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Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Auto Insurance Coverage



Whether you choose comprehensive or collision insurance, neither of them will pay more than the value of the car or repair it more than what is necessary to restore it to the condition prior to the accident.It is common knowledge that it is wise to insure every asset you own. Car insurance comes into question when an accident occurs―in other words, when your car gets damaged. Like all other insurance policies, in this case too, you have to pay a certain amount as premium, and if and when your car is involved in an accident that damages your vehicle, the cost to repair it will be covered by the company.

Of course, it isn’t as straight forward as it sounds, coverage depends on a lot of other factors besides an accident, like the amount of damage, the situation, the cause, etc. Here, Buzzle will explain the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage, both of which are important points to considered while buying a policy.

Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage

  • It covers all types of damages that are caused other than a collision, i.e., natural calamities, getting crushed under a falling tree, etc.
  • It covers the expenses for repairs as long as the cost of repairs does not exceed the actual price of the car.

Collision Auto Insurance Coverage

  • As the name implies, it covers the damages caused due to a collision, be it a car or an object (wall, pole, etc.)
  • Like its counterpart, if the cost of repair exceeds the car’s cash value, it may be declared a total loss.

The Major Differences

Comprehensive Collision
It covers costs of damages that may occur due to everything and anything but a collision. It covers costs of damages that occur only due to a collision.
The damages include:
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Natural disasters, like hailstorms, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.
  • Colliding with animals (mostly deer)
  • Broken windshields due to rocks
  • Falling objects
The damages are covered if and only if your car:
  • Rolls Over
  • Collides with another vehicle
  • Collides with any object, like a lamp post, an electric pole, etc.
Purchasing Requisites
Coverage can be purchased as a standalone policy, or even in combination with some other policy. It is compulsory to purchase this coverage with liability and comprehensive coverage.
Coverage Cost
It is reasonably priced and has a low deductible. It is more expensive, therefore is purchased mostly with a USD 500 (or higher) deductible.
Driver’s Responsibility
You are not responsible for the damage, since it occurs due to natural mishaps. You are the one in control of the vehicle, and so you are completely responsible for the damage.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

Comprehensive Collision
Value of Your Car
If your car is new, it is beneficial to opt for this policy. If the car is not so expensive, and if you have to pay a higher premium than the actual cash value of your car (plus the deductible), it makes no sense to get this coverage. This is because you would already be paying an equal amount of what your insurance company would pay. Again, if your car is relatively expensive, it would be safer to buy this policy. And, if you’ve taken a loan for the same, some lenders would insist that you buy this coverage, because if you aren’t covered and your car gets damaged due to a collision, you may have to repay the entire loan, without getting anything for the vehicle, whose value would have depreciated due to the accident. If your car isn’t very expensive, you might as well pay for the damages and repair it yourself instead of paying your insurer.
Where Do You Live
If you live in an area that is prone to theft, vandalism, natural disasters, etc., or if it is a deer-infested area or a wooded area (where trees are likely to fall), you should opt for this coverage. If you live in an accident-prone area, or an area with winding roads and blind corners (where collisions can occur frequently), get this coverage promptly.
How Much Do You Drive
If you do not drive very often, your car can be more susceptible to natural mishaps. Also, if your car is old and has low mileage, it is not advisable to buy this insurance. On the other hand, if you drive frequently, specially in the risk zones mentioned in the previous point, you may need this coverage. If you do not drive too often, you are less likely to meet with an accident. In that case, you need not opt for this coverage. If, however, you do drive a lot, especially in urban areas, chances are high that your car may crash or collide into another car or object. Also, your age and experience matter while driving, if you are not very experienced, you may meet with an accident with the simplest of turns and diversions. In that case, this coverage is vital.

Things to Remember

  • Preferably, choose a higher deductible, as it lowers your premium. However, a high deductible means that you pay more on your own. If you choose a high deductible to reduce the premium amount, make sure you have enough money saved to pay your deductible when you need your insurance.
  • Generally, your policy will reimburse you on the current cash value of your car, and not the original value. And cars depreciate in value very quickly. So, if your car is slightly old and has less market value, then it makes no sense to get a policy or pay additional premium. It may end up costing more than your car is worth.
  • If your car is damaged by an uninsured driver, your collision deductible can be paid by means of a collision deductible waiver. For this, you need to buy a collision deductible waiver along with your collision coverage.
  • When you get a quote for car insurance (including loss coverage), make sure you know what that coverage will not pay.
  • Your policies will not pay for the losses occurred while you transport people for a charge, or damage to car accessories, or any other damage that occurs due to wear and tear. All this falls under a different policy.

The best coverage is the one that repairs your vehicle when you have a claim. Comprehensive coverage is a little cheaper, and damages due to natural calamities are not uncommon. Collision coverage, on the other hand, will help cover your expenses when you yourself are at fault. The only way to be certain you are fully protected is to purchase both comprehensive as well as collision coverage.

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