also help if you get hit by someone else. You have two options if that happens:

  • Make a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance: If someone else caused the accident, their liability insurance should pay for the damage to your car.
  • Make a claim on your own collision insurance: You might not want to go through someone else's insurance company. You could instead file a claim with your collision insurance. The bad thing is that your deductible amount will be taken out of the insurance check.

Comprehensive vs. Collision Insurance: Similarities

Comprehensive insurance protects your car from damage caused by animals or while it's parked, as well as damage caused by the weather or by thieves. Collision insurance protects your car in case it hits another car, an object, or a building.

Factors to consider before buying comprehensive and collision insurance

Vehicle Value

The value of your car will be a big factor in deciding if you need collision and comprehensive coverage or not. If your car is worth a lot, these types of coverage are a good choice. If your car is old or doesn't have much value, you might save money on your monthly premiums by dropping collision and comprehensive coverage.

Premium Cost

How much do your insurance premiums cost each month? If the cost of your premiums is more than 10% of the cash value of your car, you should not get comprehensive and collision insurance.

Financial State

If you have enough money to pay for a new car out of your own pocket, you don't need comprehensive collision coverage.

Danger Signs

If you live in an area where natural disasters, crime, or animal accidents happen often, it might be a good idea to get full coverage. If you often drive in areas with a lot of traffic or where accidents happen often, you might want to get collision insurance.

What’s the average repair time for a damaged car?

After an accident, it can take anywhere from one day to several months to fix your car, depending on how bad the damage is, what kind of car you have, and how many cars are already at the shop. Here's how long it's likely to take to fix things once your claim is approved:

  • One day to fix the bumper and replace the windshield.
  • Minor auto body work takes one to two days.
  • It takes one to two weeks to replace parts inside your car.
  • It took over a month to fix a lot of damage to several parts.

What about insurance for rental cars?

If you rent a car, your personal liability, collision, and comprehensive car insurance will usually cover the rental as well. That means you don't have to buy the insurance offered at the rental counter, like the collision damage waiver, unless you want to avoid making claims on your own policy.

Ask your insurance agent if your policy also covers renting a car. Auto insurance with rental reimbursement will help pay for that rental. This is an optional type of coverage that helps pay for a rental car if your car is damaged in an accident that your insurance policy covers.

Summary

State law does not require either comprehensive or collision car insurance. But if you lease or finance your car, your lender may require you to have both collision and comprehensive insurance.

Even if you don't finance or lease your car, it's usually a good idea to get comprehensive and collision car insurance. This is what is meant by "full coverage car insurance," along with liability insurance.

The most your comprehensive and collision insurance will pay out is the ACV of your car. If this number is very low, which often is for cars that are more than 10 years old, you are usually better off lowering your premiums.

How to file a claim for collision and comprehensive insurance with Way.com

Our team of analysts got quotes from different insurance companies to find out what a plan that covers collisions would cost in the real world. Visit our website or access Way App to get to the nitty-gritty of claim processing with Way.com.

Auto Insurance Data Methodology

The auto insurance rates published in this guide are based on the results of research completed by Way.com’s data team. Using a mix of public and internal data, we analyzed millions of rate averages across U.S. ZIP codes.

Quotes are typically based on a full coverage policy average unless otherwise noted within the content.

These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes will differ. Given this, it’s important to go through our insurance steps form to find how much you can save with way.com

Frequently asked questions

What is collision insurance?

Collision insurance is a type of coverage that pays for damage to your own car caused by an accident. Even if you were at fault for the crash, collision insurance will pay out. Collision doesn't cover anything else, like damage to someone else's car or medical bills.

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance pays to fix damage to your car that wasn't caused by a crash. For instance, comprehensive coverage would pay for damage caused by vandalism or hail. Theft is also covered by comprehensive.

Do I need collision and comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive and collision insurance are not required by law, so you don't have to buy them to register your car. But many companies that lend money for cars need them, so you might need them to get a lease or loan.

How much is collision coverage and comprehensive coverage?

How much you pay for collision and comprehensive insurance depends on what kind of car you drive, how much your deductible is, and how well you drive. In general, collision insurance costs about the same as a liability-only policy, while comprehensive insurance is about 10% more expensive.

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