Like a moody teenager, auto insurance likes to be difficult to figure out. Understanding the difference between coverage options and figuring out what you need is not all that easy. In this blog, I am going to explain the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage and help you figure out what coverage is best for your vehicle. Hint: the answer is almost always both collision and comprehensive!
What is collision coverage?
Collision coverage is exactly what it sounds like. It is a part of your auto policy that only covers physical damage due to an accident when your car hits another car or an inanimate object. Collision coverage is also paid regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Whether you back out of a parking spot and hit another car because you forgot to check behind you; you hit a pole in the grocery store parking lot and crack your headlight; or someone else hits your car on the highway, all of these examples would fall under collision coverage.
Why is collision coverage important?
Hitting another car or object like a pole, tree, or guardrail, can cause damage that would be costly to repair without insurance. Collision accidents can cause extensive damage and the coverage tends to be a bit pricey. However, this can be effectively managed by shopping your insurance (Oh hey, we do that!).
What is comprehensive insurance?
The easiest way to explain comprehensive coverage is everything that collision does not cover. Which is why it is sometimes called “Other than Collision” by some insurance carriers. Comprehensive covers your vehicle for things like weather conditions (golf ball-sized hail, torrential rains, etc.), contact with animals like deer, and even theft or vandalism. It is important to note that hitting a deer or other animal is fairly common, and although it seems like this would be collision, it is actually only covered under comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive differs from collision greatly, in not only coverage, but also pricing. Also, comprehensive coverage tends to be a lot cheaper than collision.
What coverage do I need?
Because collision and comprehensive are essentially opposite coverages, if you want the best coverage for your vehicle, it is recommended that you get both types.. However, if your budget only allows for one type of coverage, collision is definitely the route to take. If you take out a loan or lease on a vehicle, this might even be a requirement by the lender.
I know I have hyped up both coverages and now you may be wondering what collision and comprehensive don’t cover. Although when combined these two coverages provide great protection for your vehicle, some things still aren’t covered like regular maintenance or mechanical issues, any modifications or customizations you have made to the car, etc.
Do I need comprehensive or collision?
In the vast majority of cases, getting both collision and comprehensive coverage is the right decision. If the cost to replace your vehicle is less than the deductible, collision or comprehensive insurance probably isn’t worth it.
And while I love my 1994 F-150 with 350,000 miles on it, its actual value is probably less than my $1,000 deductible. So, I personally skip the coverage for this vehicle.
Now that you know much more about comprehensive and collision coverage, all you need to do is get the right policy to match [insert shameless plug] and avoid the deer!