Here’s why drivers should get comprehensive car insurance

Comprehensive auto insurance can be a good idea for drivers, if drivers understand how this insurance works. (iStock)

Vehicle owners have a vast array of auto insurance options to consider these days, with comprehensive auto insurance increasingly ranking high on car owners lists. Comprehensive coverage is auto insurance that throws a protective financial blanket over potential “on the road” risks.

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“Comprehensive car insurance is an optional coverage you can add to your policy to help protect your car from certain physical damage it may encounter,” said Penny Gusner, senior consumer analyst at CarInsurance.com. “If you have financed or leased your vehicle, your financing company will require you to carry it.”

Visit Credible to examine all your auto insurance options – including comprehensive car insurance.

What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?

Comprehensive insurance (also known as “other than collision” insurance) covers a vehicle from events such as theft, fire, striking an animal, vandalism, and damage from natural weather events such as windstorms, flooding, and hail.

If you're looking for comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, then you're going to want to weigh your options to strike the best deal. Credible can help connect you with an insurance broker, which can compare insurance rates instantly.

5 reasons you'd want comprehensive auto insurance

Comprehensive can protect you from damage caused by the following:

  1. You hit a deer on the road, you can make a comprehensive claim.
  2. Your house catches fire and in the garage is your car, which also sustains fire damage (home insurance will not cover the fire damage to your car).
  3. You drive through water that looks minor but turns out to be deep and floods your car or if there is a hurricane that dumps torrential rain and floodwaters arise, you can make a comprehensive claim for the water damage to your car if you carry comp.
  4. Someone scratches your car's paint or breaks out your side window.
  5. A rock flies up on the roadway and cracks the vehicle’s windshield.

“It also covers glass damage and damages from flying missiles, such as something that flies off of another person's vehicle and damages yours,” Gusner said.

“Also, If your car is stolen, you make a claim through comprehensive, and whether the car is found or not, comprehensive will pay,” she added. “The insurance will pay for repairs if the car found is with issues, or if the car is not found then your insurer will pay you the value of your vehicle. If a storm comes through and a tree branch falls on your car or if there is hail damage to the roof and hood, this would also be a comprehensive claim.”

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How comprehensive auto insurance works

Similar to traditional car insurance, comprehensive car insurance is a policy that drivers can easily purchase from their existing insurance agent or broker.

Again, Credible can connect you to a broker and help you get covered by comprehensive insurance when you're ready. Just head to their website and see what comprehensive coverage plans are currently available.

“Comprehensive car insurance is additive, meaning it adds even more insurance coverage on top of your existing auto insurance policy,” said Zach Shefska, founder of Your Auto Advocate, a customer advocacy platform for car buyers and owners. “Claims are traditionally made the same way you would make them if you got into a car accident.”

Comprehensive auto insurance claims process

  1. The owner of the vehicle in question files a claim with their insurance company after an incident.
  2. “After paying the chosen deductible amount, any damages above and beyond the deductible will be paid for by the insurance company to restore the vehicle back to its condition prior to the incident,” said Drewbie Wilson, a licensed property and casualty insurance agent in Plano, Texas.

Insurance experts advise car owners not to confuse comprehensive auto insurance with collision insurance. Credible can also help you understand the difference between the two and allow you to compare insurance rates and brokers. “Think of collision insurance as insurance that protects a driver from a car accident, and comprehensive insurance as insurance that protects a driver from the unthinkable,” Shefska said. “Most drivers comprehend and understand that there is always a chance you may get into a car accident when you put the key in the ignition—that's simply the reality of driving. However, most drivers do not think about the potential for a hail storm putting dents in the roof of their car, or a deer jumping out of the woods and into your vehicle.”

“Comprehensive car insurance covers those unexpected events, while collision insurance alone does not,” he said.

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Should you opt for comprehensive coverage?

If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters (think coastal areas with hurricane risk or a mountainous region with tough driving conditions) then comprehensive car insurance should be on the table.

“However, not all vehicles should be considered for comprehensive insurance, since it is more expensive,” said Shefska. “If you're considering comprehensive car insurance, I recommend using the rule of thumb that your insurance payment should be no more than your car payment.”

“If it is higher, odds are you shouldn't be buying comprehensive car insurance, as the vehicle's actual cash value simply isn't high enough to justify it,” he added.

Visit Credible to explore all your auto insurance options and find the right insurance plan for your unique needs.

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