What is comprehensive auto insurance coverage?
Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage. Though it's optional, auto lenders may require you to carry comprehensive when leasing or financing a vehicle. It can cover damage from fire, hail, vandalism, theft, or collisions with animals, among other unexpected and uncontrollable events. Comprehensive auto coverage doesn't cover damage from a collision with another vehicle or object.
What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?
Comprehensive coverage, also known as "other than collision" coverage, can protect your vehicle from damage caused by events that are unexpected and outside of your control. Some common scenarios include:
- Fire damage to your car 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 damage, 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 coverage 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 may include some of 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 should document the damage with photos or videos, and your insurer will alert you to any other details that may be needed.
- Know your deductible: Comprehensive coverage may come with a deductible.
- Discuss repair or inspection options: You'll have a discussion with your insurer on what options you may have to either repair your vehicle or receive payment for damages.
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, it may not be worth carrying comprehensive (assuming it's paid off). Learn more about when it may make sense to drop comprehensive coverage.
- 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.