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What is Comprehensive Car Insurance

Updated on September 13, 2011

Car insurance is extremely important. Not only is it required by law, but is also protects you when you are driving a vehicle from potentially losing your license or going bankrupt. When it comes to shopping for car insurance, it can be frustrating trying to understand all of the different terms and conditions of each policy. One type of coverage that you will come across is comprehensive auto insurance.

What is Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance will cover your vehicle from any unexpected unfortunate events that may bestow your vehicle. This is not to be confused with collision coverage that covers your vehicle when it is damaged in an automobile accident. Instead, comprehensive coverage will pay for damages from things such as hail, tree limbs, fires, flood, and wind damage. Generally, this type of insurance will be combined with a collision plan, but comprehensive auto insurance may be purchased on its own as well.

How Comprehensive Coverage Works

If your vehicle incurs any type of damage that is covered by the plan, your insurer will asses the damage and determines the amount that they will pay for either repairing or replacing your vehicle. For example, if a tree limb falls on your car and the windshield is shattered, the insurance agent will determine the cost of replacement. If the replacement value is $2500 and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will write you a check for $2000 to use to replace your windshield.

Pros of Comprehensive Coverage

The benefit of having comprehensive coverage is that any damage that is done to your car will be paid for minus your deductible. This includes if your car is stolen. It is nice to have the peace of mind in knowing that you will only have to pay your deductible amount if anything happens to your car. Comprehensive coverage is not required by law, but is very beneficial if you live in a place where theft or natural disasters occur often.

Cons of Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage sounds wonderful, but there are a few cons of this type of insurance as well. First, there are damages that your policy will not cover. It is important to read your policy carefully to make sure you understand what is and is not covered. Many people think that comprehensive coverage will cover any damage that is done to their car, including accidents with other cars. This is not the case, there are several restrictions set by insurance companies regarding comprehensive auto insurance plans.

Coverage Limits and Deductibles

When looking for comprehensive coverage, there are two terms that you need to know. Coverage limits refer to the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for any of the damages that occur to your car. For example, if your car is damaged by hail and the total costs of repair is going to be $10,000, your insurance will only cover this amount if your coverage limit is above this amount. Consider setting your maximum coverage limits at the amount your car is worth to make sure that if your car is totaled it will be paid for.

Deductibles are the amount of money you will pay out of pocket when making an insurance claim. For example, if the damage to your car is $10,000 as above and you have a $500 deductible, you will pay $500 of the total and the insurance will pay the remaining $9500. It is important to set your deductible at an amount you can comfortable afford. The higher your deductible is, the lower your insurance premiums will be, but be sure not to make your deductible so high that you cannot afford to pay it, should the time come.

Cost of Comprehensive Car Insurance

The cost of comprehensive car insurance will vary from company to company. In addition, insurance companies will consider your age, sex, driving record, and credit report when determining your premium costs. There is no real way to come up with an average price of comprehensive car insurance, as each individual will get different results. The best way to compare rates is to visit a car insurance comparison website and compare quotes from several different companies.


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