Understanding Comprehensive Coverage
Liability, collision, comprehensive...the elements of auto coverage can be a little hard to understand, but not too hard, especially after you read this. Here are the basics:
- Liability coverage helps pay for injury to another person, his or her medical bills, and property damage from an accident if you are at fault for a covered incident.
- Collision helps you pay to fix your covered car if it is damaged in a covered accident, even if it's not your fault.
- Comprehensive coverage is a little less obvious, but the meaning is simple. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for covered damages to your vehicle from covered incidents, other than crashes.
Drivers in most states are required to have liability insurance on their vehicles. However, collision and comprehensive are coverages that are optional (unless you are making payments on your car, then the lienholder probably requires you to carry both collision and comprehensive coverage).
Common Comprehensive Coverage Scenarios
There are common situations that lead to vehicle damage, and comprehensive coverage might apply:
- Scenario #1: Theft
You go out of town to visit a friend for the weekend and you parked in front of her house. Your car was locked and fine when you went to bed, but the next morning it was gone. Comprehensive coverage may apply.
- Scenario #2: Car vs. Deer
You were driving through a heavily wooded area at dusk and a deer ran out in front of your car. It was impossible to avoid hitting it. Thankfully you were not hurt, but your car didn't fare as well. Comprehensive coverage may appy.
- Scenario #3: Windshield Chips
You notice a chip in your windshield. If you have comprehensive coverage, it may cover the cost to fix the chip. If you don't get the chip fixed, and it causes the windshield to crack, that cost may be covered as well, but you will have to pay your deductible. If your deductible is higher than the cost of that windshield, you would be ahead to pay for the new windshield yourself.
- Scenario #4: Hail
You keep your car in the garage at home, but there's no parking garage at work so you have to park outside. Usually that's not a big deal, but one spring afternoon, a huge hail storm hit, and your car was left covered in dents. No worries--if you have comprehensive coverage, it will help cover the repair cost minus your deductible.
We really hope you don't find yourself in any of these situations, but if you do, wouldn't it be nice to have comprehensive coverage to help? Bear in mind that different insurance companies might have different exclusions, so you should make sure you understand your policy to avoid unpleasant surprises. Your agent will be able to answer any questions you have about your policy, so don't hesitate to ask.
The product information contained on this website is informational only and not a statement of contract. All coverage options are subject to the provisions of the policy purchased and details of the policyholder's situation.