What is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

The word “comprehensive” literally means “complete; including all or nearly all elements of something.” That is a pretty good way of describing comprehensive car insurance. It’s what plugs the gaps of regular auto insurance.

What is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance covers damages to your car that are not a result of collisions. (Which is why it is called “other than collision” in some states. If you see that in your policy, you’ll know it’s talking about comprehensive insurance.)

Damage covered by comprehensive car insurance

Theft. If your car is stolen and you have comprehensive car insurance, you receive the value of your car in cash. With it you can place a downpayment on a new car or buy something of equal or lesser value.

Manmade events both accidental and intentional. In other words, any people-caused event that adds your car to the collateral damage. This includes vandalism (deliberate scratches to paint, smashed side windows), riot-caused damage, explosions (both intentional and accidental), and fires.

Damage to windshield or windows. The benefit of comprehensive insurance is that you don’t always need to prove who was responsible for the damage. If you wake up to that kind of damage, you can still make the insurance claim. Because any damage to windshield or windows is automatically a higher risk for the passengers, check if coverage for this is deductible-free.

Damage caused by inanimate objects. This should be a relief if you’ve already woken up to car damage because of a falling tree limb, or had to deal with random chips and cracks from stones and rocks kicked up by car tires (yours or anyone else’s). You can now make a claim to cover repairs.

Damage caused by the weather. As we have seen in recent events, flooding can come at the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected places. Car damage can practically be total. Comprehensive car insurance covers repairs for flooding, hail, any wind-carried objects, and any storm- or lightning-induced problems.

Damage in animal-related accidents. If your car is involved in an accident caused by an unexpected animal crossing or movement, you are still covered for any damages to your car.

Is Comprehensive Car Insurance Necessary?

Some write comprehensive car insurance out of their policies, seeing it as an unnecessary addition that just raises the premium. After all, the described events don’t happen every day, and sometimes they don’t even happen when you’re driving.

While comprehensive car insurance is not a federally required part of auto insurance, it does help you cover events out of your control. You might see chips and cracks to paint as minor in the long run for what you pay, but a flash flood or sudden fire would be a major reason to be thankful for that extra expense.

On the other hand, if you are still in the process of paying for or financing your car, comprehensive car insurance is probably a requirement. It’s a good requirement at that, so that at no point will you need to foot the bill for both the repair and the loan.

All around, until or unless the worth of your car becomes equal to or lesser than the premium you pay, it’s a good protective measure.

James Donaldson

I like to blog about insurance, health and the great outdoors. Memphis born and raised.