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How Comprehensive and collision insurance works in the United States today



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Below, we’ll discuss the differences between comp and collision, the average cost of collision insurance compared to comprehensive, and why you might need a full coverage policy.

What’s the difference between comprehensive and collision?

Collision and comprehensive insurance are common coverages that are part of a full coverage policy. They cover damage to your vehicle from different causes.

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As the name suggests, collison insurance covers accidents. Specifically, it will pay for your vehicle’s repairs if you’re at fault or there is no other insurance to pay for the damage. It also covers rollovers and single-car accidents. So, for instance, if you ran into a telephone pole and the front end of your car was damaged, collision insurance would pay for the damages.

Comprehensive insurance on the other hand, pays for your vehicle’s damages after a non-collision incident, which is usually out of your control. For example, comprehensive insurance kicks in when your car gets stolen or vandalized, or in the case of weather-related damage. It also covers things like fire damage, flood damage and accidents with animals.

The table below lists a few claims, and which types of insurance would apply here.

Incident description Type of claim
Damage from hitting a boulder in the road Collision
Damage from a boulder rolling into your car Comprehensive
A tree limb falls onto the car roof Comprehensive
The car hits a fallen tree in the road Collision
Smashed window from someone breaking into your car Comprehensive
Window broken from a hit-and-run driver running into your car Collision

A notable difference between collision and comprehensive coverage is that you are more likely to see future car insurance rate increases from collision claims than you are from comprehensive claims. Collision claims are usually your fault, so your rate is more likely to rise.

In most cases, comprehensive claims are not “at-fault” incidents, so your rate may not increase as much.


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