Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

Protecting You from All Kinds of Circumstances

Comprehensive insurance coverage covers graffitti and other non collision damages
Comprehensive auto coverage covers a lot more than you may realize. Bill Bachmann / Getty Images

Comprehensive insurance coverage is one of the main coverages available as part of a car insurance policy. In definition, it offers protection from a vast range of damages that may occur to your vehicle in the event of a loss that is not the result of a collision. Comprehensive car insurance coverage includes coverage for damage from theft, fire, explosion, vandalism, and flying or falling objects.

Comprehensive coverage also includes your glass and windshield. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage also includes coverage for damage from weather conditions or natural disasters, like windstorm, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, hail, and flood.

Comprehensive coverage also includes damage to a vehicle caused as a result of a collision or damage from birds or an animal.

Comprehensive coverage also provides insurance when your vehicle is damaged as a result of civil unrest or riot.

Is Comprehensive Coverage Mandatory or Required?

Comprehensive coverage is not part of the state minimum requirement for automobile insurance. However, if you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, the lender or finance company may require you to purchase full coverage for your vehicle, in which case they will set forth a requirement that you include comprehensive coverage.

When to Purchase Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

If you lease or have a loan for your vehicle, you will be required to purchase comprehensive insurance coverage, even though it may not be a requirement by minimum car insurance state laws.

The leasing or finance company will want to make sure your vehicle is fully insured during the time you still owe money on your vehicle.

Anytime your vehicle has value, you will want to consider paying for comprehensive insurance coverage. Sometimes people think that an older vehicle does not need coverage for comprehensive because they don't think it will be stolen.

However, remember that comprehensive covers many different perils, including windshield, fire and damage from weather events.

Comprehensive Coverage and Deductibles

Comprehensive coverage is usually sold with a deductible. The policyholder may choose the deductible, although the standard deductible for comprehensive coverages usually ranges from $100- $300. Depending on the value of your vehicle, or the cost of your insurance, you may also opt for a higher deductible as a strategy to lower insurance costs. However given that many people use the comprehensive coverage to repair or replace windshields, which do not cost a lot of money, you want to make sure you fully understand the implication of your deductible and that you can afford the cost of paying your deductible, or repairs that cost less than your deductible in the event of a claim.

Comprehensive Coverage and Glass Claims

Glass damage is usually included in comprehensive coverage on an automobile policy and would be subject to the comprehensive coverage deductible. If your vehicle has minor damage to the glass and only requires a repair, some insurance companies do not require that you pay the deductible.

In some states, the laws regulate the application of a deductible on a comprehensive glass claim that only requires a repair as opposed to a replacement.

Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina mandate the repair by comprehensive insurance coverage without a deductible because they have found that driving with damaged windshields is dangerous, this is an advantage of comprehensive coverage in these states. This being said, most insurance companies will waive the deductible in the case of a glass repair, so it is worth calling your agent or representative to know your conditions.

Some states, according to the Insurance Institute, may also offer endorsements for full glass coverage in addition to the comprehensive coverage, that allows the policyholder to opt for no deductible when there is a glass claim.

Do Comprehensive Coverage Claims Count as Responsible Accidents?

Comprehensive coverage claims do not count as responsible accidents. Responsible accidents would fall under the liability or collision portion of your auto insurance and not the comprehensive coverage section.

One confusing part of auto insurance comprehensive coverage which is unlike all the rest of the insured perils under comprehensive insurance is the coverage for hitting an animal. If you hit a groundhog, squirrel, moose or even hit a deer with your car, hitting an animal is covered by the comprehensive coverage of your auto policy. It is the rare occasion where you hit something while driving and it is not counted against you as a responsible accident, most states and insurance companies will not consider this kind of claim a responsible accident. Contact your insurance company to find out how they view this and make sure that there would not be other surcharges associated with a comprehensive claim.

Rental Vehicles and  Comprehensive Car Coverage After a Vehicle Theft or Comprehensive Covered Loss

Rental reimbursement coverage is an important part of coverage that only applies if you have it added to your policy as an endorsement. If you want to have a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired due to a comprehensive covered claim, then you need to make sure that you have comprehensive coverage on your car. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, then the rental reimbursement coverage will only come into play when a damage is covered. So you may not qualify if your car is not fully insured.

Examples of Comprehensive Coverage and Claims

  • Emily parked her car on the street outside a friend's building, during her visit the weather got bad, and she decided to stay the night instead of head home in the storm. The next morning when Emily went to leave she noticed the roof and hood of her car had huge welts in it. She figured it must have been caused by hail during the storm. She contacted her insurance company and they reassured her the loss would be taken care of by the comprehensive insurance coverage she selected when buying her policy although she would need to pay her $500 insurance deductible first.

The Broken Windshield and Comprehensive Coverage

  • Mark was driving on the highway and all of a sudden a rock hit the windshield and created a crack. As soon as Mark got home, he called his insurance representative and was told that he didn't need to worry, he had comprehensive coverage which may help to repair or replace a broken or shattered windshield, he  may only have to pay his deductible and the rest would be covered.

Hitting a Deer While Driving

  • Susan was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at her family cottage when suddenly she hit a deer. Thankfully she was okay, but her car was destroyed. She called the police to make an accident report, then called her insurance worried that this might not be fully covered. Her insurance representative reassured her, she has comprehensive insurance, so the damage would be covered under her policy.