Are you looking for a car insurance package that provides better protection than the bare minimum? Then comprehensive insurance is something that you may want to consider adding to your insurance plan.
In a nutshell, it’ll help cover events that are not explicitly related to a car accident but could still be expensive to repair.
Check out the rest of this guide to understand precisely what it covers, how it compares to collision, and which companies offer it at the lowest price.
What Is Comprehensive Coverage?
This type of insurance is an optional protection plan that you can add to your policy for an extra charge. It covers the damage to your car that did not result from a collision with another vehicle.
The common causes are fire, theft, or a falling tree. It’s not mandatory by law, but a car lender may request it. Moreover, it repays up to your car’s actual cash value (ACV).
The ACV is what your car is worth in the used car market at the moment the damage occurs. It may or may not have a deductible. It’s also worth mentioning that there are separate sections on the websites of one of the best insurance companies, under — what is comprehensive insurance. Progressive also offers a detailed guide, so you can check it out.
This insurance covers any damage to your car that didn’t happen in a crash with another vehicle. In detail, it commonly includes:
- natural disasters
- falling objects like trees or rocks
- civil disturbance and vandalism
Furthermore, if you collide with an animal while driving, your insurance company repays that damage if you have a comprehensive plan. Exactly what’s covered varies depending on the insurer, but you can expect all major companies to include the damage causes we listed here.
How Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Work?
It pays the actual cash value of the damage sustained up to your limits, minus any deductible. Your limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will compensate for any given accident, and your deductible is an amount you’ll be paying out of your pocket.
For instance, let’s imagine your 2019 Ford Explorer, with a comprehensive limit of $20,000 and a $500 deductible, was stolen. According to Kelley’s Blue Book, the value of that car is around $29,200.
Since this amount exceeds the limit, the insurance company will pay up to the limit, minus the deductible, equaling $19,500.
Usually, insurance agents suggest your comprehensive insurance deductible to be somewhere around $500.
Moreover, comprehensive insurance extends beyond your vehicle. In fact, it includes newly bought cars, temporary substitute vehicles, cars you are using but don’t own, etc.
In other words, insurance follows the driver and not the car. Nonetheless, let your insurance company know if you plan on using a new vehicle regularly.
When Do You Need Auto Comprehensive Insurance?
We would advise anybody with a newer vehicle who can purchase this type of coverage to do so. In fact, the repairs or replacement can be quite expensive—the average price of a new car in 2022 is higher than $40,000.
Furthermore, the majority of lenders will request that, as a part of the deal, you purchase both collision and comprehensive insurance.
Drivers of older vehicles should ask themselves if the value of their car is sufficient to justify additional coverage.
One good way to check that, suggested by the Insurance Information Institute, is to take the extra premium you’re paying for any additional coverages and multiply that number by ten. If the total is higher than the value of your car, it may be more cost-efficient to drop some coverage.
Nonetheless, collision coverage is the one that can raise the premium substantially. Comprehensive is comparably cheap, and it may be worth keeping, even for older vehicles.
What Doesn’t Comprehensive Vehicle Insurance Cover?
If you submit a comprehensive claim, it’s worth knowing what’s not covered. Collision damages, caused either by hitting another vehicle or an inanimate object, like fences or trees, are not included.
However, if your car is hit by a falling branch or a running animal, that is covered. Your medical expenses will not be paid under this coverage.
Furthermore, any costs related to damage to a third party will not be covered. This includes inflicted property damage, bodily injuries, and legal fees.
Average Cost of Comprehensive Car Insurance
In the United States, the average cost of comprehensive car insurance is approximately $160 per year. In addition, the average comprehensive claim amounts to somewhere around $1,300.
Moreover, when buying a comprehensive insurance policy, selecting a deductible amount is required. As we have already mentioned, most insurers propose a $500 deductible, which represents the amount you pay when filing comprehensive claims.
If there’s covered damage, the insurance company charges you for the amount of the authorized claim minus the deductible.
However, the insurer will declare the vehicle a total loss in case the vehicle damage costs are close to or higher than its value. Then, you can choose to repair the car or accept the payot from the insurance company without the deductible.
If you choose the former, your car will be considered a salvage vehicle and may be unqualified for coverage from most insurers.
If you choose a higher deductible, you can lower the comprehensive coverage premium cost. However, you have to pay that amount to repair your vehicle in case you have a claim.
Let’s now say something about car theft insurance. Comprehensive insurance typically covers theft and repair costs from break-in damages. In fact, this type of insurance is the only one reimbursing you for a stolen car or break-in damage.
More specifically, the insurance company pays for stolen vehicles, either the actual cash value of your car or the cost to replace it. That depends on your policy’s terms.
The Cheapest Companies Offering Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage
If you’re working on a tight budget but still want full coverage, we have good news for you. A significant number of well-regarded insurance companies offer an affordable comprehensive plan. Overall, we found no link between the prices and the insurer’s quality.
Below are the annual premiums for full coverage from the six most affordable companies in the US. You can choose comprehensive insurance from GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, USAA, Progressive, and Nationwide, at the most affordable prices.
|Company||Full Coverage Annual Premium|
However, the states regulate car insurance, so the cheapest ones for full coverage nationally may not be the most affordable ones in your state. Carsurance found that GEICO is most likely to be the cheapest in your state, as it has the lowest rates in 24 states and Washington DC.
How to Shop for Comprehensive Car Insurance
As with all insurance coverages, the prices and the quality vary significantly based on the company. That’s why you can save up to a couple of thousand dollars and get high-quality insurance with some research.
The best place to start is by reading our auto insurance reviews. You can find how all major US insurance companies perform in the customer service and financial strength departments, as well as which discounts and optional coverages they offer.
Once you check that out, make a shortlist of the companies that best suit your profile. Include anywhere from 5 to 10 companies that offer comprehensive insurance.
Then request a quote from all of them with the limits of your choice. This takes just a couple of hours, and you’ll see a significant variance in terms of price.
Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, it’s worth shopping around if your home state allows price optimization (the practice of adjusting a premium based on data that isn’t related to the risk a driver presents).
It unfairly discriminates against some people, and it enables charging different groups different prices for the same product. If you are willing to leave for a better deal, your insurer will offer you their best prices to stay competitive.
The Benefits of Having Comprehensive Automobile Coverage
Primarily, the benefits of having comprehensive are reflected in the protection it brings. Some coverages, like car theft or flood coverage, will be more useful in certain states. For example, Texas, Florida, and California lead the nation in car theft.
Furthermore, getting comprehensive is a smart choice if you live in a state where natural disasters often happen, like California, Florida, Washington, New Mexico, New York, Alabama, Oregon, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Texas.
However, insurance companies base their prices on data that predicts the likelihood of a loss. This means they will charge more for this coverage in such locations.
Even though comprehensive insurance isn’t required by state law, it’s one of the best decisions you can make for your car.
In most instances, comprehensive is a worthwhile addition to your policy, as it protects you from theft, natural disasters, crashes with animals, and similar hazards.
However, in states where the theft rate is low and natural disasters are uncommon, you may consider driving without comprehensive insurance.
Be that as it may, given that this protection plan is not as expensive as collision coverage, we would strongly advise the majority of drivers to add it to their policy.
As a matter of fact, it is definitely far better to get full coverage from an affordable insurer than to choose limited protection from a more expensive one.
People Also Ask
What is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?
A comparison between comprehensive vs. collision insurance shows these are two different types of coverage designed to complement each other. Collision coverage protects you against the damage to your car in a crash, while comprehensive pays for non-collision losses.
Both of these coverages include only the insured’s vehicle up to its actual cash value and nothing else. This means that no medical expenses or third-party cars are covered. A lender will often require both comprehensive and collision coverage in the lease agreement.
How do I know if I have comprehensive insurance?
If you bought your car using a loan, it was probably required in the agreement. Therefore, you can check the contract or reach the lender for more details.
If you purchased your car insurance separately, you’d have had to add comprehensive coverage since it’s not mandatory. If you aren’t sure, check your policy and feel free to contact your agent.
Why is it important to have comprehensive car insurance?
To have full coverage, it’s essential to protect your vehicle from theft, natural disasters, falling objects, and animals on the road, all of which this coverage provides. It’s crucial to buy comprehensive coverage if you recently purchased a new vehicle.
The price of a new car is higher than ever, and repairing or replacing it without insurance is a substantial expense.
What’s the deductible for comprehensive auto insurance?
This is the amount you’ll pay out of your pocket for each covered claim, and it varies based on your plan. Note that the lower the deductible is, the higher the premium will be.
If the damage is $4,000, and your deductible is $1,000, the insurance company will pay you $3,000. You can choose to lower the deductible or not have it on your comprehensive coverage.
Does comprehensive insurance cover rental cars?
Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, your rental car will be covered if you already have comprehensive on your policy.
In addition, if you don’t have it or your limits are insufficient, there’s still something you can do. In fact, you can buy a Loss Damage Waiver from a rental company, as it replaces comprehensive coverage.
Does comprehensive cover theft?
Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, this protection plan repays you if your car is stolen, and let’s also mention that it is the only insurance that does so. Even though the exact details vary depending on the insurer, all major insurance companies cover theft under this particular coverage. In addition, comprehensive insurance also covers repair costs from break-in damages.