Comprehensive vs. Collision Deductibles

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 9, 2020

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Nearly every state requires you to have auto insurance if you drive a vehicle. You might be tempted to just get the minimum required coverage, but when you file a claim someday, you might be surprised to find out that damage to your vehicle probably isn’t covered. 

That’s why there are some major benefits to comprehensive and collision auto insurance policies. Let’s take a look at comprehensive and collision coverage, how it works and whether it’s worth the investment. 

Quick Answer:

Collision coverage reimburses you for repairs to your vehicle after a collision. It could be a collision with another car or a stationary object like a guardrail or a pothole. 

Comprehensive coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle if something happens other than a collision. 

What is Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

Comprehensive coverage is optional, so it may not be automatically included in your car insurance policy. This type of coverage helps to repair or replace your vehicle due to events that are out of your control. It covers damage due to:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Animals
  • Riots
  • Falling objects
  • Natural disasters
  • Rocks and objects kicked up by other vehicles

Most policies have a separate comprehensive deductible that ranges from $100 to $300. Your deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying before your insurer starts reimbursing you. 

Some companies will repair or replace your windshield without having you meet the deductible. Comprehensive coverage may also have a limit, which is the most that it will pay. This is usually the current cash value of your vehicle. 

What is Collision Auto Insurance?

Collision coverage helps to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged due to:

  • Hitting another vehicle
  • Colliding with an object, like a guardrail or a tree
  • A single-vehicle accident, like rolling or tipping over your vehicle

It doesn’t cover damage from hitting an animal — that falls under comprehensive coverage. 

This type of coverage is optional, so insurance companies may not include it in basic state minimum policies. You’ll have a separate collision deductible that ranges from $250 to $1,000 if you choose this coverage. Some people prefer a higher deductible so they have lower monthly, semi-annual or annual payments. Insurance payments are also called premiums. 

Should You Have Both Coverages? 

The short answer is yes, you should have both types of coverage. Let’s learn more about car insurance to understand why. 

A barebones, cheap car insurance policy will typically include the following based on your state’s minimum requirements:

  • Bodily injury liability: This type of coverage covers medical care for the other party if you or someone else on your policy causes an accident. It also provides care if an accident is caused by someone driving your car with your permission but isn’t listed on your policy. 
  • Property damage liability: This covers damage that you, someone on your policy or someone driving your car causes to someone else’s property. It covers damage to the other vehicles and damage to buildings and other structures. 

Note that both of these types of coverage cover damage to the other party. They don’t cover damage to your vehicle. 

Many states also require 2 other types of coverage:

  • Medical payments or personal injury protection: This coverage pays for medical treatment for people in your vehicle who might be injured in an accident. It may also cover lost wages and funeral costs. 
  • Uninsured and/or underinsured motorist insurance: If the other party in an accident is at fault but doesn’t have insurance, this coverage helps pay for your expenses. This coverage also applies if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident. 

These types of insurance coverage are all important, but they leave out damage to your vehicle if you or another driver on your policy is at fault in an accident. This isn’t meant to judge your driving abilities. It’s more a reflection of the reality that accidents happen. 

Inexperienced teens don’t always know how to respond in the moment. Things happen. If you can afford the additional coverage, you should strongly consider collision and comprehensive coverage. 

Best Auto Insurance for Comprehensive and Collision 

The first step to getting the best auto insurance is contacting multiple companies to get a quote. Here are our picks for the best companies for comprehensive and collision coverage. 

1. Best Overall: Amica

Amica has won customer satisfaction awards from J.D. Power, a company that rates insurance companies. Customers are also happy with Amica’s claims servicing, which is critical for an auto insurance company. 

Amica provides a discount if you insure multiple vehicles. It also provides a discount if you purchase multiple products like home and auto insurance. Amica also offers value-added services like a free lock replacement if you lose your keys and a free repair if your airbag deploys.

State Farm
Best For
  • Rideshare drivers

2. Best for Personal Service: State Farm

State Farm has been offering car insurance through its network of local agents for almost 100 years. Your local agent is a great resource when it comes to choosing coverage and filing a claim. 

You can get a quote online and customize your coverage to include comprehensive and collision coverage. State Farm even offers harder-to-find options like coverage for using your vehicle for a rideshare service. 

You can get a discount for having multiple policies. It also offers discounts if you’re accident-free, install an alarm or anti-theft device or take a defensive driving course. 

Best For
  • Drivers with consistently good driving habits

3. Best for Discounts: Progressive

Progressive lets you tailor your coverage to meet state minimums and your budget. But its unique discounts set it apart. 

Its Snapshot program uses technology to personalize your rate. If you’re a safe driver, you should see a discount of $100 or more when you renew. You also get a discount just for signing up for the Snapshot program. You can access Snapshot through a mobile app or through a plugin device. 

Progressive also offers standard discounts like savings when you bundle multiple policies. 

Best For
  • Active military members

4. Best for Military: USAA

USAA exclusively serves members of the military, veterans and their families. If you are eligible to work with USAA, you’re in luck. Its auto insurance is highly rated for customer satisfaction. 

It offers several discounts, including a discount of up to 15% for garaging your vehicle on a military base. USAA has flexible payment plans and gives you easy access to your policy information through its mobile app. 

Choose the Right Auto Insurance Policy

Choosing the right insurance company and the right coverage can be a challenge. Here are a few factors that impact your premiums:

  • Credit score and history: Some states don’t allow this practice, but others do let insurance companies charge you more if you have less-than-perfect credit.
  • Driving history: Insurance companies will charge you higher rates if you have a history of claims.
  • Age: Teen drivers don’t have much experience, so insurers charge higher rates. 
  • Car: Insurance companies look at statistics to look at which vehicles are more likely to get into accidents. If you choose a higher-risk vehicle, insurers will charge you a higher rate. 

Insurance rates vary significantly from company to company. The best way to find the right policy is to contact multiple providers. Our quote tool makes it simple. Enter your ZIP code and click on 2 or 3 results to get quotes. 

Dig into the details such as deductibles and coverage limits. Find out how much it is to add comprehensive and collision coverage. These types of coverage are worth buying, especially on newer vehicles or if you insure a less experienced driver. 

Choose a company that has an excellent reputation for customer service. You need your insurance company to come through when you file a claim. Strike a balance between reasonable out-of-pocket costs and an affordable premium when you choose the coverage that’s best for you.