Having your car damaged is bad enough, but which of your car insurance's physical damage coverages--collision or comprehensive--does the claim fall under?
Many people carry a lower deductible for comprehensive. If you are among them, you're probably hoping your claim will be covered by a comprehensive auto insurance claim. However, most accidents fall under collision coverage.
Collision insurance covers you when your car is damaged after hitting an object, or when another object hits your vehicle.
If you hit a car, house, fence, curb, or an item in the middle of the roadway, it's the collision portion of your car insurance policy that covers damages to your vehicle.
So, if you rear-end another car, your newly licensed teen backs into your mailbox or you hit a boulder in the roadway, it's a collision claim.
Collision also covers the "upset" of your vehicle. So, if you lose control and roll or flip your vehicle, it's a collision claim.
Comprehensive is sometimes referred to as "other than collision" because it covers accidents that aren't covered by your collision insurance.
Comprehensive covers damages to your vehicle that typically are not your fault. Theft of your vehicle, hitting an animal or bird, fire damage and vandalism are covered by comprehensive.
An object falling on your vehicle is a comprehensive claim. So is glass damage, such as a windshield cracked by road debris or a window broken by a thief.
Damages to your car due to natural occurrences, such as hail, floodwaters and wind, fall under comprehensive coverage.
A good understanding of what each part of your auto insurance policy covers will help you understand how the claims process will unfold. But ultimately, your car insurance company will determine if your claim goes under comprehensive or collision.
Here are some final examples to help you identify what type of claim you have:
Andrew Freiburghouse is a writer and businessman. As a partner at Los Angeles tax preparation firm Pronto Income Tax of California, Inc., Andrew has served thousands of clients both face to face and over the telephone. Currently, Andrew lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is in the process of starting up his own tax practice.
Gary P. Bangstad, Ed. D. is a freelance writer in the area of business and insurance. Previously, he worked for Midwest Financial Planning LTD, selling insurance and investment products. He has also taught music at the university level.
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