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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

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Reviewed by Joshua Adamson
Joshua Adamson

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2021

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What Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Mean?

Comprehensive car insurance may sound like it covers anything that can happen to your car, but to insurance companies, “comprehensive” takes on a different meaning.

What does comprehensive insurance cover?

Comprehensive car insurance takes care of any damages to your car caused by certain events outside of a car accident. These scenarios include natural disasters, also known as acts of God or nature, such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood. Comprehensive car insurance also covers unforeseen events like theft, vandalism, fire, weather-related damage, animal-related damage, and damage from a falling tree limb or other object. All insurance providers are different, so speak to one of our representatives to ensure you know exactly what your insurance plan covers.

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What is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?

Because comprehensive insurance only covers non-collision damages, if you are in an at-fault accident and need to take care of personal damages, comprehensive coverage does not come into play. Instead, collision insurance covers your medical costs and property damages in the case of an at-fault accident.

What is the difference between comprehensive and liability insurance?

If you are at fault in an accident and cause property damage or injuries to the other driver and/or his passengers, you are held responsible for those damages. Comprehensive coverage does not cover damages paid to the other driver in an at-fault accident. Instead, liability insurance covers those types of damages.

When should you get comprehensive car insurance?

Not all drivers need comprehensive car insurance, but some drivers do need this coverage.

If it’s a Requirement: If you are leasing your car or paying off a loan, sometimes the financial institution or auto loan lender requires a full-coverage auto insurance policy, which includes comprehensive car insurance. This protects the investment the insurance company has made in allowing you to use the car without having fully purchased it. If something happens to the car, even if you cannot repair or replace it, the company is not without the car, as it is covered by insurance. Comprehensive coverage also ensures that you have collision coverage and property damage coverage.

If Your Car is of a Certain Age and Value: Depending on the age and value of your car, it may not be worth it to purchase comprehensive car insurance. If you have an older car you can afford to repair or replace yourself, in the event of non-collision damage, such as theft or a natural disaster, this type of coverage may not be necessary. However, if you have a newer or more valuable car that you could not afford to cover in these scenarios, you may want to consider buying comprehensive coverage. If you drive a more expensive car, for example, it may be more likely to be stolen, so comprehensive car insurance could protect you in that event.

If You Live in a Disaster-prone Area: Certain parts of the country are more prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes in the Southeast or tornados in the Central U.S. If you live in one of these areas, you are at a higher risk of a natural disaster damaging your car, and you may want to purchase a comprehensive insurance policy to protect yourself against such a disaster.

Comprehensive car insurance takes care of any damages to your car caused by certain events outside of a car accident. However, make sure to look into exactly what is covered and what is excluded by your coverage before you file a comprehensive claim for damages.

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Is comprehensive car insurance worth the extra premium?

Whether you need to buy comprehensive auto insurance depends on weighing the pros and cons of having it versus not. Mainly this involves the risks you take and your finances. It does cost more to pay for comprehensive coverage every month. However, that higher premium may be worth the investment if the risk is high enough that something unforeseen could happen to your car, besides an accident.

What optional coverage is available with a comprehensive policy?

Sometimes auto insurance companies offer policy extras with comprehensive coverage. The provider may offer a courtesy car for you to use while your vehicle is repaired. For some auto insurance providers, this is a standard facet of comprehensive coverage, but with other providers, you may have to pay more for the service. If your own vehicle is stolen or written off, you are less likely to have a courtesy car offered to you.

Another potential extra is breakdown cover, also commonly known as Roadside Assistance or Roadside and Recovery. However, it’s not usually a standard part of your comprehensive policy, so you may have to pay extra for it. Breakdown cover offers assistance in case of a breakdown, including roadside repairs, like a flat tire or jump start, and towing services.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto policy and home insurance policy with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

You have a lot of choices for insurance coverage. Before making any big decisions, use our free tool to compare auto insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll find cheap car insurance to meet your needs.

If you need comprehensive car insurance, give Obrella a call. We can help you decide which policy is best for your specific circumstances.

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