No, not collision. The other one. 

Comprehensive coverage is one of three basics that make up what’s commonly called a “full coverage” auto policy.

  1. Liability
  2. Collision
  3. Comprehensive

Liability insurance, you may have already learned, helps cover claims made against your insurance policy. Collision coverage pays damages to your own vehicle (regardless of who makes the driving mistake). There are still plenty of cash-sucking scenarios, though, left to plan for. That’s where comprehensive coverage comes in.

Liability CoverageBodily injury/property damage if you are at fault or if the person at fault is an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist.Doesn’t cover damage to your own car should you be at fault.
Collision Insurance CoverageDamage to objects (not animals or people) and vehicles as a result of a collision regardless of fault. Hit-and-run accidents.Doesn’t cover damage due to "Acts of God" (see Comprehensive).
Comprehensive Coverage"Acts of God"/things out of a person’s control, like fire or flood.Doesn’t cover medical expenses/auto damage due to a collision.

Think you have a feel for the basics? Let’s talk about the scenarios in which comprehensive comes in handy.

But first: are you looking to adjust your auto insurance coverage levels or just curious about how low your car insurance rates can really go? Take a few minutes to compare auto insurance with Insurify to see just how much you could be saving…and even buy a new policy online or over the phone. Explore, Compare, Discover today!

What does comprehensive insurance cover? 

Rounding out your insurance plan with comprehensive coverage ensures that “Acts of God” and other isolated events won’t wipe you out financially. In some states, this kind of coverage is actually referred to as other than collision. This “other-than” coverage includes vehicle or glass damage attributed to the following:

  • Critters and other animals (gnawed-on wiring or car vs. deer damage, for example)
  • Falling objects (a boulder or a loose piece of concrete from above)
  • Natural disasters (fires, floods, etc.)
  • Riots or other civil disturbances (chaos can result in property damages)

Is comprehensive insurance required?

No. At least not as far as state laws are concerned. But, if you are one of the many who finance their ride, you probably already agreed to it. Being asked to insure your car with comprehensive insurance and collision insurance is a pretty common practice in this case. And the reason is simple: the auto lender wants to protect their investment as much as you do.

What does comprehensive insurance not cover? 

Comprehensive insurance covers a lot, but not everything. A good rule of thumb? If another insurance basic (liability and collision) covers it, comprehensive does not. In general, you cannot use comprehensive for:

  • Collision-related damage to anyone’s vehicle
  • Injury expenses for yourself (personal injury protection) or anyone else involved

How much does comprehensive insurance pay out in damages?

Comprehensive insurance pays the full cost of damage or loss after the deductible is paid. When getting a comprehensive insurance quote, you have a choice of deductible amounts. A higher deductible generally forces the monthly insurance rate (or premium) down.

Let’s see how a typical comprehensive coverage event plays out in terms of the deductible and the ultimate cost to the insured:

Donnika parks her van in a lot overnight.

A budding street artist decides to use the side of her van as their own personal canvas.

The repair cost to repaint Donnika’s now very colorful van? $900.

Under her comprehensive auto insurance:

Donnika pays $100 (her deductible amount) towards the $900 estimate.

Donnika’s insurance company pays the remaining $800.

Does it always make good sense to carry comprehensive coverage?

When deciding to drop or add comprehensive coverage, a few things can help inform your decision:

  • What’s the area you live and drive in like?
  • How about the crime rate?
  • Weather?
  • Any suspicious animals lounging around (or jumping across the roads at night)?

Also, how dependent are you on this vehicle? Is the actual cash value of your car worth the increase in monthly premium and deductible you’ll pay? It’s common to include comprehensive coverage in an insurance quote. But ultimately, the choice is yours.

How well do you understand comprehensive coverage? 

Comprehensive coverage is pretty easy to understand once you learn how it relates to other insurance—especially the other two basics (liability and collision insurance coverage).

Test yourself! See how well you understand comprehensive coverage right now:

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Comprehensive insurance coverage is a beneficial, but optional coverage (except when a lender requires it). Whether you have to have it or not, an affordable car insurance policy can often be found by playing with deductible and premium amounts. Remember, you’ve got this! Research well, and on your own, you can find a cost vs. coverage balance that delights you!

Insurify can help you secure better, cheaper, or newer car insurance coverage in a matter of minutes. Adjust coverage levels and deductibles with a click of a button. Your savings journey starts here!

Updated April 20, 2021

Jeannette Wisniewski is a technology writer whose passion is encouraging people to engage with technology by making it more understandable and more interesting. Though she enjoys writing business copy for a wide range of subjects, she is most inspired by emerging tech and its applications. She is a graduate of San Jose State University, a Georgia Peach at heart, and happy to call Boise, ID home.