You've finally done it. You've got your dream car. Okay, well, maybe not your dream car – but a car all your own. This might be your first car, your first new car, or a car you're otherwise just plain proud of.
So it's time to learn how to protect that car from, well, all the other cars on the road.
What is Comprehensive Insurance?
Alright, first off, the name's a little misleading. Comprehensive Insurance doesn't cover literally every type of disaster which could possibly happen to your car. Let's break it down (no pun intended):
Comprehensive Insurance is different from Collision Insurance, although both can be bundled together into a policy package. When they are bundled, this is often called "Full Coverage." Insurance pros don't actually use the term Full Coverage, but the public does. (And often incorrectly. Sorry, members of the public.)
Here's a look at the two parts of the "Full Coverage" bundle:
Collision insurance covers any type of collision. This could be a crash with another car or an object out in the world, like a tree or a pothole. Here you'll have a deductible and then a limit on your insurance payout.
Comprehensive insurance is there for everything else. Hail pounding on your hood. An animal you accidentally run over. Even some villain stealing your car right out of your driveway! These are all situations where you'd file a comprehensive claim.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of ways your car can be damaged even while parked at the curb. So, is a Comprehensive policy one you want for your car?
What Does a Comprehensive Policy Cost?
There are a few different factors insurers look at:
Your driving history (safer is better)
Your age (middle aged is best, very young and very old are considered riskier)
Your grades (for students, and high grades often earn big discounts)
Your occupation (not too much driving all over town on a regular basis)
Your car (safer cars are better than something from The Fast & The Furious )
Some of those factors are a little out of your control. But remember: There are hundreds of car insurance companies out there fighting for your business.
With a professional insurance agent on your side, such as Chimp Quote, you can easily sort through all the top insurance providers. Custom search features make sure you never miss out on any potential discounts, including ones you might never have thought of – like a discount for choosing e-statements over traditional billing.
Insurance Requirements by State
The federal government actually does not set car insurance requirements. Instead, these are set by the state. Each state has what's called a State Minimum, which is the minimum amount of Liability Coverage you need in order to legally drive.
When you're liable for something, that means you're considered legally responsible. Liability coverage pays for damages you're found at fault for while driving. This could be another car you crash into or even a piece of property you hit.
The Difference between Comprehensive and Liability
Liability insurance is basically a way for anyone to recover damages if they're in an accident which wasn't their fault. This is insurance you carry but which pays out to cover someone else's damages. Basically, liability prevents someone from coming after your personal bank account and assets. Your insurance company pays for repairs and medical bills instead.
What Does a Comprehensive Policy Cover?
Floods – Rising water probably won't respect your closed garage door. You're likely in even worse shape if you're parked on the street during a flood. Fortunately, you're covered here.
Glass Damage – Basically, this is any type of damage related to the windshield or windows. This could be a crack or complete shattering due to vandalism, theft, weather or even an animal! Specifics will vary by policy but in most cases you're covered.
Weather – If it falls from the sky and can damage your car, you're probably covered. This includes hail, lightning, tornados and even frogs falling from the sky (although technically that's just non-collision damage).
What Does a Comprehensive Policy NOT Cover?
Hit and Runs – If someone hits your car and takes off, you'll need either collision or uninsured motorist insurance in order to cover the damages. A hit and run is a collision accident, and Comprehensive Insurance coverage is for non-collision accidents. However, still a majorly uncool move on the part of the person who hit you.
Rental Cars – If your rental car is damaged, this is not the policy you'll use for reimbursement. In most cases, rental coverage is handled through the rental car company. You might also get coverage by using certain credit cards to rent the car.
Comprehensive Insurance: The Final Word
Comprehensive insurance coverage is only legally required if you're buying a financed vehicle. But many drivers want comprehensive coverage simply for peace of mind. There are dangers on the roads besides other cars. Comprehensive coverage is a way to protect yourself from a whole wide range of potential trouble.
Even older cars benefit from Comprehensive Coverage. Just because a car is old doesn't make labor and parts any cheaper if you need a repair! Unless you're truly willing to just walk away from certain types of damage, you'll want at least some Comprehensive Coverage.
Finding the Best Quote for Comprehensive Coverage
Quick Chimp lets you instantly search through hundreds of Comprehensive policies from top insurance carriers located in all 50 states. Even better, finding the best prices takes just minutes. You'll be able to see all available discounts, too.
Your car is more than simply a way to get from point A to point B. It's a reflection of you are. Don't let that reflection become damaged by severe weather, theft or some other unexpected problem. If your car could, it would thank you personally for Comprehensive Coverage.