Comprehensive vs. collision insurance

Car smashed by a fallen tree on a city street
November 13, 2023

What is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?

Comprehensive auto insurance applies to covered incidents beyond your control, including theft and weather-related damage. Collision auto insurance helps cover your vehicle if you’re in an accident—even if you’re at fault.

If you’re shopping for auto insurance coverages, we can help you understand the differences and similarities between comprehensive vs. collision insurance.

Comprehensive and collision overview

Comprehensive insurance

  • What it covers: Incidents that damage your car through no fault of your own and beyond your control. That includes:

    • Weather-related damage, such as hail

    • Vandalization

    • Theft

Comprehensive coverage often takes special circumstances into account. If you accidentally hit an animal, for example, it's considered out of your control—and therefore, covered by comprehensive insurance. If you live or are frequently planning to drive in a rural area with a high deer population, comprehensive coverage can provide significant value.

  • What it doesn't cover: Damage directly related to at-fault accidents—that's where collision coverage comes in.

  • Comprehensive deductible: When purchasing your insurance, you're able to select a deductible. The deductible is the amount you pay toward a claim before your insurance provider begins contributing. For example, let's say you have a $500 deductible and your car's door gets dented. Fixing the door costs $1,200. You'll pay the initial $500, and your insurance covers the rest.

  • Limits: Different than a coverage like liability, comprehensive insurance doesn't offer multiple limits for you to choose from. The limit for comprehensive is typically equal to the value of your vehicle. If your car is worth $15,000, your insurance won't cover you beyond that amount.

Collision insurance

  • What it covers: Collision coverage will cover your vehicle if you're in an accident—even if you caused the accident or if you hit a stationary object.

  • What it doesn't cover: Collision insurance doesn't pay for damages covered by comprehensive insurance, such as weather damage. It also doesn't cover damage to another person's vehicle or medical costs. That's what liability insurance is for.

  • Collision deductible: Like comprehensive, you've got a choice to select a deductible during your insurance purchase. Once you've selected your collision deductible, that's the amount you'll pay on an insurance claim if your car is damaged in an accident. Your insurance provider will cover the rest of the balance related to the damage costs, up to the limit of your vehicle's value.

  • Limits: There aren't traditional limit options to choose from for collision coverage. However, the maximum amount your insurer will help cover for collisions is likely equal to the total cash value of your car.

Get a quick Dairyland quote. Drive protected with comprehensive and collision insurance.

Similarities between collision and comprehensive insurance

These two types of auto insurance have the following in common:

  • Comprehensive and collision aren't required by the state—making them optional—unless you have a loan on your vehicle and your lienholder requires these coverages

  • Both coverages help get your car's damages repaired

Differences between comprehensive and collision insurance

Although both of these coverages protect your vehicle, the main difference between them is the actual events that cause the damage.

Types of comprehensive damage

  • Vandalism

  • Theft

  • Weather

  • Animals

Types of collision damage

  • You hit a motorcycle

  • Another vehicle crashes into your car

  • You crash your car into a tree or a fence post

What to consider when purchasing comprehensive and collision insurance

  • Location: If you live in an area where accidents are relatively common, theft is common for cars, or severe weather is a seasonal threat, consider purchasing both collision and comprehensive insurance.

  • Vehicle use: If you frequently use your vehicle, we recommend purchasing collision coverage. The more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident and file an insurance claim.

  • Vehicle value: Your insurance company will insure your vehicle for its cash value. If you’ve got a relatively new vehicle, you’d want to consider these coverages more than if you owned an older vehicle. Newer cars are likely in better condition and worth more, and replacement parts tend to be more expensive. For example, if your car is worth $20,000, you’re eligible for a higher level of insurance coverage than if your car is worth $10,000.

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Costs of comprehensive and collision insurance

The costs of comprehensive and collision insurance are based on similar pricing factors as your overall insurance policy. Along with the factors we listed above, your insurance provider may also consider your age, credit score, driving record, and type of vehicle. Together, these factors will help determine your coverage limits, deductibles, and your premium costs.

When to drop your collision or comprehensive insurance

If your car is on the older side and not worth much, you may be paying more for comprehensive and collision insurance than your car is worth. Also, if you don’t drive very much or you’ve parked your vehicle in a safe, secure location, talk with your agent to determine whether your coverages are providing actual value.

Get the best comprehensive and collision insurance

When searching for any kind of car insurance, explore many options. We recommend reviewing different types of resources, coverages, and comparing prices between different plans and companies. Start by requesting a free, quick quote from Dairyland. 

Related links

Interested in adding comprehensive and collision insurance to your policy but don't want to break the bank? Find a Dairyland agent to help you today.

Considering letting your insurance lapse, or even passing on car insurance altogether? Think again. There are significant risks associated with driving without auto insurance.

The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.

*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.

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