What’s the Difference Between Collision and Comprehensive Coverage?

We’ve all been there… you’re purchasing auto insurance and making sure that you are at least getting the minimum liability coverage covered by state law, when comprehensive and collision pop up. What are these for, you think… Isn’t my vehicle already covered by the state requirements? In some cases (like if you’re leasing), you may be required to have both comprehensive and collision, in addition to fulfilling the state required minimums… but what’s the difference between them anyway?

Knowing the difference between comprehensive and collision is an important part of assuring that you have the best coverage possible for your vehicle. Here’s a quick look at the essential differences between comprehensive and collision, so that you can make the most informed decision possible when buying car insurance.

Collision is basically what it sounds like. Collision covers a car in a collision with another vehicle. Significantly, collision covers you in a crash no matter who is at fault. Also, if the other party does not have insurance, collision will still cover repairs to your car. It will also cover your vehicle if you collide with an object (tree, lamp post) or pedestrian. Collision will also often cover the towing and storage of your vehicle during repair and any parts needed for repair.

Comprehensive covers you for almost everything else. Tree fall on your car? Comprehensive. Punk in your neighborhood knock out your window for a laugh? Comprehensive. (Of Note: comprehensive will not cover “vandalism” committed by a family or employee that can be construed as an act of vengeance.) Comprehensive will also cover natural events, like floods, tornadoes, or forest fires. Oddly, a “collision” with an animal is covered by comprehensive, not collision. Yes, it can be confusing. Comprehensive will also cover you in cases of theft.

Remember, neither comprehensive nor collision will cover damages due to your neglect or poor maintenance of your vehicle.

To ensure that you have the best coverage possible for your vehicle, it’s advisable to consider purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage, in addition to your basic liability coverage. With either comprehensive or collision coverage, the amount you will receive in compensation from your insurance company is, of course, determined by your deductible and the value of your car. There are often bundle packages with comprehensive and collision available. You can oftentimes purchase collision and comprehensive separately, although some companies will require that collision be purchased with comprehensive coverage. Look at all your options and make the best decision possible to protect your auto investment and financial well-being.