What is Comprehensive Car Insurance

Susan Weber
Comprehensive theft protection is one of many types of car insurance.
Comprehensive theft protection is one of many types of car insurance.

If you are in the market for car insurance you may be wondering "What is comprehensive car insurance and do I need it?" The answer is based on your particular situation.

What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance

Comprehensive car insurance covers situations when your car is damaged by events other than auto collisions. Your car is covered by comprehensive insurance in situations such as:

  • Cracked and broken windshields
  • Auto theft
  • Auto vandalism
  • Damage due to damage from an animal
  • Damage due to fallen trees or objects
  • Weather damage such as hail
  • Flood damage
  • Fire damage

Reasons to Purchase Comprehensive Car Insurance

As with any type of car insurance, the reason for purchasing comprehensive car insurance is to offset the cost of repair. For example, it may cost up to $1,000 to replace a stolen airbag. A rock tossed up onto your windshield by a truck could quickly crack or break your windshield, resulting in the need for an expensive replacement. With comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy, your out-of-pocket expense for a repair would only be the amount of the deductible on your comprehensive coverage. So, for example, if a tree falls on the top of your car the repair cost could exceed $2,500. With a $500 deductible your out-of-pocket cost would only be $500, versus the full $2,500 without comprehensive coverage.

Who Should Buy?

Comprehensive coverage is often viewed as optional insurance. Some drivers decide to waive comprehensive coverage in order to lower their insurance bill. You should think twice about declining comprehensive coverage. The costs of repairs and vandalism can add up fast. If you are trying to save money on your car insurance, a better thought might be to have comprehensive coverage but increase your deductible so that the cost for the coverage is reduced.

Comprehensive insurance will pay for a broken windshield.

Comprehensive coverage is particularly important if you:

  • Have a new car
  • Have an expensive car
  • Park your car overnight in a crime area
  • Regularly park your car where it can be easily damaged, such as under trees or close to a playground or golf course
  • Drive in an area known for windshield cracking, hail storms or floods
  • Drive frequently on highways where rocks may chip or crack the windshield

When to Decline

If you are reviewing your auto insurance coverage in an attempt to lower your overall insurance cost it might be tempting to drop your comprehensive coverage and just keep your collision insurance.Dropping comprehensive coverage might make sense if your car is over ten years old or is in very poor condition. The cost to repair a car roof after a tree crashes in, or the cost to repair the front bumper after hitting a deer, may be very expensive. On the other hand, the chances of these types of damage are rare. You have a greater chance of having your car vandalized or your windshield catching a flying rock thrown up by the truck in front of you on the highway. The costs to repair these common damages could be covered by your comprehensive car insurance.

It Might Be Required

If you are still asking "What is comprehensive car insurance and why should I include it in my policy?" you should be sure to check your contract if you finance or lease your car. Comprehensive coverage may be required. It is very common for a lien holder to require specific types of insurance coverage on the car, including comprehensive coverage.

What is Comprehensive Car Insurance