Claire Smith Last Updated On: June 27, 2023

Comprehensive and Collision Insurance Explained

Comprehensive and Collision auto insurance along with liability and medical is what is known as full coverage. Comprehensive insurance covers you in the event your car is damaged by vandalism, weather, or theft. Collision insurance covers your vehicle is damaged when you strike another vehicle or object. If your car is financed, you will likely be required to obtain full coverage.

While collision and comprehensive insurance are not legally required types of car insurance in any US state, they can both save you from major financial devastation in the event of an accident. Here’s the thing: The type of insurance that is required in just about every state—liability insurance—does not protect your vehicle if you’re in an accident. It just covers you if you’re found legally responsible for harming someone else or their property. 

This is where comprehensive and collision coverage comes into play: These forms of coverage, which are often sold as a package, actually protect your vehicle. However, they do this in different ways. 

Let’s dive into the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage so you can get a handle on what they include, and why (and if) you should get them. 

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Table of Contents

Comprehensive vs Collision Insurance: What's the Difference?

We’ve already mentioned that both comprehensive and collision insurance protect your vehicle, so we know what they have in common. The difference between them boils down to the situations they cover. 

Comprehensive insurance pays for damage to your vehicle as a result of scenarios like fire, fallen trees, or weather damage as well as theft.

Other situations covered by comprehensive insurance include: 

  • Damage caused by explosions
  • Damage caused by accidents with an animal, like hitting a deer
  • Damage caused by vandalism
  • Damage caused by riots and civil disturbances
  • Damage caused by falling objects

Collision insurance, on the other hand, pays for damage to your vehicle should you hit another vehicle or an object, like a parking meter or fence pole. 

Another situation covered by collision insurance includes damage caused by someone hitting you (though you can make a claim to the other driver’s liability insurance for this too).

So, it’s obvious why comprehensive and collision insurance would often be grouped together, but it’s also understandable if you only want one of these types of policies and not the other.

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Do You Need Both Comprehensive and Collision Insurance?

Here are some guidelines for comprehensive collision coverage

  • Your vehicle is financed or leased = Yes
  • The vehicle is less than 10 years old = Maybe not
  • The vehicle’s worth is greater than $3,000 = Consider it

Strictly speaking, you aren’t legally required to have either, but if you can afford it, it can definitely be worth the comparatively minor expense to have both kinds of insurance.  72% of US drivers carry collision insurance and 77% carry comprehensive insurance for a reason: it comes in handy. 

What’s more, if you lease your vehicle or have a loan for it, your lender may require you to get both types of coverage so their money is protected. 

This said, depending on where you live, your lifestyle, and the value of your car, you may be fine to just get one sort of policy. For instance, if you live in the country and don’t do much city driving, then you may be able to get by without comprehensive insurance since vandalism and theft are statistically less likely to happen in rural areas—though they can certainly still happen there too.  

Likewise, if you have an older car and wouldn’t get much of a payout for it, then it may not be worth your while to get the insurance. 

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Factors When Considering Collision & Comprehensive Car Insurance on your Vehicle

If your car is leased or financed, likely the only options to save money are by increasing the deductibles but even that may be set by the lessor or financing agent.

If your car is older, then several factors may influence your decision. The state of your finances, the value of your vehicle, the areas in which you drive, and the accident potential are all factors you should consider when deciding on car insurance coverage.

Daily use of your car in high traffic areas significantly raises the risk of an accident. If you commute to the train station, you represent less risk which usually translates into lower rates.

The Cost of Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

The cost of your comprehensive and collision insurance will vary depending on your driving record, the model of your car, where you live, how much you drive and even your credit score, so it’s impossible to tell you the exact cost of this coverage for you.

However, we can give you a general idea. Collision insurance tends to cost roughly $1,969 per year while comprehensive insurance comes in at only $164. 


If you hit somebody or something or somebody hits you, collision coverage helps pay for the repairs on your vehicle minus the deductible you choose.

Comprehensive insurance is a plan that covers weather, vandalism, theft or damages over which you did not have control.

Comprehensive and collision insurance will pay for a covered loss after the deductible has been satisfied. With most vehicle insurance policies, the coverage extends to a rented vehicle as well, though we recommend you confirm this with your agent or insurance company.
Nearly all states require liability insurance but none require comprehensive and collision. However, almost all leasing and finance companies from whom you obtain funding for a vehicle will require these coverages to protect their interest.


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