This article is part five in a series on auto insurance coverage. Catch up on part one, part two, part three and part four.
Did a heavy hailstorm shatter your windshield? Did someone steal your car while you were at a concert? Did a tree branch fall on your parked car?
Hopefully not! But if any of these types of scenarios were to play out, your auto insurance could help. If you carry comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, you’d likely have some protection in place to help cover the costs of repairs associated with these types of unexpected incidents.
Should you consider this coverage? Let’s take a look.
What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?
Comprehensive coverage generally covers repairs or replacement to your vehicle that are caused by events “other than collision.” Despite its name, it is not comprehensive of all types of damages. Rather, it can help cover damage to your vehicle that is not caused by a direct collision with another vehicle.
This coverage tends to be for those situations that are out of a motorist’s control—in insurance speak, these are often referred to as “acts of nature” or “acts of God.” This can include:
- Natural disasters: tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, hailstorms
- Falling objects
- Vandalism or theft
- Fire or explosions
- Civil commotions
- Damage from direct impact with animals (not if you swerve to avoid an animal that then cause a collision)
You’ll note it does not include collisions where the motorist had some sort of control over the accident; that would generally be covered under collision auto insurance. Think of it this way: collision is typically a human’s fault; comprehensive is typically nature’s (or luck’s) fault. Collision and comprehensive are sometimes packaged together by insurance companies and referred to as “full coverage.”
Is comprehensive insurance required?
States do not require comprehensive or collision coverage. However, it can be a good idea to consider it, especially if your vehicle would be costly to repair. If you are leasing or financing your car, your lender will likely require auto insurance including both comprehensive and collision coverage.
How much comprehensive insurance do I need?
When determining how much comprehensive insurance coverage to consider, you’ll want to consider how often and where you’re using your vehicle, as well as the value of your vehicle, both in terms of total value and the repair costs associated with the type vehicle you drive.
Unlike collision coverage, comprehensive coverage often covers those things that are simply a “stroke of bad luck.” In this way, the more you drive does not necessarily increase your risk of having something happen to your car that would be covered under comprehensive coverage.
However, if you tend to park in areas where there is a lot of theft or vandalism your risk could increase. If you go camping with your car in heavily wooded areas often, your risk may increase, too. Take note of where you use your car to determine how high your risk of “bad luck” may be.
Could you afford to repair or replace your car out of pocket if disaster were to strike? If the answer is no, then you’ll want to seriously consider adding comprehensive to your auto insurance policy. As always, it’s best to consult a licensed insurance agent directly about your specific situation and vehicle, but as a rule, if you need help paying for the “what ifs,” auto insurance and its various coverages can help with that.
But if your car isn’t worth much and it is not leased or financed, you may find that the cost to repair or replace it may end up being less than the cost for the coverage. It’s wise to do the math or talk to an agent to find the best option for you.
A licensed InsuraMatch advisor can help walk you through the process of determining both how much coverage to consider and how much your premium would be for your vehicle. Give us a call today at (844) 819-2221.
Whether you call it Mother Nature, bad luck, or karma—comprehensive coverage is there to help protect you financially from the ills that could befall your vehicle. Reviewing your current auto insurance policy, your vehicle details and your situation with a licensed insurance agent can help you determine whether comprehensive insurance is right for you.
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