What is the Difference Between Collision and Comprehensive Coverage?
Collision and comprehensive insurance are not part of the minimum insurance required under California law for registered vehicles and other cars driving in the state. These types of insurance, in fact, cannot be used to satisfy these requirements. Collision and comprehensive insurance may, however, be useful additional coverage options for California drivers. Because insurance coverage can be complicating and confusing to sort out, many people do not know exactly what situations are covered by these supplemental insurance policies. Read on to learn about the difference between collision and comprehensive insurance coverage, and call a knowledgeable Palmdale car accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in the Antelope Valley.
What is Collision Insurance?
Collision insurance protects you whenever your vehicle is damaged by collision with another vehicle or object. Collision insurance kicks in, for example, after a crash with another car or an object such as a tree or light post, after damage caused by a pothole, and if your car rolls over in an accident. Collision insurance may cover repairs to your vehicle or even a full replacement of a covered vehicle.
What is Comprehensive Insurance?
Comprehensive insurance is meant to cover you in the event you suffer damages due to anything besides your car smashing into something. Comprehensive auto insurance covers your damages whenever there’s an “act of God,” theft, or some other non-collision incident. Comprehensive insurance kicks in whenever your vehicle is damaged by:
- Natural disasters, such as floods, fires, storms, hurricanes, hail, and earthquakes
- Vandalism or theft
- Falling objects, such as a tree branch
- Damage caused by impact with animals such as deer
- Fire, civil unrest, or explosions
- Acts of terrorism
Comprehensive insurance does not cover you when your car is damaged via collision. It does not cover another person’s vehicle damaged by collision with your vehicle (that will be your liability coverage), nor does it cover your medical expenses or those of your passengers. Collision insurance will not cover these items either. You’ll need other insurance coverage for those eventualities.
Do You Need Collision and Comprehensive Insurance?
In some cases, whether you want to obtain optional collision and comprehensive insurance is up to you, your situation, and your appetite for risk. In others, it’s not up to you. If you are financing or leasing your car, for example, your lender will most likely require you to purchase comprehensive coverage. If you own your vehicle outright, then you can choose whether to purchase the optional coverage.
Collision and comprehensive insurance protect you from the cost of vehicle repair and replacement in different circumstances, and the protection can be helpful for peace of mind. Vehicle repairs can be expensive, and you can’t always count on someone else’s liability insurance to protect you. Whether you should purchase (or maintain) either or both sets of insurance depends on a number of factors, including:
- The value of your car
- Your risk of an accident
- Your current savings and other financial circumstances
- The area in which you live and drive
If you live in a part of the city where accidents, theft, vandalism, storms, or other potential sources of damage to your vehicle are common, you might want the added protection. If you live in a rural or suburban area and you rarely drive, then it might not be worth the added premiums. Moreover, if you drive an older used vehicle and the cost of your premiums starts to exceed the actual value of your car, then supplemental collision and comprehensive coverage are likely not worth purchasing or maintaining. Ultimately, it’s up to you, your circumstances, and your preferences.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a negligent driver in California, talk to a seasoned and effective Palmdale car crash attorney about pursuing a claim for damages by calling the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.