What does comprehensive insurance cover? – Forbes Advisor

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Comprehensive auto insurance has a head-scratching name because it’s far from “comprehensive.” It pays for a very specific set of issues. If you have a car loan, your lender probably requires it.

And if your car pays off, you probably want it even if you’re a great driver. This is because comprehensive coverage covers issues that have nothing to do with the quality of your ride. It even pays for things that can happen to your car while it’s in the driveway.

What does comprehensive insurance cover?

Issues covered by your car insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage include:

  • Theft Auto
  • Windshield and glass damage
  • Accidents with an animal, such as a deer
  • Severe weather, such as hail or a hurricane
  • Falling objects
  • Fires and explosions
  • Vandalism
  • Civil unrest, such as a riot
  • Damage caused by rodents
  • floods

Comprehensive coverage pays to repair your car, or pays you the value of the vehicle if it’s a total loss due to an insured problem, minus your deductible.

An auto insurance deductible is an amount deducted from your insurance claim check. Say you make a comprehensive claim for hail damage that costs $3,500 to repair. If you have a $500 deductible, you will receive $3,000 as payment.

Here are some specific situations and whether comprehensive insurance would cover the vehicle.

What if my car has left a parking lot?

These days, car thefts with keys left inside are on the rise, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Maybe you leave your car running for air conditioning while you walk into a convenience store. Whatever the reason, your vehicle can become an effortless win for a thief.

Interestingly, Monday is the hottest day of the week to steal vehicles with keys, followed by Friday, according to the NICB. Most key thefts occur in the Las Vegas, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas areas.

Even if you left your keys in the car, multi-risk insurance covers car theft if the vehicle is not recovered.

What happens if someone takes my car?

Damage caused by a keyed car is considered vandalism and falls under full coverage.

The same would be true if you went outside and discovered that your car had been spray painted or otherwise intentionally vandalized. Having a police report on the incident can help when filing an auto insurance claim for vandalism.

What about an animal running on the road?

Hitting a deer is a classic example of a collision with an animal covered by comprehensive insurance. Animals of all sizes, such as wild turkeys and dogs, can rush down the road in front of you and damage the car.

Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle, minus your deductible amount. If you swerve to miss the animal and hit a tree, this will be covered by collision coverage and not comprehensive.

What should I do if my car is tossed about in a tornado?

A tornado may seem like an abnormal event, but comprehensive insurance covers weather-related damage, such as tornadoes and wind damage. It also pays for hail damage to a car.

What if something crushes the roof of my car?

Large tree branches can crush your car even in an ordinary storm. Or consider a tornado, sending any number of objects into your car. If any type of falling object damages your car, full coverage will pay.

What should I do if my car is washed away by a flood?

For flood damage to vehicles, comprehensive insurance covers either repairs or the value of the vehicle if it is total.

People who survive devastating floods often focus on drying out and repairing their homes. This is understandable, since houses are a much bigger investment than cars. But floodwaters often wash away vehicles as well.

Even driving through a large “puddle” that is deeper than you think can damage the vehicle.

What damage is not covered by full coverage?

All-risk insurance does not cover:

  • Damage you cause to someone else’s car
  • Damage to your car following a collision with another car
  • Damage to your car by hitting an object, such as a fence or tree
  • Medical expenses for you or others injured in a car accident

These types of accidents are covered by other parts of your auto insurance policy.

Suppose you run a red light and hit another car:

  • Your auto liability insurance covers the car you hit and the other person’s injuries, as well as your legal defense if they sue you.
  • Collision insurance covers damage to your own vehicle.
  • Any injuries sustained by you and your passengers could be covered if you have personal injury protection or medical coverage under your auto insurance policy.

Should you buy full coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is not required by any state law, but if you have a car loan or your car is leased, the lender will normally require that you have both comprehensive coverage and collision coverage as part of your car insurance policy. If you own your car, it is always a good idea to buy comprehensive coverage as it protects your car against unforeseen events.

Whether you’re buying comprehensive coverage because you need or want to know these important points:

  • Comprehensive insurance either pays for repairs or the value of the vehicle if it is total. For example, if your car is locked, it will pay for repairs. If your car is destroyed in a tornado, it will pay the value of the vehicle.
  • Nationally, the average premium for comprehensive coverage is about $170 per year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
  • The average aggregate claim is about $1,200, according to the NAIC.
  • Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage are often bundled together by car insurance companies.
  • You will choose a deductible amount when you take out comprehensive insurance. This is the amount deducted from an insurance check if you make a claim under full coverage.
  • Full coverage does not pay others. If you cause damage or injury to someone else, it will fall under your motor vehicle liability insurance.