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IN PLAIN ENGLISH

Comprehensive vs. collision coverage comparison

 

Even if you’re not very familiar with car insurance, you may have heard of collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. These coverage types offer physical protection for your vehicle. 

Please note; if you’re looking for an in-depth review of what these coverages are rather than the difference between them, see our guide to comprehensive insurance or our guide to collision coverage.

 

Comprehensive vs. collision coverage — table of contents:

 

What’s the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?

 

As we stated, comprehensive and collision only offer physical coverage to your vehicle. Where this physical coverage differs concerns what caused the damage to your vehicle. Collision coverage refers to damage caused by an actual collision — you collide with another car, a wall, or a pole. Comprehensive, on the other hand, refers to things that generally happen outside of your control. Things like theft, vandalism, and animal-related damage. Here’s a handy breakdown:

 

COMPARISON: COLLISION VS. COMPREHENSIVE CAR INSURANCE
Collision Comprehensive
Colliding with a fixed object Colliding with an animal
At-Fault accidents Theft
Weather-related collision Weather-related damage (flood or hail damage)
Hit-and-run collision Vandalism

These coverages may be paired with liability insurance coverage, which provides protection for damage you do to others (bodily injury) or their property (property damage).

 

 

Do I need both comprehensive and collision coverage?

Collision claims are more common than comprehensive claims. But it's difficult to find an insurance policy that includes only collision coverage, bypassing comprehensive coverage. You might, however, be able to set different deductibles for collision coverage and comprehensive insurance coverage.

A deductible is what you pay in the event you file a collision or comprehensive claim. The remainder is covered by your insurance company.

 

Do you need comprehensive or collision coverage?

The only insurance coverage drivers are required to maintain is liability insurance (sometimes uninsured motorist or personal injury protection as well, depending on location). If you’re leasing or financing a vehicle, you might be required to insure the vehicle with both comprehensive and collision coverage.

Even if you own the vehicle outright, you might want this coverage. If you’re planning on selling your vehicle in the future — or using it as collateral for loan — you should make sure the vehicle is protected to retain its value.

 


 

Comprehensive claims vs. collision claims: which cost more?

One of the primary differences between comprehensive and collision coverage is the difference in premium costs resulting from a claim. A collision claim is often seen as an "at-fault accident," leading to substantial insurance rate increases moving forward. A comprehensive claim, on the other hand, is often seen as outside the control of the driver and doesn’t impact premiums much, if at all.

 

COMPREHENSIVE VS. COLLISION CLAIMS — AVERAGE ANNUAL RATE INCREASES
Collision Claim Comprehensive Claim
$687 $98

the difference between a collision claim and a comprehensive claim is about $589 a year.

 

How much do comprehensive and collision insurance cost?

On average, your comprehensive and collision coverage takes up about half of your insurance coverage premium. You can save some premium by raising your deductibles, as your deductibles are inversely related to your premium.

AVERAGE INSURANCE COSTS AT POPULAR DEDUCTIBLE LEVELS
Coverage Level Average Annual Premium
Liability-only $672
$500 deductible $1,427
$1,000 deductible $1,268

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Recent Questions:

Can I bundle 3 comprehensive claims altogether?

The short answer is no, you cannot submit one claim for all three incidents. They will need to be filed separately.
Sep 12, 2018 North East, MD

Is accidental flooding covered under comprehensive coverage?

Sorry to hear about the loss. Yes, comprehensive coverage should cover any kind of flooding that occurs to the vehicle.
Jul 30, 2019 Jacksonville, FL

Are my seats covered from damage caused by a rat?

When there is an animal-involved incident, your comprehensive coverage would pay for the damages to your car. The insurance company will have to pay to repair the damage that was done to the car.
Sep 7, 2018 Cortlandt Manor, NY

Will insurance cover a leak in my car's sunroof?

Insurance will only cover things that are a result of a loss. So if the leak in the sunroof was caused by a covered peril — like damage from bad weather — this would count towards a comprehensive claim.
Nov 20, 2019 Oviedo, FL

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.

Ava Lynch
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years.

Ava currently provides insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts. Her work has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver, and Yahoo! Finance.