Apprehensive About Comprehensive?

By Ryan Hurlbert on January 27th, 2010
Auto Insurance

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto caused by something, other than a collision, with another vehicle or object. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as "other than collision" coverage.

Do you need to include comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy? Well, that depends on how much risk you are willing to accept.

If your car is financed, there is no question that you need comprehensive and collision coverage. Nearly every auto loan contract includes a stipulation requiring the borrower to purchase auto insurance with comprehensive and collision coverage.

But what if your car is paid for? Do you still need comprehensive coverage?

What's Covered

When added to your auto insurance policy, comprehensive coverage covers damage to your auto caused by fire, theft, vandalism, flood, objects flying through the air (like rocks), falling trees, animals, lightning, etc. Virtually anything, except riot or civil insurrection, terrorism, or acts of war--check your policy to see which exclusions apply. Common claims are for chipped or cracked windshields, theft, and vandalism.

Your Risk Level

Do you drive a lot at highway speeds, or mostly around town? Most flying-rock windshield damage occurs on the highway, where speed contributes to the severe impact that can damage the windshield. If you have not replaced a windshield in the last 5 years, unless you change your driving habits or buy a new vehicle, you are probably unlikely to replace one in the next 5 years either.

Do you park on the street or in a garage? Your car is at greater risk for damage by vandalism or theft when it is not protected at night. Check with your local police department for statistics on vehicle prowl complaints, vehicle thefts, and vandalism.

Is your car a theft target? The National Insurance Crime Bureau publishes a report on the most stolen vehicles in each state, as well as the cities that have the greatest instances of auto theft. Just because your car is not on the list doesn't mean it is not going to be stolen, but if it is on the list you should think about protecting your car with comprehensive coverage.

Appraise Your Car

What is your car worth? If it was damaged heavily, would you bother fixing your vehicle or would this be the perfect excuse to replace it?

A good rule of thumb is if your car is worth less than five times the annual cost of coverage, you shouldn't purchase the coverage. Comprehensive coverage is often cheap, so the five-times rule may not apply.

Consider Your Deductible

The deductible is your share of any comprehensive coverage claim, and a higher deductible leads to a lower premium. How much lower? You should get several quotes to find out, but sometimes the savings are not worth the added risk.

For example, if you seem to be buying a new windshield every three years, you may want to keep a lower deductible. Unless your premium savings over three years is greater than your deductible, you are likely to pay for that new windshield.


Compare rates, and then decide. Get quotes to compare car insurance prices quickly and easily by entering your zip code in the request form. Once you know the cost and have weighed some of the risks, the decision to add or drop comprehensive coverage from your car insurance is easy.

Hot Wheels • National Insurance Crime Bureau • http://https://www.nicb.org/newsroom/nicb_campaigns/hot?wheels/hot?wheels
See average annual insurance rates for more than 2,000 vehicles

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