Understanding auto insurance policies can be challenging, especially since there is often a lot of terminology and not a lot of explanation. While everyone who drives a vehicle must get the minimum mandatory coverage, there are still a number of supplementary coverages available, and these options are often what get confused: two prime examples being collision and comprehensive coverage. So, what is the difference between collision and comprehensive auto insurance coverage? And, do you need both or will just one do?
Collision auto insurance coverage is exactly what it sounds like: it covers the damage done to your vehicle in the event of a collision, either with another vehicle or a stationary object. If you get into a fender-bender, collision coverage will help you repair your bumper. If you swerve to avoid a raccoon on your street and hit a fire hydrant, collision coverage will help you pay for your repairs. If you flip your vehicle while driving down some icy road in the middle of winter, collision coverage protects you from paying out of pocket for damages.
Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is the opposite of collision coverage; it’s the other side of the coin, the ying to the yang as it were. Comprehensive coverage provides protection against damage done to your car when it is not related to a car accident. While coverage can differ based on your insurance provider, generally comprehensive coverage provides protection from things like falling debris, vandalism, theft, fire damage, and natural disasters. So, if you park your car under a tree and a storm comes through causing a branch to fall and shatter your windshield, it’s your comprehensive policy that will protect you from paying for damages.
Do you need Collision and Comprehensive Coverage?
Since collision and comprehensive coverage are complements to each other, it is best to get both in order to give yourself the best protection. While it is advisable to get collision and comprehensive coverage, as both are optional whether you require collision and comprehensive coverage is based on your individual situation and your needs. If you live in an area that is more prone to theft or natural disasters like flooding, if your vehicle is the latest model or on its last legs, or if you can pay out of pocket for repairs are all considerations you and your insurance broker should discuss before moving forward with a policy. Be sure to talk to your advisor about your needs, concerns, and budget before signing off on an auto insurance policy.
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