Collision vs Comprehensive Coverage

Posted on: 11Feb,2016

Every California auto insurance company offers two types of coverage that pay for physical damages – Collision and Comprehensive coverage. Despite the fact that these are very common policy coverages, not everyone understands what each entails. The best way to understand these two coverages is by learning more about each one and how they differ. Both types of coverage could play a significant role in keeping your vehicle looking its best. The following content describes each of these coverages and how they differ.

Key Points of Collision Coverage

Without a doubt, one of the most important coverages to have in your insurance policy is Collision. The reason for its elevated importance is the fact that this is the coverage that protects both you and your vehicle from physical damage. Basically, you’re covered against any significant damage that can result from colliding with another object such as a guard rail, a pole, and a tree as well as another vehicle.

The key points of Collision coverage include:

• Collision covers the cost of repairs associated with the damages that result whenever two vehicles collide. It does not matter if they were driving backward or forward.
• If your car slides on an icy surface and damages an inanimate object, Collision will cover the damages that result.
• Pothole damage and the repairs that result are covered by Collision coverage.
• You can only purchase Collision if it is combined with comprehensive and liability coverage on your policy.
• Since Collision coverage can be costly, you can offset that by taking a higher deductible. The downside is that your out-of-pocket expense will be greater.

The thing to remember about this type of coverage is that no matter who is driving the vehicles that are involved in a traffic accident, someone is always going to be the “at-fault” driver.

Key Points of Comprehensive Coverage

It goes without saying that your vehicle will never be immune to any types of damage, including an auto accident. The key points of Comprehensive coverage include:

• Any contact with an animal that results in damage to the vehicle is covered (most common collision is with deer).
• If your windshield chips or cracks, Comprehensive covers these types of damage.
• The theft of your vehicle and/or damages resulting from vandalism is also covered.
• This coverage protects your vehicle against flood, hail, wind, and other storm damage.
• You can set your Comprehensive up as a stand-alone coverage or use it in conjunction with any other type.
• Comprehensive is oftentimes reasonably priced and features a lower deductible amount.

Basically, you should think of Comprehensive coverage as an all-encompassing, one-size-fits-all approach to protecting the vehicle you are driving from physical damage that could result from anything besides a collision.

How do these Coverages differ?

The element of driver control is the main difference between Collision and Comprehensive coverage. Events that are typically within the driver’s control are normally protected by Collision coverage. Conversely, those events that are attributed to “Acts of God” or are natural disaster related are protected by Comprehensive coverage. In other words, you are protected against damages resulting from events that are beyond your control. This would include carjackings, damage from hail, or hitting a deer.

As an example, let’s turn back the clock to the damage and devastation that Superstorm Sandy caused in October of 2012. In the aftermath, the storm had left behind damages to the tune of $128 million, a large portion of which involved vehicular damage. Here are two possible scenarios and their potential coverage issues:

• Scenario #1: Damage to your vehicle occurred when you were driving down the road and swerved to miss a falling tree branch, but crashed into it anyway.

• Scenario #2: Damages occur when high winds snap a large branch off a tree and it hits your vehicle as it is parked.

Under Scenario #1, your vehicle is protected by Collision coverage whereas in Scenario #2, Comprehensive coverage would take care of the damage to your vehicle. California state law only requires that you have minimum liability while Collision and Comprehensive coverage are both optional. The only exception is if you are financing a new vehicle. If you are, then there is a good possibility that the finance company will require you to have this type of coverage on the vehicle.