Comprehensive vs. collision coverage: What's the difference?

The main difference between comprehensive and collision coverage is that comprehensive covers damage to your car that isn’t caused by a crash.

Andrew Hurst

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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Maria Filindras

Maria Filindras

Financial Advisor

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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Comprehensive and collision are both types of car insurance coverage that cover your vehicle. Although they’re often sold as a pair, comprehensive and collision insurance cover different types of damage.

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Collision insurance covers damage to your car after an accident, no matter who was at fault. Comprehensive coverage (sometimes called anything-but-collision) covers damage that can happen when your car is parked, like damage from animals, weather, falling objects, vandalism, and theft.

Coverage name

What it does

What kind of damage it covers

Comprehensive

Covers damage that's not caused by a collision

Damage from animals, weather, theft, falling objects, hail, flooding, riots, fire, vandalism

Collision

Covers collisions, whether they’re with objects or other cars

Damage from hitting another car or object, like a fence or telephone pole.

Key takeaways

  • Comprehensive and collision coverage are part of what make up what’s typically called a full-coverage policy

  • Collision coverage covers damage to your car from a crash, whether it’s with another car or a structure.

  • Comprehensive coverage covers damage that’s not caused by a collision, including from weather, falling objects, vandalism, and theft.

  • No state requires you to get comprehensive or collision coverage, but you’ll have to get them if you lease or finance your car.

Comprehensive vs. collision

Comprehensive and collision insurance are the parts of a full-coverage policy that cover physical damage, meaning damage to your car. 

Both types of insurance can pay for repairs to your car, but the main difference between comprehensive and collision coverages is the types of damage they cover.

Like its name suggests, collision coverage covers damage to your car that’s caused from crashes, whether it’s a single-car accident or a collision with another driver. Collision coverage can also help pay for the damage to your car after a hit-and-run.

Your comprehensive coverage covers damage that’s not caused by a collision with another driver or object. Your comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from things like:

  • Animals 

  • Falling objects (like tree branches)

  • Flooding

  • Hail

  • Fire

  • Riots

  • Vandals

  • Theft

Comprehensive and collision insurance will not cover any damage to the other driver’s vehicle after you’re responsible for a crash. Your liability insurance is what would pay for the other driver’s repair bills after a crash you caused.

Are you covered if you hit a deer?

Most of the time, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car that happens when it’s parked. But since comprehensive covers animal damage, it will cover the cost of damage if you hit a deer, moose, or any other wildlife.

What are comprehensive and collision deductibles?

Comprehensive and collision insurance both require per-claim deductibles. A deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of pocket on a claim. 

You choose your comprehensive and collision deductibles while you’re purchasing your policy, they’re typically set at $500 or $1,000. You don’t have to have the same deductible amount for both comp and collision though, you can set different amounts for each.

When choosing the deductibles for your comprehensive and collision insurance, avoid setting them too high. A higher deductible means slightly lower insurance rates, but a lower deductible means more will actually be covered by insurance if you need to make a claim.

Let’s say you have a $500 collision deductible and you accidentally back your car into a concrete column while parking in a garage. The damage will cost around $1,200 to fix — so you make a claim

Your collision coverage will pay for the repairs, but minus your $500 deductible amount, so the check you receive will be for $700. You’ll have to pay the $500 deductible amount yourself.

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What are comprehensive and collision deductibles?

Comprehensive and collision insurance both require per-claim deductibles. A deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of pocket on a claim. 

You choose your comprehensive and collision deductibles while you’re purchasing your policy, they’re typically set at $500 or $1,000. You don’t have to have the same deductible amount for both comp and collision though, you can set different amounts for each.

When choosing the deductibles for your comprehensive and collision insurance, avoid setting them too high. A higher deductible means slightly lower insurance rates, but a lower deductible means more will actually be covered by insurance if you need to make a claim.

Let’s say you have a $500 collision deductible and you accidentally back your car into a concrete column while parking in a garage. The damage will cost around $1,200 to fix — so you make a claim

Your collision coverage will pay for the repairs, but minus your $500 deductible amount, so the check you receive will be for $700. You’ll have to pay the $500 deductible amount yourself.

How do comprehensive and collision insurance work?

When your car is damaged by a covered peril — meaning a kind of damage covered by your insurance policy — you can make a claim with your comprehensive or collision coverage depending on what caused the damage. Insurance will pay to repair the damage to your car, minus your deductible amount.

If you make a claim after your car is totaled (and it’s successful), you’ll be paid based on your car’s actual cost value. Actual cash value (ACV) is the value of your car minus the amount it’s depreciated over time. 

This means that the amount of money you get from a comprehensive or collision insurance claim after your vehicle is totaled will be less than what you paid for the car.

Let’s say that your 2017 Honda Civic is totaled in a crash after you skid on ice and crash into a roadway ditch. Your collision coverage will pay for your totaled car. The car was valued at $15,000 in 2017, but over the past few years its value has decreased to $10,000. In this example, your settlement would be $10,000 (minus your deductible).

Comprehensive and collision vs. other types of insurance

Since comprehensive and collision don’t cover all types of damage, they have to work alongside the other types of coverage in your car insurance policy. 

While your comp and collision wouldn’t cover you in the following situations, other parts of a basic insurance policy would:

  • You hit another person’s car: Your liability insurance covers damage (or injuries) that you’re responsible for. The other driver would make a claim through your company for the cost of their injuries and damaged car.

  • You’re injured in an accident in a no-fault state: If you live in a state that requires personal injury protection (PIP), that’s what could pay for your injuries, lost wages, and long-term care.

  • You’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver: In this case, your uninsured or underinsured coverage (UM/UIM) would ensure that you weren’t on the hook for damage caused by someone else.

→ Read more about what types of damage your car insurance covers

When can you drop comprehensive and collision coverage?

Most people should have comprehensive and collision coverage even if they don’t have to, but it makes sense for some drivers not to have full coverage. In general, you drop comprehensive and collision when your car is worth less than the cost to insure it, or worth less than (or close to) your deductible amount.

How much do comprehensive and collision insurance cost?

The most up-to-date data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows that from 2015 to 2019, drivers spent an average of $43 per month or $518 per year on comprehensive and collision. [1]

Coverage type

Average monthly cost

Average annual cost

Comprehensive

$13

$160

Collision

$30

$358

Liability

$50

$605

But since car insurance rates vary depending on where you live, what you pay for comprehensive and collision insurance will change with your location. 

States where physical damage claims are more common will usually have higher rates for comprehensive and collision coverage.

State

Comprehensive

Collision insurance

Liability insurance

Alabama

$169

$359

$472

Alaska

$144

$375

$569

Arizona

$200

$308

$602

Arkansas

$216

$355

$450

California

$98

$451

$564

Colorado

$234

$317

$627

Connecticut

$133

$395

$740

Delaware

$132

$340

$851

District of Columbia

$228

$504

$738

Florida

$136

$331

$947

Georgia

$170

$380

$718

Hawaii

$105

$342

$469

Idaho

$131

$246

$400

Illinois

$136

$332

$495

Indiana

$131

$274

$423

Iowa

$205

$240

$332

Kansas

$264

$277

$396

Kentucky

$156

$295

$581

Louisiana

$234

$459

$924

Maine

$109

$284

$367

Maryland

$162

$395

$690

Massachusetts

$143

$422

$639

Michigan

$158

$457

$892

Minnesota

$199

$256

$483

Mississippi

$228

$354

$510

Missouri

$203

$301

$484

Montana

$267

$277

$418

Nebraska

$250

$259

$407

Nevada

$117

$341

$813

New Hampshire

$115

$320

$424

New Jersey

$130

$402

$925

New Mexico

$197

$300

$547

New York

$176

$434

$875

North Carolina

$129

$321

$373

North Dakota

$246

$267

$304

Ohio

$128

$293

$432

Oklahoma

$251

$336

$492

Oregon

$102

$258

$654

Pennsylvania

$161

$360

$533

Rhode Island

$138

$456

$856

South Carolina

$197

$298

$637

South Dakota

$305

$232

$323

Tennessee

$158

$337

$454

Texas

$242

$417

$609

Utah

$120

$291

$563

Vermont

$141

$322

$369

Virginia

$145

$305

$466

Washington

$114

$296

$657

West Virginia

$215

$344

$513

Wisconsin

$151

$242

$405

Wyoming

$292

$289

$350

Annual costs of comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance. Source: Policygenius analysis of NAIC’s 2022 Insurance Industry Database Report.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is comprehensive or collision coverage better?

Comprehensive and collision coverage both cover different types of damage. Neither is better than the other. Drivers should get both comprehensive and collision coverage to fully protect their cars.

Are comprehensive and collision coverage worth it?

Yes, comprehensive and collision coverage are both worth getting even if you’re not required to. While adding these coverages causes your policy to get more expensive, not having comprehensive and collision insurance leaves you open to having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair or replace your car after an accident.

Is collision and comprehensive the same as full coverage?

Sort of. Full-coverage car insurance isn’t a type of coverage you can buy, it just refers to a policy that includes comprehensive and collision insurance (on top of the coverage required by your state).

What’s not covered by comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover any damage that you do to someone else’s car. It also doesn’t cover another person’s injuries. If you were responsible for an accident, your liability insurance would cover the other driver’s injuries and damaged property.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

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  1. National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    . "

    2018-19 Auto Insurance Database Report

    ." Accessed November 21, 2022.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Expert reviewer

Financial Advisor

Maria Filindras

Financial Advisor

gray linkedin icon link

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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