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comprehensive and collision coverage

Comprehensive and collision are 2 coverages that work hand in hand to cover a range of mishaps and help pay to repair (or replace) your car. But how do these coverages work exactly? And do you really need both on your car insurance policy?

Quick coverage facts

  • Comprehensive and collision can help repair or replace your car
  • These are optional coverages unless your financing or leasing company requires them
  • You can choose your deductibles, which will impact your premium
  • Your coverage limit is equal to the actual cash value of your car at the time of loss
  • Comprehensive is required before you can add collision coverage

Comprehensive coverage defined

Comprehensive coverage, known as "other than collision" coverage in Virginia, is an optional car insurance coverage designed to pay for certain repairs that aren't related to collisions.

Though comprehensive, sometimes referred to as "comp," isn't legally mandatory, your finance or leasing company might require you to add this coverage if you're financing or leasing your car. Think of it as insurance for the company's property.

What comprehensive covers

There are 6 general events that comprehensive coverage is designed to protect you from:

theft
  • Fire
  • Natural disasters
  • Falling objects
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Hitting a deer or another animal

How it works

Comprehensive coverage typically pays for repairs after any of these events (after your deductible) as long as the cost doesn't exceed your car's actual cash value. Actual cash value is defined as your car's original purchase price minus depreciation.

If your car needs to be replaced, you're generally reimbursed for your car's actual cash value minus your comprehensive deductible.

The higher you set your deductible, the less you can expect to pay on your premium.

Collision coverage defined

car accident

Collision coverage helps pay repair or replacement costs if your car crashes into an object or another car, or if it rolled over. This coverage is designed to fix up or replace your own car after a collision.

Property damage liability coverage is the coverage that pays for damage to the other driver's car.

How it works

Esurance customers will need to spring for comprehensive coverage before adding collision coverage. You can have comprehensive and not collision on your policy, just not the other way around.

If you lease or finance your car, collision may be required by your leasing or financing company.

Like comprehensive coverage, collision coverage will pay for damages to your car, up to the limits you select, as long as they don't exceed the car's actual cash value. When your car's actual cash value is exceeded by the repair costs, your car may be declared a total loss.

As noted above, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

Collision deductible waivers

If you're struck by an uninsured driver, a collision deductible waiver can pay your collision deductible. In states where it's available, you're required to buy a collision deductible waiver in conjunction with your collision coverage.

Comprehensive and collision coverage combined

Birds of a feather flock together, and that's certainly the case with these 2 car-protecting coverages. Policies that combine liability with comprehensive and collision coverage are often referred to as "full coverage" policies because of the breadth of insurance coverage provided.

If you're an Esurance policyholder and have questions regarding your comprehensive or collision coverage or would like to add these coverages, give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262) or log into your policy anytime.

If you're not a customer but you're shopping for a new insurance company, start your free quote any time.

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