What comprehensive covers

Written by Penny Gusner on August 16, 2012 & Posted in Auto Insurance

While the word "comprehensive" means all-inclusive, the comprehensive portion of a car insurance policy isn't. Instead, it covers only specific situations known in the insuranced industry as perils.

Comprehensive coverage is also referred to as "other than collision," which might lead you to believe it will cover anything that collision coverage won't, but that isn't completely accurate, either.

In general, comprehensive will cover your car for theft, vandalism and glass breakage; as well as damage from falling objects (missiles, insurers might call them), fire, flood, animals and certain natural disasters, minus your deductible.

Some situations typically covered by comprehensive coverage include:

  • A tree branch falls on your car
  • Your car is stolen and not recovered or recovered with damages
  • Hail damage
  • Striking a deer
  • Someone "keys" your car
  • A rock striking your windshield and cracking it

Comprehensive won't cover situations such as:

  • Mechanical breakdown of a car
  • A car rendered inoperable, not due to a covered event.
  • Wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Personal property stolen from within your vehicle
  • Your car colliding with another car or object (you need collision coverage for this)

Then there are situations that fall into a gray area. For instance, mice getting into your engine compartment and chewing on your electrical wires is covered by some insurers and not by others.

While it may not cover every event under the sun, comprehensive is good protection for your vehicle for the perils it does cover. If your car were stolen out of your driveway tonight, or caught fire, only comprehensive coverage would help you repair or replace it. Collision or liability coverage would not.

Claims made under your comprehensive coverage typically do not result in a rate increase, unlike collision claims, unless you have made several in a short period of time.

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