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:


Colliding with a fixed objectColliding with an animal
At-Fault accidentsTheft
Weather-related collisionWeather-related damage (flood or hail damage)
Hit-and-run collisionVandalism

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.


Collision ClaimComprehensive Claim

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.

Coverage LevelAverage Annual Premium
$500 deductible$1,427
$1,000 deductible$1,268
Ava Lynch
Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.

Share on:
Recent Questions:

My car was totaled after the superbowl celebrations

If you have "full coverage," which really can mean anything because it's not an insurance industry term, you might have coverage. Through your comprehensive coverage, you should be able to find coverage against riots and civil commotion.

If I hit an object in the road, can I claim this under my comprehensive coverage?

Insurance companies consider hitting an object in the road to be an accident. Unfortunately, that means you will need to use your collision coverage, the incident will be considered your fault, and you'll likely see an increase in premium.

What are the pros and cons of using uninsured motorist vs comprehensive insurance?

You don't have an option to use your comprehensive insurance here, unfortunately. Comprehensive covers damages resulting from things that happen other than collision.

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.