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What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

6 Minute Read

She dug a key into the side of your pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive and slashed a hole in all four tires. Then, she took a Louisville Slugger and bashed in both of your headlights and carved her name into the leather seats. Or, maybe a deer bolted in front of your car on that country road takin’ you home. Either way, folks, sometimes life is like a country song.

It’s a good thing you’ve got comprehensive car insurance.

If you drive a car, you need insurance. Period. First of all, it’s the law. So, if you don’t have auto insurance and you get pulled over for speeding, for example, you’ll face an additional fine for not being insured. But that’s not all. You’re also putting yourself in danger of having to pay for any damage you cause (including medical bills) out of your own pocket. So, don’t be that guy. Get insurance.

You need to have at least these three types: liability insurance, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. What is comprehensive insurance? We’ll get to that in just a minute. But, first, let’s knock out what liability insurance and collision coverage are so you’ll know the difference.

Liability insurance covers any property damage or bodily injury from a car accident you caused. Since the accident was your fault, you’re liable (or responsible) to pay for the damage you caused. Liability insurance covers those damages.

Do you have the right auto insurance coverage? You could be saving hundreds!

Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle after an accident no matter who is at fault. If you hit a slick spot, spin out, and roll your car over, collision coverage will pay for the repairs. Also, let’s say you get rear-ended by a driver who doesn’t have liability insurance—or not enough coverage for your damages. Then your collision coverage will take care of your repairs.

Okay. Now, let’s take a comprehensive look at comprehensive insurance. (Pun intended.)

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance is there to cover any damage to your car that is not caused by driving it into something else. We’re talking about things like hail damage or a tree branch falling onto your car and smashing through your windshield. These are events known as “acts of God”. It also covers man-made damage like theft or vandalism.

Comprehensive car insurance is there to cover any damage to your car that is not caused by driving it into something else. We’re talking about things like hail damage or a tree branch falling onto your car and smashing through your windshield. These are events known as “acts of God”. It also covers man-made damage like theft or vandalism.

Comprehensive insurance covers things like:

  • Natural disasters: This could be damage caused by storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, hailstones, etc. These things are not your fault and generally aren’t predictable.

  • Falling objects: Whether it’s a tree branch, stray golf balls from a nearby driving range, blue ice leaking from an airplane or a plague of frogs falling from the sky, comprehensive covers it.

  • Vandalism: If some juvenile delinquent writes his name on the hood of your car with shaving cream and it discolors your paint job, you’re covered if you have comprehensive car insurance. It also covers the country-song scenario in our introduction.

  • Rioting: Say your local team just won the championship and hooligans start shooting off fireworks and lighting cars on fire. You’ll be glad you have comprehensive insurance.

  • Terrorism: God forbid there’s an act of terrorism in your area that damages your vehicle. If there is, your comprehensive policy will cover it.

  • Animals: If you hit a deer or a moose or some other animal, and it puts a big dent in your hood, comprehensive insurance will take care of the damages. Keep in mind, however, that if you swerve to avoid hitting an animal and crash into something, then that’s a job for your collision coverage.

  • Theft: if someone steals your car and sells it for parts or takes a joy ride through the desert and drives it off a cliff, you’ll be relieved you have this policy.

Now, here are some things that are not covered by a comprehensive policy:

  • Collision damage to your car: If you crash your car, then your collision coverage pays to get it fixed.

  • Collision damage to another car: If you crash your car into somebody else’s car, your comprehensive coverage will not cover the damage.

  • Short-term or long-term disability: If you get hurt and can’t go to work, comprehensive coverage does not pay for the missed time.


Like most types of insurance, comprehensive car insurance has a deductible, and you’ll pick how much it is when you sign up for your policy. The deductible is the amount of money you’ll have to pay for any repairs before the insurance kicks in. So, for example, let’s say you live in Florida and have a $250 deductible. One day, there’s a rare cold spell because of a “bomb cyclone” that causes an iguana to freeze and fall out of a tree. This actually happens.1 The frozen iguana puts a massive dent in your hood, and it’ll cost $1,000 to repair. (That’s far more exciting than a golf ball from the nearest retirement community.) You would pay your $250 deductible, and your insurance company would cover the rest—up to the limit.

The general rule is the bigger the deductible, the lower the premium. So, if you have a healthy emergency fund, pick the higher deductible and save yourself some money on your monthly insurance payment.

Coverage Limit

The overall coverage limit is for the value of your car as it currently stands. That’s the Blue Book value of your car—not how much you paid for it brand-new. This is important. Say you bought a $20,000 car two years ago and it’s only worth $15,000 now. If it gets picked up by a tornado and smashed into a tree, the insurance company will just cut you a check for $15,000 (minus your deductible, of course). So, keep that in mind when you make a claim.

Get a car insurance checkup today

Do you have comprehensive insurance as part of your car insurance policy? Are you paying too much? Our independent insurance Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) are here to help! Get with an expert who can crunch the numbers and help you compare policies and prices. They work with several insurance companies to find the right policy at the right price for you. Insurance can be confusing, so having an independent agent with the heart of a teacher to explain all the variables is exactly what you need.

Find your ELP today!

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