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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:

  • Fires

  • Natural disasters, like thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes

  • Theft

  • Vandalism

  • Riots

  • Damage caused by animals, such as hitting a deer or a cow

  • Falling objects

  • Windshield damage[1]

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.[1] But the amount you’ll pay will depend on your claims history, age, driving record, location, and other factors.

Comprehensive deductible

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.[2]

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How to get cheap car insurance

If you want to save money on car insurance, here are five actions you can take:

Comparison shop

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.

Comprehensive car Insurance FAQs

  • Is comprehensive car insurance required by law?

    No, comprehensive car insurance isn’t required by law. But if you finance or lease your car, a lender might require you to carry comprehensive coverage until your vehicle is paid off or your lease expires.[1]

  • Is comprehensive insurance worth it?

    Whether it makes sense to buy comprehensive insurance depends on your unique financial situation, coverage preferences, and the value of your vehicle.

    Comprehensive coverage might not be worth it if you have a high deductible and your car’s value is low. For example, it probably wouldn’t make sense to have comprehensive coverage if your deductible was $1,000 and your vehicle was only worth $500.

    On the flip side, carrying comprehensive coverage might make sense if your car’s market value is relatively high or you can’t afford to pay for damages out of pocket.[2]

  • What does comprehensive car insurance exclude?

    Although comprehensive insurance covers non-collision events, it excludes collision events, such as damages to your car from a collision, damages to other vehicles from a collision, and medical expenses for you or your passengers.

  • Should you have comprehensive insurance on an old car?

    The answer depends on your unique situation. You’ll likely be required to carry comprehensive coverage if you lease or finance an old car.

    If that’s not the case, it depends on your car’s value and whether you would feel comfortable paying for non-collision damages to your vehicle on your own.

  • What is the best way to compare car insurance?

    One of the best ways to compare rates and coverages is to compare car insurance quotes online. This allows you to compare quotes from multiple insurance providers at the same time, helping you find the best car insurance policy for your specific needs.

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  1. Insurance Information Institute . "What is covered by collision and comprehensive auto insurance?." Accessed December 7, 2022
  2. Connecticut Insurance Department . "Auto Insurance - What Affects Premiums?." Accessed December 7, 2022
Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown

Jerry has been writing about personal finance for over four years. He started writing about personal finance in 2017 to document his journey to get rid of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Two years ago, he pivoted away from writing for his own blog to focus on writing for major publishers like Bankrate, Forbes Advisor and Credible. He covers a variety of topics, including insurance, debt management and personal loans.