What is comprehensive insurance and what does it cover?

Car smashed by a fallen tree on a city street
November 10, 2023

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance helps cover damage to your vehicle from incidents unrelated to a collision or accident with another vehicle or stationary object. For example, damage to your car caused by weather, animals, or theft.

It's important to understand what comprehensive insurance covers so you're aware of all your auto insurance options. Including comprehensive insurance in your auto policy helps pay for repairs to your vehicle when incidents happen that aren't collision-related and are outside of your control.

What does comprehensive insurance cover?

Comprehensive insurance helps cover your vehicle if something happens that you had no control over. Examples include:

  • Fire

  • Vandalism

  • Theft

  • Falling objects

  • Natural disasters

  • Damage caused by animals (such as hitting a deer)

What comprehensive insurance doesn't cover

  • Medical expenses: Comprehensive coverage doesn't include payments for medical expenses that occur because of an accident. Your liability insurance will help cover medical costs for a driver who's involved in an accident you caused.

  • Collision damages: Any accident or collision that happens to your vehicle or someone else's vehicle should be covered by either collision or liability insurance, not by comprehensive. In fact, comprehensive insurance is sometimes referred to as "other than collision" insurance.

How comprehensive insurance works

While most states require some level of liability insurance, comprehensive isn't mandatory. You're given the option to purchase some level of comprehensive insurance when you purchase your insurance policy.

Most insurers recommend this type of coverage to help protect you in case an unexpected incident causes damage to your vehicle.


Your deductible for comprehensive insurance is the amount you pay toward a claim—your insurance provider helps cover the rest. For example, say a tree limb falls on your car and dents the hood.

If you have a $500 deductible and it costs $1,500 to fix the hood of your car, you’ll pay the deductible of $500, and your insurance will cover the remaining $1,000.


The limit for comprehensive car insurance is the maximum amount your insurance will cover and is typically equal to the value of your vehicle. If your car is worth $10,000, your insurance won't cover you past that amount.

Comprehensive insurance versus collision insurance

Comprehensive and collision coverage are two different types of coverages:

  • Comprehensive car insurance: Damage caused by something like hitting a deer or someone vandalizing your car.

  • Collision car insurance: Damage from an accident where you hit an object like a telephone pole or another vehicle.

Is comprehensive insurance "full coverage" insurance?

Comprehensive insurance isn’t the same as "full coverage" insurance. As a matter of fact, "full coverage" isn’t actually a type of insurance—it’s a term people use to refer to a group of coverages under a policy. By most definitions, “full coverage" insurance typically includes comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance.

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How comprehensive insurance rates are calculated

How much comprehensive car insurance costs for you varies based on many of the same factors used to calculate the cost of your entire auto insurance policy. These factors can include your:

  • Age

  • Insurance score (based on credit history information)

  • Driving record

  • Vehicle type

Do comprehensive insurance rates increase after a claim?

There’s a chance your rates may increase after filing a comprehensive claim. However, the severity of the damage to your vehicle, the cost of the repair, and the state you live in can determine how much your rates will increase, if at all. The more severe the damage, the more likely your rate is to increase.

Is comprehensive insurance worth it for an older car?

Comprehensive insurance only covers up to the value of your car. If your car’s older and not worth much, it may not make financial sense to have comprehensive insurance, depending on your deductible. It’s a good idea to find out the value of your vehicle and contact your insurance provider to see what your comprehensive coverage will cost. That’ll help determine what’s best for you.

If you’re worried about theft or unexpected damage to your vehicle, give us a call and discover how easy it is to add comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy.

Get a quick Dairyland quote today. Find the comprehensive insurance coverage you need.

Can comprehensive auto insurance help if I hit a deer?

Damage from hitting an animal represents 13 percent of all comprehensive insurance claims according to Dairyland® auto insurance data, making it one of the most common claims for this type of coverage. If you live in an area where deer are common, consider adding comprehensive insurance coverage to your auto policy.

Related links:

Comprehensive insurance can help you out if your car is stolen. If this happens to you, there are important steps you should take.

If your vehicle’s in the shop being repaired, you may need a rental to get to around. It’s important to know whether your insurance policy covers your rental.

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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