Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car that results from something other than a collision. For example, with comprehensive coverage you are insured against fire, theft, vandalism, wind, hail and falling objects.
If you’re shopping for auto insurance or your current policy is about to renew, comprehensive coverage is something to consider if you don’t have it already.
What doesn't comprehensive insurance cover?
Comprehensive does not cover any damage to your car that is the result of a collision. There is also no coverage for damage to another driver's car that results from a collision. Further, it doesn't cover medical expenses resulting from an accident for you or a passenger.
Comprehensive coverage doesn’t protect personal belongings left in your car, either. If your car were stolen, for example, anything you left in the car wouldn't be covered. They may be covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy, though.
How is comprehensive different than collision?
Comprehensive is commonly added to an auto insurance policy along with collision. Collision covers damage to your car should you collide with another vehicle or stationary object. If a boulder rolls into your car while you're driving, it's covered under comprehensive. Should you hit a boulder laying in the road, it's covered under collision.
>>READ MORE: Comprehensive vs. Collision: What's the difference?
Do you need comprehensive auto insurance?
If you have an auto loan or lease on your vehicle, the lender requires that you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy. They require this so their interest in your vehicle is covered. The lender will require that they be listed on your policy so they receive a copy of it and are notified should it lapse.
If you own your vehicle outright, you can choose whether or not to include comprehensive. It might not be worth the expense to carry it on an older vehicle. You need to weigh the value of the car versus how much you will pay to have comprehensive. For example, it's probably not worth paying $400 a year for comprehensive insurance if you're only going to get $1,500 if your car is stolen.
Choosing a comprehensive deductible
If you choose to get comprehensive insurance, you will need to select a deductible. A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket should you have a comprehensive claim. Insurance companies typically offer $100, $250, $500 and $1,000 deductibles.
If you had a $250 comprehensive deductible and fixing your car after it was vandalized cost $1,000, the insurance company would cover the remaining $750.
The higher the deductible, the less you pay for comprehensive. That is, the insurance company will pay out less should you turn in a claim. Conversely, you'll be out of pocket more money if you have a high deductible.
If you have a loan on your car, the lender may allow a comprehensive deductible of up to $1,000. Some lenders only allow a deductible of up to $500, however. If you lease your vehicle, it's likely they won't allow a comprehensive deductible higher than $500.
How much does comprehensive cost?
The cost of adding comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy varies based on a number of factors. The deductible you choose will affect the cost as does the age and type of vehicle you drive. Cars that are more expensive to repair or replace will make comprehensive more expensive.
Where you live also impacts the premium for this coverage. Other factors can include your gender, age, driving record and credit rating.
Comprehensive auto insurance is valuable coverage to have should something happen to your car that you wouldn't be able to afford to fix without it. It gives you peace of mind that should something happen to your vehicle, you'll only be financially responsible for whatever your deductible is rather than the full cost of repairing or replacing the car.