Definition of Comprehensive Car Insurance

By Rissa Watkins

  • Overview

    Comprehensive car insurance protects your car from several types of losses. Some of the coverages provided under Comprehensive insurance include theft of the entire car or items that are part of the car, broken glass and damage due to fire, wind, water, hail, falling objects, vandalism, explosion or hitting a bird or animal. Comprehensive coverage will pay to fix or replace your vehicle minus any deductible amount.
  • Options

    You can add a deductible to your Comprehensive coverage to lower your insurance premium; the higher your deductible, the lower your rate. A deductible is the amount you are willing to pay out of your pocket for your claim. Your insurance company will pay you the value of your vehicle minus the deductible amount in the case of a total loss.
  • Misconceptions

    Many people believe that an insurance company is required to use new factory parts to repair the vehicle. This is only true if the car is new. Your insurer is only required to return your car to the condition it was at the time of the loss. If your car is three years old, you probably won't be getting new parts. However, you can get new parts if you are willing to pay for the upgrade yourself.

  • Considerations

    If your car is more than five years old, you might be better off not getting Comprehensive coverage. Check the value of your car and find out how much extra it costs for the Comprehensive coverage. If the value of the car is low, put the money you would have spent on the Comprehensive coverage aside to repair or replace the vehicle, instead of paying it to your insurance company.
  • Tips

    If a deer or other animal jumps in front of your car and you hit it, your Comprehensive insurance should cover your vehicle. If you swerve to miss the animal but hit something else, your Comprehensive coverage will not apply. You would have to have Collision coverage to repair or replace your vehicle. Hitting an animal is considered a "not at fault" accident, but swerving and hitting something else would be considered an "at fault" accident. If you or your passengers won't be harmed, it is better to hit the animal than hit something else.
  • Warning

    Comprehensive coverage will pay to replace the car or some items that are stolen out of the car. Most policies will not cover stolen items in the car that are not attached to the vehicle. In some cases, cell phones or DVD players that are hooked to chargers plugged into the car or even woofers that have been strapped to the car are covered. If the items are loose, such as a purse, a laptop not plugged into the car or a backpack, they won't be covered. Check your policy to be certain of what is covered.
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