Comprehensive vs Collision Insurance

Do you get comprehensive and collision insurance confused? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Both comprehensive and collision are types of car insurance that cover damage to your vehicle. But there are some important differences too. So let’s look further at the question, “What is comprehensive insurance vs collision?”

While both coverages help you when your vehicle is damaged the key is understanding how they cover different situations. Comprehensive steps in when your car is damaged from a storm, a theft, hits an animal, and other incidents that are beyond your control and typically don’t involve another vehicle. Collision insurance is for those times when your vehicle hits something, like another car or an object.

In a nutshell, comprehensive is used when something other than a car damages your car while collision is your go-to when your car hits something. Of course there’s more to it than that, so let’s take a closer look at the differences between comprehensive and collision insurance.

What Does Comprehensive Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive car insurance pays for damage caused by accidents that don’t involve colliding with another vehicle or object. You’ll be thankful you have comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is ever damaged in a storm — whether it’s just cosmetic damage from hail or something more serious, like a tree fell on it. Theft and vandalism are other common situations where having a comprehensive plan will save the day. It also steps when you hit an animal and are in a flood or fire.

Comprehensive insurance isn’t required by any state, but it typically is required by your lender if you have a loan or a lease.

What Does Collision Insurance Cover?

Collision car insurance on the other hand, helps cover damage to your vehicle if it was in an accident with another vehicle or an object. It also kicks in whether you were at-fault or not.

Collision acts as a financial buffer for your vehicle if it’s hit by another driver, if you hit an object like a mailbox or a tree, or if you hit black ice and end up in a rollover. In these situations, collision coverage will help with the out-of-pocket expenses of repairing or replacing your car. It doesn’t cover medical expenses or damage to other vehicles. That’s what medical expense coverage and damage liability coverage are for.

Like comprehensive insurance, collision isn’t required by any state but it’s often required by the lender if you have a lease or loan.

Our at-a-glance chart demonstrates when collision insurance kicks in or your comprehensive insurance plays a part.

Comprehensive Car Insurance
Collision Car Insurance
A storm blows a tree onto your car
You drive into a tree
Your car is stolen or vandalized
You are in a collision with another vehicle
A fire or natural disaster damages your vehicle
Your car is in a rollover accident
An animal collides with your car
Hitting a pothole and it damages your vehicle

Do I Need to Decide Between Comprehensive and Collision Insurance?

No, you don’t need to choose between comprehensive and collision insurance. In fact, your best bet may be to select both, since they work hand in hand to protect your vehicle from damage. But, there may be some situations where you’d want to choose one or the other. To determine if you need collision or comprehensive coverage, consider the following factors.

Car value. If you have a new, expensive vehicle then both types of coverage are a great idea. But if you’re driving an old vehicle that’s not worth much, then you may not need both coverages and might be better off saving to buy a new vehicle.

Vehicle use. A car that’s rarely used and spends most of its time safely tucked in a garage may not need comprehensive or collision coverage. Or, if your vehicle is never driven but sits outside you may want comprehensive coverage and not collision.

Your personality. Can you afford to fix your vehicle or buy a new one if there is damage? Or would you rather have peace of mind from collision and comprehensive coverage no matter what?

Now that you know some of the differences between comprehensive and collision insurance — connect with your American Family Insurance agent to explore our comprehensive and collision coverage options and see how we can help get the peace of mind on the road.

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