Comprehensive auto insurance is an optional type of auto insurance. It covers your vehicle in case it’s stolen, vandalized, or damaged by anything not covered by regular collision insurance, such as a fallen tree, flood, or collision with a deer.
Comprehensive auto insurance is an optional coverage that fills gaps and exclusions in your standard auto liability or collision coverage. It is often included in a commercial auto insurance policy.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle from sources other than a car accident, also called non-collision damages. That includes falling objects, damage caused by animals, and natural disasters such as a tornado, hailstorm, or wildfire. It also covers your vehicle if it's stolen or vandalized.
For example, if you hit a deer with your company car, this policy would cover the cost of repairing the vehicle, or provide reimbursement to your business in the event of a total loss.
A comprehensive auto insurance policy is typically required for vehicle leases and loans. It’s also purchased by small business owners and other individuals who want to reduce the financial impact of having to repair or replace a vehicle after a mishap.
This is especially true for any individual or industry faces a high degree of risk, such as:
Comprehensive coverage, collision, and auto liability insurance are often purchased together by those seeking full coverage on commercial auto insurance or another car insurance policy. They each cover different aspects of automotive risks.
Depending on your state laws, you or your business may have to carry certain amounts of auto insurance coverage, particularly with auto liability insurance.
Comprehensive insurance coverage includes damage to your vehicle from theft, vandalism, natural disasters, falling objects (like tree limbs) and damage from animals (such as hitting a deer). A comprehensive policy also covers glass damage from these kinds of incidents.
Comprehensive insurance does not cover medical expenses, legal fees, property stolen from your vehicle, or lost wages after an accident.
Auto liability coverage is the “bare bones” of auto insurance and is required in most states for any individual or business that owns a vehicle.
If you’re at fault in an accident, your auto liability coverage would pay for the property damage of those affected by the accident, and their medical expenses. It would not cover damage to your own vehicle, or any medical bills incurred by yourself or your passengers.
Collision insurance covers your own vehicle in case it’s damaged in an accidental collision with another vehicle or an object, such as a fence post or a tree. It also covers single-vehicle accidents, such as rollovers. It would cover glass damage, but only if it happened during a collision. (A falling tree limb wouldn’t count.)
Collision coverage is not required by state laws, although it’s typically required with auto leases and loans for businesses or individuals.
If you have a lease or finance your vehicle, make sure your insurance policy meets the car insurance coverage requirements of your lender or leasing company.
There are a few different options to help bolster a comprehensive auto policy to meet your needs.
Customizations can include:
Comprehensive deductible. This is the amount you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company will pay on a comprehensive claim. A higher deductible amount would reduce your insurance cost. A lower deductible means you don't have to pay as much before you can collect on a claim.
Replacement value. This option insures you for the full value of your vehicle. It's often chosen by those with relatively new cars. The policy will increase your insurance cost but reduces the financial impact of an insurance claim if your vehicle needs to be replaced.
Actual cash value. This covers your car’s value, minus any depreciation. It’s basically the average cost of replacing your vehicle with one that’s of similar age and condition. Choosing this coverage option will reduce your insurance premium but increase your out-of-pocket cost on a claim.
Policy limits. The policy's limits are the maximum your insurance carrier will pay on a claim. The aggregate limit is the most it will pay during the policy period (usually one year), while the per-occurrence limit is the maximum amount for one incident.
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