What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: JULY 25, 2022 | 2 MIN READ

Understanding car insurance is challenging, but it’s essential to help you pick the best option. Making the best choice now can save you from major financial issues down the road. Keep reading this article to learn everything you need about comprehensive car insurance, how to add the coverage to your policy, and if it’s even worth adding.

Table Of Contents

What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

When it comes to your vehicle, you have a lot more issues to worry about than car crashes, including:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Crime, such as riots
  • Glass breakage
  • Weather damage (for example, floods, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, or hail)
  • Falling objects (for example, a tree limb)
  • Fire or explosions
  • Damage from an animal

It’s these types of incidents that comprehensive car insurance covers – things that aren’t your fault or anyone else’s, like colliding with a deer or hail damage from a storm. That’s why 79% of insured drivers choose to add comprehensive coverage to their policy.

Do I have to have comprehensive car insurance coverage?

Your state probably doesn’t require you to have comprehensive car insurance. However, there may be cases where your lender requires you to have comprehensive coverage on your policy. Otherwise, you aren’t required to have it, but it’s helpful when there are losses that aren’t your faults, such as theft or vandalism.

When you have a really old car that isn’t worth much, buying comprehensive coverage may not be worth it. The older and less valuable your car is, the less important comprehensive coverage is. There might be cases where the damage costs more than the vehicle, and in that case, your vehicle will be considered totaled. Once it’s totaled, getting your insurance company to cover the costs is more challenging and sometimes more expensive.

What’s the difference between comprehensive car insurance and collision coverage?

When you think of the type of car insurance required by your state, you’re thinking of collision coverage. Collision coverage covers you in these instances:

  • You swerve to avoid something on the road, and you hit a fence or tree
  • Your vehicle collides with another vehicle
  • Crashes with objects, such as a mailbox
  • Your car rolls over

While collision coverage covers car accidents, comprehensive covers everything outside of collisions. Both coverages can help you repair damages caused by accidents and other issues. For example, say you drove in a rough hail storm, and then your car rolled over. In that case, you can use both insurances to help you repair your car.

What Is a Comprehensive Car Insurance Deductible?

When you agree to pay a deductible, you’re agreeing on an amount you’ll pay before insurance starts paying for damages. Think about how much financial risk you will take in these instances. If you take a higher risk and choose a higher deductible, you’ll pay less for insurance over time. If you want lower risk, you need to choose a lower deductible, but you’ll be paying more for insurance long-term.

Let’s say a tree fell on your car and caused $900 in damages. If you had a $400 deductible, you would pay the first $400. Your insurance company would pay the remaining $500. 

How and when do I have to pay my deductible?

To avoid this altogether, try to stick with choosing a deductible you know you can afford. For example, don’t choose a $500 deductible if you know you couldn’t afford that if an issue came up. Be realistic with what you can handle financially, and choose your deductible.

What happens if I can’t afford to pay my deductible?

Even when you’re careful with choosing the right deductible, there might be situations where you still can’t afford to pay it. If you can’t afford to pay your deductible, you have options:

  • Take out a loan from the bank
  • Hold off on making your claim
  • Consider payment plans offered by your insurance provider

Although not having the money to pay your deductible is anxiety-inducing, you have financial options to help you through. 

How to Add Comprehensive Car Insurance to Your Policy

If you already have an auto insurance policy, here’s how to add comprehensive coverage:

  1. Contact your insurance provider via telephone, an online portal, a website, or an app.
  2. You’ll have to share information with your insurance provider. Ensure you have access to the following information: your auto insurance policy number, the make, model, and year of your vehicle; vehicle identification number; and license plate number.
  3. Let your insurer know you’d like to add comprehensive coverage to your policy and which vehicles you’d like to be covered.

How much does comprehensive car insurance cost?

Comprehensive car insurance is typically cheaper than collision. It costs an average of $162 per year. If your car is worth less, it will be even cheaper to insure. Overall, the coverage is very affordable, and it can save you down the road. 

Can I add comprehensive car insurance if I don’t have collision coverage?

You may be wondering if you can have a comprehensive-only car insurance policy. Technically, you can. In some cases, having it might be beneficial. For example, comprehensive is still beneficial if you can’t afford full-coverage insurance.

However, in most cases where you’re often driving around other cars, you’ll also need collision coverage. Typically, it’s best to combine comprehensive and collision coverage. 

Comprehensive Car Insurance FAQs

Is comprehensive car insurance full coverage?

No, comprehensive car insurance isn’t full coverage. It won’t cover you in a collision with another car. 

What’s the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?

Collision coverage covers accidents with other vehicles and objects, whereas comprehensive coverage covers anything else, like weather-related damage and theft. 

Can I have a car insurance policy with comprehensive coverage only?

Technically you can have comprehensive-only coverage. The only instance you would comprehensive coverage only is when you’re not driving around other vehicles often.

What’s the benefit of having comprehensive car insurance?

You will be covered when your car is damaged but wasn’t caused by an accident. You’ll set yourself up for financial success when emergencies arise, rather than paying for it yourself. Technically you can have comprehensive-only coverage. The only instance you would comprehensive coverage only is when you’re not driving around other vehicles often.

What isn’t covered by comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover car accidents and collisions with other objects, like fences. 

Is Comprehensive Car Insurance Worth It?

Whether comprehensive car insurance is worth, it will depend on each situation. When making your decision, consider: 

  • Your financial situation. If you can’t afford a repair tomorrow, you might want to invest in it.
  • The value of your car. If it’s really old, it might not be worth getting it.
  • Your driving habits. If you drive a lot, you’re at a higher risk of facing situations where your car is damaged, making the coverage more important.
  • Where you live. Do you live in an area of high crime? Or do you go through a lot of damaging storms? In these situations, this coverage is essential.

If you’ve decided that comprehensive car insurance is the best option, it’s time to compare car insurance quotes.