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Comprehensive and Collision Insurance


The low-down...

Car insurance can be complicated. There are different coverage types, endorsements, price comparisons, and all sorts of legal verbage in your contract that you may not understand. Today, we’re going to continue demystifying insurance for the layman, and focus on some optional coverage types. More specifically, what Comprehensive Insurance and Collision Insurance are, what they cost, and whether or not you even need them. 

Unlike Liability Insurance, Comprehensive and Collision Insurance types are not state-mandated. This means that purchasing these coverage types is entirely up to you. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as important as Liability, or considered a *luxury* coverage type. There are countless situations where Comprehensive or Collision would save your hide, and we’ll give a few examples to drive this point home. 

Before we get started, it’s important to clarify one small note: the combination of Comprehensive, Collision, and Liability Insurance makes up the package deal commonly referred to as “Full Coverage”. Consumers often assume this means their vehicle is protected from damage under any circumstance, but this is not the case at all.  Read on to find out what exactly you would be covered for.

How Comprehensive Coverage Protects You

The most basic definition of Comprehensive Insurance is that it covers your vehicle for anything other than a collision. That’s what most agents will tell you, but there are certain stipulations where you won’t be covered:

What Is Covered

  • Striking an animal
  • Natural disasters & “Acts of Nature”
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Vandalism
  • Theft, including individual parts or the entire car
  • Falling objects
  • Glass Damage

What Is Not Covered

  • Mechanical failure due to lack of maintenance
  • Violating manufacturer guidelines, such as using alternative fuel
  • Intoxicated driver operating your vehicle at time of incident
  • Unlicensed driver operating your vehicle at time of incident
  • Intentional loss (fraud)
  • Terrorism and Acts of War

How Collision Coverage Protects You

Collision coverage protects you in most scenarios where your car collides with another vehicle or an object. It will cover the costs to repair your vehicle, but not the other party’s (which would be paid by your Liability Insurance). Like Comprehensive, there are stipulations for Collision. You won’t be covered for every collision, it must fall within one of the following categories:

What Is Covered

  • Colliding with another vehicle
  • Colliding with an object, like a light post or a mailbox
  • Rolling your car, even if there was no actual collision

What Is Not Covered

  • Third-party damages
  • Medical expenses
  • Intentional loss (fraud)
  • Anything covered by Comprehensive Insurance 

When You Should Buy Them

You Can’t Go Without Your Car

Big one here. For some folks, their car is the lifeline between them and their current quality of life. If your car is your main mode of transportation, you only have one car, or you can’t afford to replace your car on your own, C&C Insurance is a must. It may hurt to pay that few extra dollars a month, but losing your job because you couldn’t make it to work, or having to purchase a replacement car outright is going to hurt a lot more. Don’t cut corners, because those in financial need are sometimes the same folks who have terrible luck.

You Can Easily Afford the Coverage

This is somewhat a counterpoint to the previous reason. If you have no problems paying for C&C Insurance on your current income, get it. The extra money isn’t an issue for you, and the convenience of having your car covered for many more scenarios is worth the peace of mind. Not to mention, it’s generally a money-smart decision. Even if you can afford to completely replace your car on your own, does that mean you should? Probably not. Save your hard earned money. 

You’re Renting or Leasing Your Car

For lenders and rental companies, you are a liability. That’s just the name of the game, because they have no idea what kind of driver you are. They are purely invested for profit and need a way to protect that investment if you slam their product into a tree. That’s where insurance comes in. It’s actually mandatory by most lenders for you to carry all coverage types (Liability + Collision + Comprehensive) if you’re driving a car that you haven’t fully paid for. 

If you’re renting, most insurance policies offer an endorsement that transfers your coverage from your primary vehicle to the rental. If your car is in the shop and you have C&C Insurance with this endorsement, you’re good to rent a car without a second thought. If you have bare-minimum coverage, you should cough up the extra dough for C&C Insurance. Any damage to the rental car without coverage means you’ll be paying the bill. Ouch.

Your Car is a Classic

Like driving a car you don’t own, having C&C is mandatory for a classic car; sort of. We say this because a classic auto insurance policy will mandate that you have Liability, Comprehensive, and Collision Insurance. It’s mandatory because you’ve essentially told the insurer that your car is special, sentimental, expensive, and worth protecting with its own specialized policy. If you didn’t care about protecting your classic (as far as the insurer is concerned), a standard auto policy without C&C Insurance would cover your needs. 

When You Shouldn't Have It

Your Car is of Low Value

When your car isn’t worth much, the cost of repairing your vehicle can be more expensive than the car itself. Often times the most logical solution when you have a costly repair is to replace the whole car and forget the repairs. This is when C&C Insurance isn’t the best idea. You’ll be paying extra premium every month for a car that you don’t plan on keeping, and certainly don’t plan on fixing when it bursts into flames. That extra premium can rack up over time and surpass the cost of your vehicle. The general industry recommendation is not to purchase C&C Insurance if, on an annual basis, it would account for more than 10% of your vehicle’s value.

Coverage Limits

For Standard Autos

Limits of Insurance work differently for C&C coverage than they do for Liability. For the cost of repairs, your car will be covered for however much is required, up to the limit where your insurer considers the car totaled. If the car is totaled, it will be replaced on an Actual Cash Value percentage. Actual Cash Value (ACV) is the estimated amount your car was determined to be worth right before your accident. The percentage of ACV paid to you can vary between carriers. In less desirable scenarios, 70% ACV is the starting point, up to 100% ACV for better options. Consider this percentage heavily if C&C Insurance is mandatory for your vehicle.

For Classic Cars

The method of payment is the same for classic automobiles as it is for standard autos. Your car is damaged, the insurance company pays for repairs. The primary difference lies in how your vehicle is valued. For a standard auto, Actual Cash Value is good enough. For classic cars, you and your insurer will value your car based on the Agreed Value (AV), which is a price-point that you both have agreed on in the event of a total loss. AV is determined right when you sign up, and will persist for the term of your contract. 

How Much It Costs


Average costs for Comprehensive and Collision will vary depending on the state you live in. You can expect to pay more if you live in a state where natural disasters are abundant, or a hazard on the list of covered disasters is a frequent occurrence. Insureds in Kansas pay about three to four times as much for Comprehensive coverage alone as insureds living in Oregon. It’s all circumstantial, but you can expect to pay a few hundred more per year.

How Your Insurer Calculates Price

It is difficult to calculate an exact dollar amount you should be paying for before speaking with an agent. We’re all living in different areas, and location plays a big factor on price. Your insurer is primarily looking for:

  • Driver age. Younger people are less experienced and more prone to risk. Cheaper rates come with age.
  • Driver gender. Women are considered lower risk drivers, and thus have cheaper rates. Some states plan to remove this bias, but it’s still available for now.
  • Driving history. The fewer points on your record, the better.
  • Driver residence. As stated before, location plays a huge factor in price. If you live in an area with a high rate of theft or vandalism, your insurer will know and charge you accordingly. 
  • Model and year of car.
  • Style of car. You’ll be paying more for a sports car than for a pickup truck. 
  • Credit score. An odd addition because this marker is typically considered for loans, but is a real contributing factor. 

What You Can Do

Anything that makes you more appealing to your insurer will lower your monthly premium: take traffic school to get a traffic point off of your record; improve your credit score; purchase a more “responsible” vehicle (trade out that Subaru WRX STI for a Crosstrek); bring your insurer more business by bundling your policies.  
To make it easier, we’ll do all the work for you. Get a quote from dozens of agencies for a policy with Comprehensive and Collision Insurance by giving us a call. If you just want to get started, try sending us your information and desired coverage types on our online quoting system.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Am I covered if I caused an accident?

If you have Collision Insurance, your vehicle damages will be covered if you caused an accident. The other party involved in the accident will likely contact your insurance carrier to be paid for their damages as well, and would be paid through your Liability Insurance.

How does coverage work if I was partially at-fault, or not at-fault in an accident?

If you were partially at-fault, your insurance carrier will perform an audit to deem how responsible you and the other party were for damages. This is called culpability. In this scenario, you will be paid for a percentage of your repairs through your Collision Insurance, equal to the amount of the other party’s culpability for the accident.

If you were not at-fault for an accident, the other party is obligated to pay your vehicle repairs and medical expenses with their Liability Insurance. If they do not have enough insurance to pay all of your bills, your insurance carrier may opt to pay you the rest and go after the other party’s assets to recoup losses. 

Are upgrades to my vehicle covered under Comprehensive and Collision Insurance?

This varies between carriers, but you can purchase additional coverage for upgrades up to a certain dollar amount. Make sure to inform your insurance agent any time you install an upgrade so that your policy can be updated to cover it.

Should I drop my Comprehensive and Collision coverage?

There is only one drawback to C&C Insurance, which is that it has additional cost. If your vehicle is of low value, often times the additional coverage would cost you more money than it’s worth in the long run. Check the Kelly Blue Book value of your vehicle, and compare it against the 10% rule mentioned above. 

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