Comprehensive car insurance provides payment for damages to your car from various non-collision events, including things beyond your control, like theft, vandalism, and thunderstorms. Although states don’t require you to carry comprehensive coverage, a lender may require you to if you lease or finance your vehicle.
But purchasing this coverage can be a good way to protect your finances, even if you aren’t required to. Here’s what comprehensive car insurance typically does and doesn’t cover, how comprehensive claims work, and when it makes sense to have this coverage.
What comprehensive car insurance covers
Comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair or replace your car after a non-collision event occurs. It can complement liability insurance, which only covers damage and injuries you cause to others while driving.
This coverage isn’t required by law, but your lender may require you to purchase full-coverage car insurance — which includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages — if you finance or lease your vehicle.
Comprehensive coverage typically covers:
Natural disasters, like thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes
Damage caused by animals, such as hitting a deer or a cow
Comprehensive insurance doesn’t cover damages to your vehicles or other vehicles caused by a collision — that’s where collision insurance comes into play.
Comprehensive vs. collision insurance
Similar to comprehensive insurance, collision insurance is optional if you’re not leasing or financing your vehicle. While comprehensive coverage protects your car against non-collision events, collision insurance helps repair or replace your car if it’s been damaged or destroyed as a result of a collision with another vehicle or object, such as a telephone pole or guardrail.
How much does comprehensive insurance cost?
The average price of comprehensive insurance is around $134 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. But the amount you’ll pay will depend on your claims history, age, driving record, location, and other factors.
Your comprehensive deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for a covered event before your insurance policy benefits kick in.
For example, if your deductible is $800 and a flood causes $2,000 in damages to your vehicle, your insurance company would cover $1,200 of the damages.
However, if your car gets totaled during a flood, your insurer would only reimburse you for your car’s market value, minus your deductible.
How to get cheap car insurance
If you want to save money on car insurance, here are five actions you can take:
One of the best ways to find the cheapest car insurance for you is to compare quotes from multiple insurers. You can request quotes from individual insurers or compare multiple quotes all at once through an online insurance marketplace.
Bundle with home insurance
Some insurance companies will give you a discount for purchasing multiple insurance policies together, like your home and auto insurance. To determine whether this is the right move for you, make sure to compare how much it would cost to buy the policies from the same company as opposed to multiple companies.
Ask about additional discounts
Many insurers offer a wide range of discounts, such as defensive driving, good driver, and loyalty discounts. Make sure you ask your insurer about the discounts you qualify for.
Improve your credit
Many states allow insurance providers to review your credit history when determining your auto insurance rate. If you have a low credit score, you may end up paying more for insurance than someone with good credit. Some steps you can take to improve your credit score include paying down any debt you have and paying your bills on time.
Raise your deductible
You can get a cheaper rate by selecting a higher deductible. Just make sure you choose an amount you feel comfortable paying out of pocket if your car is damaged or destroyed.