Some people mistakenly think of comprehensive car insurance coverage as “full coverage insurance,” but as far as insurance companies are concerned, there is no such thing as full coverage. Though the word “comprehensive” implies total, full, or complete, it is a myth that comprehensive insurance covers everything that could possibly go wrong with your car. Designed to fill in the gaps left by other types of car insurance, comprehensive car insurance covers damage to your car that can occur in specific situations. As Nationwide insurance says, “In other words, there is no single auto insurance policy that covers everything.” You can learn more about how car insurance works with our guide.
So, what is comprehensive car insurance? Different insurance companies use different explanations. Some say that it covers damage from something other than a collision with another car – things like theft, vandalism, or a natural disaster. Others add that it can help cover repairs or a total loss. In short, the best comprehensive car insurance definition is that comprehensive coverage is for things that cause damage to your car that are out of your control. Before you decide if comprehensive car insurance is right for you, let’s look at what comprehensive insurance actually covers.
What Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover?
Comprehensive car insurance coverage is designed to kick in if your car is damaged by anything other than an actual collision. Generally speaking, if your car is damaged from something outside of your control, you’ll need comprehensive insurance to cover it or be compensated. If your car collides with another car or an object (like a fence, tree or pole) you’ll need collision insurance. Read more about collision insurance coverage.
Damage from animals is a common comprehensive insurance claim. Comprehensive covers you if you hit an animal, if an animal hits you, or if your car otherwise suffers extensive damage from animals. For example, you would be covered if squirrels got inside your car and destroyed the upholstery or a rat chewed through your car’s wiring. However, if you swerve to avoid hitting an animal and you hit something else instead – a guardrail, a tree, another car – you won’t be covered under your comprehensive policy. This type of crash would be covered by collision insurance, if you have it. Animals are covered under comprehensive rather than collision (even though you’d be colliding with the animal) because insurance companies acknowledge that a collision with an animal is usually beyond your control.
Comprehensive insurance also covers glass damage, including windshields and windows. These events are considered outside of your control because, though they usually happen while you’re driving, there’s no way to avoid a rock or other road debris that is flung into your path at high speeds. According to Progressive, glass claims are the most common comprehensive claims, especially in areas like a desert where your car is more likely to be hit by a rock kicked up by another car. Damage from a collision with a deer is the second most common comprehensive claim. These claims are more common in rural or wooded areas.
If your car is damaged due to weather or a natural disaster, comprehensive insurance will cover you. Examples include fires, storms, hail, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, and related events, like a tree branch breaking in a rainstorm and falling on your car. Comprehensive insurance covers you if an object falls on your car.
Finally, if your car is damaged by the act of another individual, such as theft, vandalism, terrorism, or a civil disturbance such as a riot or a protest, comprehensive insurance will help cover your loss.
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