What is Comprehensive Coverage?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Comprehensive coverage is a type of insurance that most often applies to insuring cars. It can apply to other things, too, and you’ll sometimes see insurance plans offering comprehensive coverage on the purchase of new electronic items like cellphones. If you’ve purchased comprehensive coverage on a cellphone or another electronic item and that item gets damaged, especially through accident such as dropping a phone or getting scratches on it, you may be able to have your phone replaced at little additional cost.

Comprehensive coverage goes beyond covering just simple car accidents.
Comprehensive coverage goes beyond covering just simple car accidents.

As mentioned, generally people purchase comprehensive coverage as part of their car insurance. Instead of covering just simple car accidents, this type of insurance may compensate you for damage or even offer dollar replacement of a totaled vehicle in the event that it is damaged by things besides car accidents. Potential damage that might be covered by this insurance could include wind, flood, earthquake or weather damage of other types, or generally other unpredictable events for which the driver or owner cannot be held responsible.

Comprehensive insurance coverage may cover earthquake damage.
Comprehensive insurance coverage may cover earthquake damage.

Though comprehensive insurance may be optional, it can be compulsory if you buy a car with an auto loan. Many lending agencies require borrowers to carry comprehensive coverage for the length of the loan. People who have purchased moderately expensive cars or luxury vehicles without a loan may still want to purchase comprehensive coverage to protect their investment.

Comprehensive coverage can provide insurance coverage in the event of a flood.
Comprehensive coverage can provide insurance coverage in the event of a flood.

Price range for comprehensive insurance is so variable, that it’s difficult to place a number on it. A few things can bring down the price. First, most forms of this insurance will have a deductible. Therefore payments for damage to your vehicle kick in when they exceed the deductible payment.

Comprehensive coverage often refers to extensive insurance plans for automobile repair.
Comprehensive coverage often refers to extensive insurance plans for automobile repair.

Common deductible amounts include $250 US Dollars (USD) and $500 USD per each incidence of damage. Generally you’ll pay more for comprehensive coverage if your deductible is lower. One advantage to lower deductibles is that some auto body shops may waive them if they have to perform significant repairs on your vehicle. When considering deductible, consider how much money you have to potentially lose or need to spend if a car becomes seriously damaged. When you can easily afford a high deductible, it may make sense to choose this and thus save money on comprehensive insurance.

Additionally, you should consider the value of your car. Once you’re not making payments on a vehicle, especially if the car isn’t worth much, comprehensive coverage might end up costing more than it could potentially save. It might not be terribly important to purchase comprehensive insurance on a car only worth a couple thousand USD, since in a few years’ time, you might pay more for the insurance than you would to replace or repair the vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage may cover damage to a car that occurs as a result of a natural disaster.
Comprehensive coverage may cover damage to a car that occurs as a result of a natural disaster.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon355090

My whole tire came off and I fixed my car, but can I still file a claim?

delaco31

i enjoy your article. great job. keep it simple.

anon100112

I hit a pot hole in a construction zone that popped the ball joint off, causing my tire to come off. is this covered under comprehensive or collision damage?

hesandersjr

I hit a deer a couple of weeks back. My car is covered by comprehensive and received a check a few days ago. Can I take the check and make a car payment with it if I choose to handle the repairs myself?

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