Contributor, Benzinga
June 23, 2021

Want to save money on your car insurance? Find and compare free custom quotes here.

At a minimum, most states require some kind of liability coverage, but it’s a good idea to consider collision insurance coverage as well. Liability policies help pay for the other driver’s expenses if you cause an accident, but collision insurance allows you to repair or replace your car.  

Let Benzinga help you find the best collision insurance for you. We'll also go over the laws you need to know and how you can save on your policy.

What is Collision Insurance?

When shopping for auto insurance, you'll hear the term collision coverage repeatedly. The definition of collision insurance is as follows:

Collision insurance is financial protection from your insurance providers that covers the cost of repairs to your car if it's damaged in an accidental collision. It may cover damage if your car hits another vehicle (or other object) and will cover the cost of damage if another car hits your car.

Collision insurance is often part of a larger policy and sold in conjunction with comprehensive coverage. In certain instances, collision coverage may be optional. If you're financing or leasing a car, it will likely be mandatory as part of your purchase agreement.

Best Collision Insurance

What Does Collision Insurance Cover?

Collision insurance covers repairs to your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident. You can use collision insurance to help cover the cost of replacing it if your vehicle is damaged beyond repair. Accidents covered by collision insurance include:

  • Accidents that involve more than 1 vehicle
  • Collisions with objects such as fences and trees
  • Damage from your vehicle rolling or even tipping over

Obviously, there are other ways your vehicle may suffer damage. Collision insurance does not include coverage for:

  • Damage to your vehicle that occurs when you are not driving, such as storm damage or damage due to theft
  • Damage you cause to another person’s vehicle
  • Medical bills for yourself or for any other person involved in the accident

Do You Have to Add Collision Coverage?

Collision insurance is usually required by financial lenders. If you lease or finance your vehicle, you will probably be required to carry collision insurance. If you own your car and are no longer making payments, collision insurance is optional.

You may wonder whether you should add it to your policy if you're not required to carry it. Beyond simple liability and collision, policies offer a wide range of coverage types. Here’s an overview to help you understand each type of auto insurance.

Comprehensive Insurance

You'll probably be required to carry comprehensive coverage if you lease or finance your vehicle. It provides coverage if your car is damaged for reasons not related to a collision. This may include accidents involving collisions with animals, theft, vandalism and falling objects such as tree branches.

Gap Insurance

Gap insurance is optional and is for newer cars.  It would be used if your vehicle was completely totaled due to an accident or if your car was stolen. In most cases, your auto insurance company will give you a settlement based on the actual cash value of the lost vehicle. However, since your car’s value may be less than what you owe on your auto lease or loan, you could still have a big bill to pay. Gap insurance can help you cover the gap between the amount owed on your car and the settlement received.

Liability Coverage 

Liability coverage protects you from paying out of pocket for damages after a covered accident. If your accident causes an injury, it can cover medical bills and loss of income for the other person. If your accident damages someone else’s property or vehicle, it can pay for the necessary repairs.

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical payments coverage can cover the medical costs for you and your passengers if you get in an accident. You can use it for ambulance bills, hospital bills, doctor visits and any other necessary medical treatments. Some companies may offer medical payment coverage if you are injured in someone else’s vehicle or if you are struck by a vehicle while walking.

Personal Injury Protection  

Personal injury protection (PIP) may help cover medical costs related to a covered accident no matter which driver is at fault. It can provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages due to injuries from a covered accident. It may also offer coverage for rehabilitation or funeral costs.

Rental Reimbursement Insurance

If your vehicle needs to be repaired and cannot be driven following an accident, you’ll need another way to get around. Rental reimbursement insurance can help pay for a rental car until you’re able to use your own vehicle again.

Towing and Labor Coverage 

If you have a comprehensive coverage policy, you can also add towing coverage. If your car needs to be towed due to something like a dead battery or an accident, you can use this coverage. You can also add labor coverage to cover the cost of delivering and installing parts to the location where your vehicle broke down. Some companies refer to this coverage as roadside assistance.

If you’re still trying to decide whether what type of coverage you need, consider your finances and vehicle.

Your Finances

Consider the benefits as well as the costs. Insurance requires a monthly premium, and when you need to use your insurance, you will have to pay the deductible — your cost out of pocket before insurance kicks in. You can choose the premium and deductible when you purchase a policy. 

If your vehicle is older and you feel comfortable replacing it if necessary, collision insurance may not be important. Get a quote from a few different insurance companies and see if the cost of collision insurance is worth it in your situation.

Your Vehicle

The cost of repairing a vehicle can vary depending on factors such as make, model and year. Do some research to see how much parts of your vehicle cost if they needed to be replaced. You can also look up the actual cash value of your vehicle. This may differ from how much you paid for your vehicle when you got it and how much you may still owe on it.

The coverage you need will depend on how much your vehicle is worth. Each policy comes with a coverage limit. The more your car is worth, the higher you will want your coverage limit to be. Make sure your coverage limit will be able to pay for repairs to your car if it becomes necessary. 

Laws Specific to Collision Insurance

Auto insurance laws vary depending on your state. However, no state currently requires drivers to carry collision insurance. Remember, even though it’s not mandated by law, your lender may require collision coverage if you lease or financed your vehicle.

Use this State-by-State Guide to Car Insurance Personal Liability Minimums to learn more about your state.

Best Auto Insurance Providers for Collision Coverage

Your next step is to compare insurance providers. We’ve done the research for you. Get several quotes to find the best coverage option for you.

Best For
  • Pay-per-mile insurance from an established company

1. Best Overall: Allstate

Allstate’s quote process is thorough and helps you receive a lot of possible discounts. You may also have the option to bundle multiple insurance products.

Allstate’s standard auto insurance policy includes not only collision coverage, but comprehensive, personal injury and liability protection.

Best For
  • Drivers with consistently good driving habits

2. Cheapest: Progressive

Progressive offers affordable auto insurance policies that include collision insurance. Its basic policy includes both collision and comprehensive coverage.

You can enroll in higher-level policies, which may offer additional coverage and lower your deductibles.

You can also edit your coverage or save by paying on your policy 6 months at a time.

3. Best for Discounts: Esurance

Esurance offers 3 different levels of coverage to suit your needs. Its standard coverage policy includes collision, comprehensive and liability coverage. You can edit your policy to change your deductible and add more coverage.

Esurance also offers several discounts to help you save money on your policy. You can receive discounts for 3 years without driving infractions and for 5 years without making a claim. It also offers discounts for anti-theft devices on your vehicle and for bundling policies. 

Best For
  • Active military members

4. Best for Rideshare Coverage: USAA

If you are a rideshare driver for Uber or Lyft, make sure your auto insurance policy offers coverage for this unique line of work. USAA offers options to cover you at any stage of the rideshare process. Its Ridesharing Gap Coverage makes sure you’re covered between trips.

As long as you’re logged into your ridesharing app and waiting to receive a request, you're covered. Some competitors do not offer coverage for this time between trips.

Get Collision Insurance Now

Collision insurance is not always required, but if you want help to repair or replace your vehicle no matter the cause, it may be time to look into adding collision to your policy. Get a quote from our list of best collision insurance providers today and find the right coverage for you.

Frequently Asked Questions


By law, what types of car insurance do I have to have?


Almost all states (with the exception of New Hampshire) require you to carry liability insurance on your vehicle. Your state may require additional auto insurance coverage. Limits are expressed like this: Amount for injuries per person/amount for injuries total per accident/amount for property damage per accident.


What happens if I don't have collision insurance?


If you don’t carry collision coverage, you will be responsible for paying for any damage to your car that results from an accidental collision with another vehicle or another object. That’s why considering this type of coverage is so important.


What kind of discounts are usually available?


The most common discounts available are multi-policy and auto-pay, but every company is different. Other discounts that are widely available are loyalty, good student and anti-theft device discounts. See our top providers with the best discounts and get a unique quote.