Car Insurance 101: Collision vs. Comprehensive Coverage

Car Insurance 101: Collision vs. Comprehensive Coverage

broken-car-480202-mNot long ago, I wrote several posts about the importance of understanding and purchasing auto insurance. Not only will it protect you from mounting financial trouble should you be injured in a car accident, it can also defend against damaging lawsuits should the accident destroy someone else’s vehicle. Today, I would like to go one step further in my efforts to explain the essentials of insurance. There are far too many drivers on the road that don’t understand the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage. Misinformation can lead to big problems down the road (pun intended). Before you head out of your Saint Petersburg driveway, consider what insurance you are carrying and what it is doing to protect you.

Collision Insurance. This is a type of insurance that you definitely want to carry if you own a vehicle. It defends against any damage done to your vehicle should you be involved in a crash with another vehicle or any stationary object. This can include the telephone pole across the road from your St. Petersburg driveway, the kids’ bicycles, or the tree that you hit when swerving to miss an obstacle in the road.

It is important to note that liability will cover the cost of another driver’s vehicle and belongings if you are found at fault in a crash, but liability insurance will pay nothing toward the damage to your own car, truck, or SUV. You will need a collision policy if you hope to have those expenses covered.

Comprehensive Insurance. So, what happens if you hit a deer? It can hardly be referred to as a stationary object. What happens if lightning strikes down a tree, which then falls on top of your truck? Who is going to foot the bill if a flood in the area leaves your van out of commission? The answer is comprehensive insurance. This is the policy written to handle the many types of damage that can be done, which do not fall under the “collision” category.

Will it Be Covered by Comp or Collision? Sometimes, it can be difficult for anyone not directly related to the insurance business to determine whether an accident is to be covered by collision or comprehensive insurance. Perhaps the easiest way to think about the difference is to consider comp insurance the coverage that protects you against Mother Nature. Anything that is entirely out of the control of the driver can result in a comprehensive claim. So, as mentioned above, a deer that runs out into the road unexpectedly – or a dog, raccoon, moose, or cow – is hardly the fault of the driver. Therefore, it will be paid by the comprehensive claim. The same is true of damage done by natural disasters. We have certainly seen enough of these in recent years to understand the vast amount of destruction that can be done. Fortunately, comprehensive car insurance claims can ensure you aren’t left without a vehicle to drive during those times.

Not carrying these two types of car insurance policies can be a risky endeavor, especially when traveling around in an expensive vehicle. At times, an insurance company can refuse collision and comprehensive coverage on an automobile. This will often be the case if the car was previously involved in an accident and deemed “totaled” by the same or a different car insurance company. Even after the car has been repaired and deemed road-worthy, a car insurance company is unlikely to offer collision and comprehensive.

As a driver of an older vehicle, you may choose not to carry comprehensive and collision car insurance. This is only considered a reasonable approach if the cost to replace the vehicle would be comparable to the deductible on the policy.

If your car insurance company denies coverage after an accident, be sure that you speak to a personal injury attorney. A professional lawyer can assist you in getting the money you need to make the necessary repairs to get you back on the road.