What Is the Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Insurance?

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What Is the Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Insurance

You probably know you need car insurance to drive, but did you know there are various types of coverage for different things? Comprehensive is for the unexpected surprises life throws at your car, while collision is there for those fender-benders and mishaps on the road. It’s like having the dynamic duo of insurance to protect you. Read on to learn what exactly is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance.

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance is like your car’s guardian angel, ready for action when unexpected events crash the party. It’s designed to cover things like severe weather like hailstorms, accidents involving trees with a questionable sense of direction, or even run-ins with those mischievous deer who think they’re starring in their own game of dodge the car. When these curveballs come your way, comprehensive coverage steps up to bat, covering the costs of getting your car back in shape. 

What is collision insurance?

Collision insurance is there to help when your car has a run-in with something like another vehicle or a stationary object, such as a lamppost. It’s a type of coverage that comes to the rescue by assisting in paying for the repairs to your own vehicle, regardless of who’s at fault. It’s your go-to protection for those on-the-road oops moments.

Comprehensive insurance vs. collision insurance

Comprehensive and collision insurance are like two puzzle pieces that complete your car protection picture.


Collision insurance provides coverage for accidents involving other vehicles or stationary objects, such as hitting a pole or guardrail. If your car is involved in a collision, whether you’re at fault or not, this type of insurance steps in to help cover the costs of repairing your vehicle. 

On the other hand, comprehensive insurance is designed to cover damage that is unexpected and outside of your control, including incidents like hitting an animal on the road or having a tree branch fall on your vehicle during a storm. Comprehensive coverage acts as a safeguard for a wide range of non-collision-related incidents.

Legal requirement

In terms of requirements, both comprehensive and collision insurance share a common characteristic: neither is typically mandated by state laws. States generally require liability insurance to cover damage you may cause to others in an accident, but they don’t typically require you to have comprehensive or collision coverage.

However, the similarity ends there. While typically, neither is legally required by states, vehicle lenders, such as banks or finance companies, may have their own requirements. They often insist on collision coverage if you’re financing a car because it helps protect their investment. The difference lies in the potential lender requirement for collision coverage, while comprehensive coverage is not usually demanded by lenders either.


Comprehensive coverage tends to be more expensive than collision coverage because it covers a broader range of incidents, including those that are less common but can be costly to repair — like the deer who moonlights as a daredevil on the road.


Deductibles work the same way for comprehensive and collision insurance. It’s like choosing how much you’re willing to chip in before your insurance helps out. Higher deductibles usually result in lower premiums, but you’ll pay more out-of-pocket if you get in an accident. Lower deductibles mean higher premiums, but you pay less upfront if you need to use your insurance.

How to choose between comprehensive and collision insurance

To decide between comprehensive and collision insurance, it’s essential to think about your unique situation and needs. Start by considering the value of your vehicle — how much is it worth? Next, evaluate your budget and how much you’re willing to pay for insurance.

Your driving habits also matter. Are you on the road a lot, or is your car mostly parked? Think about the likelihood of accidents or other incidents based on your driving patterns.

How comfortable are you with taking on some financial responsibility in case of an accident?

Why not have both comprehensive and collision insurance?

Having both types of insurance can be a smart move. They complement each other to provide more comprehensive protection.

Comprehensive insurance covers incidents like hailstorms, vandalism, or hitting animals, while collision insurance handles accidents involving other vehicles or objects. By having both, you create a safety net that covers a broader range of scenarios.

For example, let’s say you’re driving during a thunderstorm, and a tree branch falls on your car. Comprehensive insurance has your back. Now, imagine you accidentally rear-end another car on your way to work. Collision insurance steps in here.

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Comprehensive and Collision Insurance Makes Dollars and Sense

In the world of insurance, it’s not always about either/or. Sometimes, it’s a both/and situation. Comprehensive and collision insurance each bring their unique strengths to the table. Consider both, especially if you’ve paid off your car. After all, if the unexpected occurs and you total a car you, not having both types of coverage could leave your wallet feeling much lighter.


Can I transfer my comprehensive and collision insurance to another vehicle?

Yes, you can often transfer these coverages to a new vehicle, but the specifics may vary by insurance company.

Will my comprehensive or collision insurance rates increase after filing a claim?

It’s possible that your rates could go up after filing a claim, but it depends on various factors, including your insurance provider and your claim history.

Can I file a claim for minor damages under comprehensive or collision insurance?

Yes, you can file a claim for minor damages, but keep in mind that you’ll need to pay your deductible, and it might impact your future premiums.

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