What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?
Comprehensive auto coverage, also known as "other than collision" coverage, protects your vehicle from damage caused by events that are unexpected and outside of your control. Some common scenarios include:
- Fires and explosions
- Windshield and glass damage not caused by a collision
- Falling trees/limbs and other objects
- Rocks/objects kicked up by or falling from cars
- Storm damage including hail, wind, floods, lightning, and earthquakes
- Accidents with animals — hitting a deer, for example
What's not covered by comprehensive auto coverage?
Comprehensive car insurance doesn't cover damage to your car from a collision with another vehicle or object outside of live animals. Any medical expenses for you and any passengers will also not be covered as a result of the incident.
Is comprehensive car insurance required?
Comprehensive auto insurance coverage isn't legally required, but if your vehicle is leased or financed, you may be required to carry this coverage by your leasing or financing company to protect their investment. If you own your vehicle outright, you don't have to carry comprehensive auto coverage.
How does comprehensive auto insurance work?
Say a tree limb falls on your vehicle, damaging the roof, windshield, and trunk. The damage totals $5,000. While the process can vary by insurer, it will usually include the following steps:
- File a claim: You'd file an auto insurance claim with your insurer. Most insurers allow you to file a claim online, via a mobile app, or over the phone. You'll need to document the damage with photos or videos, and your insurer will alert you to any other details that may be needed.
- Pay your deductible: Comprehensive car insurance coverage comes with a deductible that you'll need to pay out of pocket when you file a claim. Deductible amounts for auto comprehensive coverage can range from $100 to $2,000, depending on the insurer.
- Get car repaired: Your car will be repaired and your insurer will cover the remainder of the bill. If your deductible on the policy is $1,000, for example, your insurer would cover the remaining $4,000 bill.
It's worth noting that comprehensive auto coverage has a maximum payout amount, which is typically the actual cash value of your vehicle. Actual cash value takes depreciation into account when setting the value of your vehicle.
Is comprehensive car insurance coverage worth it?
The value of comprehensive auto coverage will come down to a few key factors:
- The value of your vehicle: If your vehicle is older and has lost much of its value, you may not want to carry comprehensive. According to the Insurance Information Institute, one way to determine if comprehensive and collision are worthwhile is to multiply the premium for these coverages by 10 and compare that number to the value of your car. If your vehicle costs less than that, you may want to reconsider whether these coverages are worth the cost.
- The ability to pay for damages out of pocket: If you can't afford to pay for repairs or a replacement car out of pocket, it may be worthwhile to carry comprehensive auto coverage and pay a deductible instead.