Last updated: October 2023

What’s the Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision

Most states require drivers to buy liability insurance to help pay for damages they cause to others. However, many drivers purchase optional comprehensive and collision coverage to protect their own vehicle from different scenarios or because the car's loan or lease agreement demands it. Follow along as we compare the differences between comprehensive and collision coverage so you can find the right amount of coverage for your situation.

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car that results from something other than a collision (that's why it is also sometimes called "other than collision coverage"). If your car is vandalized, stolen or damaged by a natural disaster, contact with an animal, or by any other covered incident, your comprehensive coverage will help pay for the repairs or replacement.

Here are some specific scenarios where comprehensive coverage would likely pay for your vehicle's repairs or replacement:

  • Damage caused by an earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado or volcanic eruption.
  • Damage caused by a fire, such as a wildfire that roars through your neighborhood.
  • Damage from running into an animal, such as a deer that's crossing a road.
  • Damage resulting from a riot.
  • Damage caused by vandals.
  • Damage triggered by fallen objects such as hail or tree branches. For instance, the damage would be covered if a tree falls on your car during a thunderstorm.
  • Theft of your car or parts of your car. For example, you'd be covered if a thief steals your car's airbags.
  • A broken windshield caused, for instance, by a rock that strikes your car while you're driving.

What is collision coverage?

Collision coverage pays for damage to your car from a covered incident, regardless of fault. It also pays for damage resulting from hitting a pothole or having your car damaged by a hit-and-run driver.

Here are some specific scenarios where collision coverage would most likely pay the repairs or replacement of your vehicle:

  • Damage to your car caused by colliding with an object, such as a mailbox or guardrail.
  • Damage to your car resulting from hitting a pothole.
  • Damage to your car caused when it flips over while it's on the road.
  • Damage to your car caused by a hit-and-run driver.

Are comprehensive and collision required in my state?

No state requires either comprehensive or collision insurance. However, many lenders, such as banks and credit unions, require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverage (sometimes referred to as “full coverage”) if you take out an auto loan or lease your car.

If you don't owe a lender any money for your car and it's an older model vehicle, then you might decide against comprehensive and collision to help lower your car insurance costs. Talk to a Direct Auto Insurance agent about your situation.

Do I need comprehensive and collision?

Now that you know what collision and comprehensive are and when they’re required, how do you know if they’re right for you? Here are several things to consider.

Do I need collision insurance?

As mentioned above, you might need collision coverage if you lease or finance your vehicle. Additionally, you might need collision coverage if you live somewhere with a high number of car accidents (like a busy, big city) or if you drive frequently and are at a higher risk of being involved in a crash or hitting a pothole. However, accidents can happen anywhere, even in rural areas with little traffic. So, if your vehicle is new or you can’t afford to pay for repairs out of pocket, you might decide collision insurance is a good addition to your policy.

Do I need comprehensive insurance?

As mentioned above, you might need comprehensive coverage if you lease or finance your vehicle. Additionally, you might need comprehensive coverage if you live in an area particularly prone to extreme climate events. For example, if you live somewhere where wildfires occur regularly or live in a flood zone, comprehensive coverage could help protect you financially if disaster strikes. However, storms are unpredictable, and you never know when you might hit an animal. So, if you have a newer vehicle or can’t afford to repair or replace it out of pocket, you might feel like comprehensive insurance is a good addition to your policy.

How does payment work?

With both comprehensive and collision coverage, after you pay your insurance deductible, your insurance company will cover the cost, up to a certain limit, to repair or replace your auto that’s damaged as a result of a covered accident. A deductible generally ranges from $100 to $1,500. A higher deductible is recommended if you're trying to cut costs for your car insurance.

How much do comprehensive and collision coverage cost?

The nationwide average for a comprehensive coverage premium is a little under half the cost of the average collision premium, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s latest report. The 2023 database report determined the average premium across the country for collision insurance in 2020 was $370.73, and the average comprehensive premium was $174.26.

Ultimately, the price of comprehensive and collision depends on the value of your car, your driving history, location, and other factors that affect insurance costs.

Get a quote from Direct Auto!

Direct Auto Insurance is here to help you choose the right coverage for your needs, whether that includes comprehensive and collision, or just standard liability coverage. Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732), or come into a Direct Auto location near you today to learn more. Our friendly agents can help explain the difference between comprehensive and collision.

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