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Explaining the difference between collision and comprehensive car insurance coverage

Added May 7, 2019
Dairyland Insurance

When it comes to car or auto insurance, you’ve probably heard the terms comprehensive coverage (or comp) and collision coverage, but are you sure you know the difference between the two? They are similar and are often sold as a package, but they don’t cover the same problems. We’ll break down the two types of coverage, so you know what they mean the next time you read your car insurance policy coverage details.

What is collision coverage?

Collision insurance policy coverage is basically what it sounds like—if you hit a physical object (e.g., car, tree, snowbank), your insurance company will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle up to a certain limit minus your deductible amount. Here are some examples of what it pays for:

  • Damage to your car in an accident you cause
  • Damage to your car if you hit an object—like a fence or pole
  • Damage to your car if someone else hits you (The other driver's liability insurance could also pay.)

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive insurance policy coverage covers the repair of damage to your vehicle caused by anything other than a collision, minus your deductible amount. Comprehensive coverage covers theft, vandalism, and other types of losses that are often described as “acts of God.” Some examples are:

  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Cracked windshield
  • Falling objects
  • Hail or other storm damage
  • Crashes with an animal

To better explain comprehensive vs. collision coverage, here are a couple of examples:

  • A deer runs in front of your car:
    • If you hit the deer: This is a comprehensive claim which will help cover your vehicle repairs.
    • If you swerve and hit a power pole instead: Collision insurance covers any physical damage from the crash.
  • You have an encounter with a tree:
    • If you hit the tree while driving: Damage to your car would be covered by collision insurance.
    • If a branch falls on your car while parked: Repairs would be handled under a comprehensive claim.

Adding either comprehensive or collision insurance to your policy will increase your premium compared with a liability-only policy. That’s because you’re protecting yourself against a wider range of risks.

Still have comprehensive and collision insurance questions? Wondering how we can be such a cheap car insurance option while protecting you with a quality policy? Check our types of coverage to learn more.

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At Dairyland, we feel strongly about your safety, and we promote that through our defensive driving discount. Check out what you might be able to save today.

Also, make sure you have the comprehensive and collision car insurance coverage you need on the road.


This document is made available by Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively "SIAMCO") with the understanding that SIAMCO is not engaged in the practice of law, nor is it rendering legal advice. The information contained in this document is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Legal obligations may vary by state and locality. No one should act on the information contained in this document without legal advice from competent and licensed local professionals.