What is a comprehensive claim for auto insurance?

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Things to Remember...

  • Comprehensive coverage pays for physical damage losses caused by: fire, theft, vandalism, glass breakage, flood, hail, and falling objects
  • Filing a comprehensive claim doesn’t have an effect on future rates because the claim is classified as a non-fault loss
  • While comprehensive isn’t required under state law, if you’re financing or leasing the vehicle you must carry both comprehensive and collision
  • Experts recommend that vehicle owners carry comp until the cost of full coverage is more than 10% of the car’s replacement value.
  • Premiums for comprehensive coverage are based on the replacement cost of the car and claims statistics for theft and vandalism in your area

Start comparing auto insurance rates now by using our FREE quote tool above! If you crash into another vehicle or a gate, you will file a collision claim to pay for damages to your vehicle.

If, however, your car is vandalized overnight or rocks flying from a construction truck crack your windshield, you’re dealing with a comprehensive claim.

To cover damages to your vehicle that are generally caused when you’re not behind the wheel, you’ll need to add optional comprehensive coverage.

If you’re interested in learning more about claims covered under comprehensive and how much it costs for added protection, read this guide.

What does comprehensive cover?

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By the sounds of the name, it might appear as if comprehensive would pay for a comprehensive list of perils. Unfortunately, the name can be a little misleading.

Comprehensive, also known as comp, pays for accidental damage to the covered auto as a result of scenarios that are out of your control.

The actual list of perils that are covered under comprehensive will be laid out within your policy contract.

While every company has their own products and terms, when it comes to comprehensive claims, each company licensed in the marketplace affords the same coverage to each policyholder.

Here’s a list of what comprehensive covers:

What is the difference between a comprehensive claim and a collision claim?

Since both comprehensive and collision coverage are optional forms of physical damage cover, it’s easy to get the two mixed up. Both will pay to repairs of your own vehicle and not third parties.

Comprehensive, however, is specifically designed to pay for claims that occur when the vehicle is parked, in storage, or when something occurs behind the wheel that was completely beyond the control of the driver.

Collision, on the other hand, pays when the covered vehicle collides with a car or other types of objects or real property. The only time a collision would be classified as a comprehensive loss is when the driver hits a live animal.

Accidents with deer and other animals are classified as comprehensive losses because the movements of a scared animal are hard to predict and what happens as a result of these movements are beyond your control.

Examples of How a Small Detail Can Turn a Collision Claim into a Comprehensive Claim

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Some claims that are filed with adjusters are cut and dry. When a car is keyed or when neighborhood kids throw eggs at it as a prank, the damage will be covered under comprehensive.

Unfortunately, when the vehicle is being driven, there’s often more to it than just straightforward facts.

Let’s say you are driving your vehicle in heavy traffic. You swerve to miss to stopped vehicles ahead and just miss a tree. Unfortunately, another vehicle behind you hits that tree and it falls on your hood.

Since the damage was caused by a falling object, it’s a comprehensive claim. If you yourself would’ve hit the tree and the tree fall on the car, it would be a collision claim because the collision led to the falling object.

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How does a comprehensive claim affect your insurance rates?

If you’re the type of consumer who wants to keep your bills as low as possible, you might be tempted to forgo carrying comprehensive out of fear that filing a claim would ultimately increase rates.

While many claims do lead to rate surcharges and a loss of some very large discounts, in most states it’s against the law for an insurer to surcharge premiums because of a non-fault comprehensive auto claim.

So if you’re main concern is not about the premiums and instead, about your rates going up, as long as the claim filed is a genuine comprehensive claim you shouldn’t have any issues.

There are some states, however, where insurers are allowed to either raise your rates or drop comprehensive coverage if you’ve has more than 3 comp claims over a span of just a year.

When this happens, your policy is red-flagged because you’re a high risk or a possible fraudster.

How much does comprehensive coverage cost?

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Now that you know you can use the coverage without suffering the consequences, you might be curious to know how much you’ll pay strictly for comprehensive.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to give you an estimate that would be accurate for every individual. Rates for this type of physical damage coverage are based on a few different rating factors.

While you’re driving record won’t affect comp premiums, the following will:

  • Vehicle make, model, and type
  • Garaging zip code
  • Theft rates in the area
  • Deductible selected

Who needs comprehensive coverage?

If you’re in a contract with a lender or a lessor that requires you to insure the vehicle, you must carry comprehensive and collision cover or insurance will be force-placed.

Since forced-placed insurance only protects the lender and raises the principal on your loan, it’s best that you follow the rules and buy the coverage that’s required.

 For the consumer who wants to save money but also doesn’t want to pay thousands for vehicle repairs, if you own your car outright, you can make the decision.

The standard rule of thumb is that when full coverage costs 10 percent or more of the car’s replacement value, it’s time to consider removing coverage. Even though the rule of thumb is often followed, you should keep comprehensive as long as possible if you couldn’t replace the car by yourself.

No claim is a good claim, but if you do have a loss it’s nice to know your rates aren’t impacted by comp claims. If you’re interested in finding out how much comprehensive costs, it’s time to start comparing quotes.

Log on to an online rate comparison tool, and compare premiums with and without comprehensive to see which carrier is best. Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE quote tool below!

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