Auto Insurance Policies 101: Optional Coverage-Comprehensive


Comprehensive automobile insurance coverage is very similar to collision insurance, because it covers the damage to your own vehicle and is not required under state insurance laws. Loan companies will request to be named as a lien holder on the insurance policy for a financed car and in many cases will set a maximum deductible for any damages covered by a comprehensive loss.

The difference between collision insurance and comprehensive coverage is what causes the damage. With collision insurance the damages you cause in an at fault accident to your own car are covered and with comprehensive insurance damages caused to your vehicle by any “unknown party” or “an act of God” are covered.

Comprehensive automobile insurance typically covers damages caused by:

  • Vandalism,
  • Flood,
  • Hurricane,
  • Theft,
  • Fire, and
  • Hitting a deer or animal.

Hitting an animal while driving is considered a comprehensive loss and not covered under the collision portion of an insurance policy. A fallen tree in a windstorm may be covered under comprehensive or may not be if you informed your insurance company that your car was parked in a garage. It is important to read your comprehensive insurance policy for the exact coverage details, as there may be some exclusions or limits under certain situations.

The same deductible rules apply to comprehensive automobile insurance as do to collision coverage. You will need to pay the deductible before the insurance policy will pay the cost of repairs that exceed the deductible. Comprehensive coverage will cover the cost of repairs up to the fair market value of your car. It is important to remember that fair market value may not be the cost of replacing your car in the even of a total loss. This may also mean that your insurance will not cover the full balance of a loan you may have on a financed car. You may want to have additional gap coverage or an insurance policy with a stated value if you have a financed automobile.

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