Updated: October 2015
When you're thinking about buying car insurance, you have a number of factors to consider. One question you might have is, "What is comprehensive coverage?"
When people hear the word "comprehensive," they might think "all-encompassing"— but in car insurance terms, the word has a different meaning.
Simply put, comprehensive coverage protects you against damages to your car that are the result of covered perils not related to a collision. Think of a scenario that could cause damage to your car that has nothing to do with striking another vehicle. In many cases, this can include:
- Natural disasters like a hurricane or a tornado
- Falling objects
- Damage done to your car by animals
- A civil disturbance, like a riot that results in damage or destruction of your car
As with all insurance policies, you should check with your insurance agent to make sure what perils are included under the comprehensive coverage of your auto insurance policy.
When you're shopping for an auto insurance policy, you should determine whether comprehensive coverage suits your needs. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to determine if you may want comprehensive coverage.
- Does your lender or lease holder require comprehensive coverage? Many auto lenders and lease holders make it mandatory for your car to have comprehensive coverage. If you still owe money on your vehicle, or you lease your vehicle, you should check with the institution that holds your auto loan or lease to make sure comprehensive coverage is a requirement.
- How old is your car and what's it worth? If you have paid off your car, comprehensive coverage is optional. When you're considering purchasing comprehensive coverage, it may be a good idea to find out what your car's Kelley Blue Book value is, so that you know if you will be able to afford to repair or replace your vehicle if something happens to it. With an older car that's not worth as much money, you may be confident that you could afford to pay to repair or replace it. But, if your car is worth more or if you would not have the money at hand for repairs or replacement after an accident, buying optional coverages, like comprehensive and collision coverage, may be a smart investment.
It may be tempting to save money on car insurance premiums by opting not to buy comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. But, if your car was damaged, would you be able to afford to fix or replace it? When you're deciding to get comprehensive coverage, it may be a good idea to weigh the higher premiums that comprehensive coverage will likely lead to against how much money it could cost you to repair or replace your car in the event of a covered loss. Comprehensive coverage can provide you the peace of mind of knowing you are protected in the event of a covered peril.
As always, talk to an insurance agent to discuss all of the options open to you as you look for an auto insurance policy that's right for you.