The Importance of Comprehensive Car Insurance

Many of us have to purchase auto insurance at one point in our lives. However, before you contact your insurance agent, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the various types of coverage that may be included in your policy.

Choosing car insurance

For example, comprehensive insurance generally covers your vehicle if you’re a victim of theft, fire, vandalization, or a weather incident and when paired with collision coverage, it is often referred to as having full-coverage insurance.

Before you purchase personal or commercial car insurance, here’s what you need to know about comprehensive coverage.

What is Comprehensive Coverage?

In simple terms, comprehensive is first-party coverage that generally pays to repair or replace your vehicle if you’re involved in an incident that isn’t part of a collision. This can be something like an accidental fire, vandalism by someone that you don’t know, or outright theft. It also includes various acts of damage caused by animals, storms, hail, wind, and more.

Unlike liability coverage, there is no mandatory government requirement to carry it on your vehicle. Comprehensive is deemed a first-party coverage, meaning it only pays to fix your car and not someone else’s automobile or property. This is an important distinction to remember when buying auto insurance.

What Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover?

Now that you know what comprehensive coverage includes, let’s take a look at a few examples of situations where you would use this type of insurance. While these are all basic examples, and the availability of coverage ultimately depends on the specifics of a loss, they give you an idea of what you might expect:

  • You’re on a dark road at night and a deer darts out in front of you. You can’t stop and you collide with the animal, causing an extensive amount of damage to your SUV. Your claim would be made under your policy’s comprehensive coverage.
  • You’re camping in a national park and a large grizzly bear breaks inside to get your cooler of snacks sitting in the passenger side seat. There’s paint, door, and window damage that would be addressed under your policy’s comprehensive coverage.
  • You walk out on a cold morning and find your vehicle missing from your driveway. In this case, there’s nothing to repair, but your comprehensive coverage would likely pay for the theft of the vehicle.
  • Your house catches on fire with the car in the garage. While your homeowner’s insurance would pay to repair your home, your claim for damages or a total loss to your vehicle would be made under your auto insurance’s comprehensive coverage.

Of course, situations involving claims are rarely this cut and dry. These examples are just to give you an idea of what aspect of car insurance you would use in similar instances for each of these scenarios.

How Much Should Your Comprehensive Deductible Be?

The comprehensive coverage portion of your auto insurance policy requires a deductible. Choosing the right amount of auto insurance to purchase largely depends on your unique needs.

Deductibles are paid directly to the body shop or repair facility when your vehicle is fixed. That means if you have a $500 deductible, you’re responsible for covering that money out-of-pocket before your insurer pays for the rest of the damages. If your vehicle is stolen or a total loss, the deductible amount is subtracted from the total value of the car.

You can opt to have a zero-dollar deductible, but the most common figure is $500. In some cases, however, it is a good idea to have a higher deductible, such as $1,000 or $2,500, as a higher amount means a lower overall policy premium. It is important to remember that you might eventually have to come up with this money if you have to file a comprehensive claim.

Keep in mind that some loan and leasing companies have a maximum cap on what your comprehensive and collision deductibles can be. Many don’t want you to be in a situation where you either skip the repairs because you cannot afford your deductible or miss a car payment to pay the body shop. It is important to discuss your situation directly with a trusted local insurance agent, so you get the coverage that meets your unique needs. .

The bottom line: having comprehensive coverage is an important part of making sure you are protected in the event of a loss. Talk to an agent today about customizable auto insurance with Selective.

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