What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Let’s talk about how not to lose your shirt, pants, and socks in the event of an accident.

Patrick George

The world outside your garage is a vast and potentially calamitous place. Every day, trees and power lines fall, hail drops from the heavens, wildfires rage, and the woodland creatures of your neighborhood’s forests prance into the street. Hazards are everywhere, and it's up to you to ensure you’re covered for that unexpected time when the proverbial hammer drops onto your ride. 

Although that could mean proactive measures like slicing and dicing some wood, putting up a storm shelter, enacting better climate policies, or ending Bullwinkle’s reign of terror by turning him into jerky, the easiest way to protect your investment is through comprehensive car insurance. It won't’ stop that oak tree from falling, but it could stop the associated repair costs from directly attacking your bank account. There is, however, a lot of misleading or confusing information surrounding the insurance industry, and that’s what we aim to fix. 

2021 Lexus ES
Lexus

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To better help you understand the ins and outs of car insurance and, more specifically, comprehensive car insurance, The Drive put together an easy-to-follow guide on the subject. It includes explanations about what comprehensive is, what it covers, its limits, how it differs from collision insurance plans, and how much it generally costs. We also dropped in a few other FAQs just to be safe.

So come along with us as we dive into the murky world of car insurance and detail comprehensive insurance right now, here on The Drive.

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What Exactly Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance helps the driver pay for repairs, or the purchase of a new car, when damage occurs outside of an accident. So comprehensive coverage pays for anything else that can damage your ride outside another car slamming into it.

What Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive car insurance covers damage incurred through fire, flood, hail, natural disasters, fallen trees, theft, and animals, i.e. Ricky the raccoon slamming into your Ferrari’s splitter and both he and it disintegrating upon contact. 

Are There Limits to Comprehensive Car Insurance?

There are. Most car insurance policies end at the actual cash value of your car. This means that your car’s current retail value, which will be appraised by your insurance company. If you’re underwater (the amount owed is more than the value of your car), you won’t see your payout reflect your owed price if your car is totaled. 

2021 Nissan Rogue Sport
Nissan

Keep your ride looking sharp.

What’s the Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Coverage?

As detailed above, comprehensive coverage is for when something happens to your ride outside the event of an accident. Your standard list of animal, weather, thievery, and Mother Freakin’ Nature-type events. 

Collision coverage is to cover you when your Honda Accord meets the tail, or nose, of a Mercedes-Benz GLC, otherwise known as an accident. Your insurance coverage often entails both comprehensive and collision, though your individual coverage and deductibles will vary. 

Both, however, are required if you’re leasing or financing a new vehicle. 

How Much Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage Cost?

As with all car insurance, your individual plan will vary on price due to where you live, what you drive, your driving history, and other variables. Likewise, as you go through and select your insurance plan, what you choose for deductibles and coverage will affect the cost of your insurance, too. That’s a long way of saying how much you pay for car insurance will vary, including comprehensive coverage. 

That said, according to Insurance.com, the average cost of comprehensive coverage in the United States is about $192 per year, while collision coverage averages about $596 per year. 

EXTENDED INSURANCE COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Hagerty

Automotive insurance for classic car lovers

For insurance for your classic car, truck, or motorcycle, Hagerty is full-service insurance for drivers who love their classic vehicles. Get a quote today on an insurance policy for up to 36 percent less than daily drivers.

Get a Free Quote

Video

Here’s a quick video explainer of comprehensive car insurance.

FAQs About Comprehensive Car Insurance

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q: Is comprehensive car insurance worth getting?

A: If you live in an area of high crime and natural disasters, or frequent fires and hail storms, it might be worth getting comprehensive car insurance. This will protect your investment in case the worst, or even just bad, happens.

Q: When should you not have comprehensive coverage?

A: Whenever you’re paying more in insurance than the price of the car. Stay up-to-date with your car’s market value and adjust your coverages as you go.

Q: Is a comprehensive claim considered an accident?

A: No, it isn’t.