Comprehensive Insurance

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Comprehensive Coverage Auto Insurance: Going Beyond the Car Crash

If you ask a person to list ten ways that a car could be damaged, many of them would not be covered by certain types of insurance policies because they were not the result of a “collision”. In the world of the insurance industry, the term collision means that- two or more vehicles have collided with one another. But, in the course of driving from Point A to Point B, there are dozens of other things that can happen to your vehicle. Damages can happen even when you are not driving, as well.

Consider these things that can happen to your car, all of which may not be covered by your current auto insurance:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Stones or other foreign objects can fly up from the road and damage your vehicle
  • Animals, including deer or others, can crash into your car
  • Glass breakage

Unless your policy specifically lists comprehensive coverage auto insurance, none of these are likely to be covered losses. Even if your insurance is comprehensive, you will still have a number of restrictions to consider.

Why Comprehensive Coverage Auto Insurance Matters with a Theft

Some states are more prone to car theft than others. Some cars are more likely to be stolen than others. Even if you think that your car is a “safe” one, it is possible that it will be stolen. Comprehensive insurance:

  • Covers the vehicle even if it is never recovered. You must file a police report. There may be a waiting period before you can file a loss claim on the vehicle. Each insurance company determines how this is handled.
  • May protect you in the event of damage caused by the criminal who has stolen your car to some degree. This can include liability while the car is being driven away. If the thief crashes into a fence in the course of eluding the police, you could still be held liable for those damages.
  • Will pay the market value on a stolen vehicle that is not recovered toward the balance on the loan. There are some restrictions to this policy, and it should be explored with an agent. This may also be denied as a claim by the insurance company.

Of course, trying to minimize the risk is important too. To avoid having your car stolen:

  • Only park in well lit, public lots.
  • Never leave your keys in your car. Statistically speaking, a large number of cars are stolen from the driveway with the keys in them.
  • Do not leave items in plain view in your car.
  • Avoid high crime areas whenever possible.

Why Comprehensive Insurance Matters with Vandalism or Fire

Because vandalism does not occur in the course of a collision, it is only covered by a comprehensive policy. In addition:

  • Fire may or may not occur in the course of a collision- in the event that the fire was caused by a malfunction while the car is in your driveway or other location, you would only be covered by this policy.
  • Vandalism may be minor damages, or it may be much more serious. In some cases, vandalism can cause a total loss. A slashed tire may or may not be covered by the insurance policy.
  • Vandalism can include other things such as egg or other substance smeared on the paint, scratches or other damage.
  • It can also include more serious things such as sugar in the gas tank or other means of destroying the vehicle. Depending on the value of the car, this could result in a total loss or a very expensive motor replacement.

Animals, Especially Deer, Make Comprehensive Auto Coverage Very Important

Do you know how dangerous the common white tailed deer can be to you as a driver? Consider these facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Every year, more than 1.5 million car vs. deer crashes happen in the United States.
  • Those crashes cause an estimated one billion dollars in vehicle damages.
  • One hundred and fifty people (or more) die due to deer vs. car crashes.
  • In addition, 10,000 people are injured in those crashes.
  • Pennsylvania is the top state for deer crashes. Others in the top five include Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Georgia.

To avoid deer collisions:

  • Minimize travel during heavy deer traffic times: early morning and early evening as they move to their feeding or bedding areas.
  • Deer are more mobile during the start and ending dates of their mating season.
  • Deer hunting seasons also cause more deer traffic on the roads.
  • Deer are unpredictable. If you see one on the roadside, it is likely that it will dart onto the road at any moment. Always assume that if you see one deer, there are more behind it. Deer also will turn back around once they have made it across the road.

Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage and Glass Breakage

Collision insurance will possibly pay for your windshield in the event of damage during an accident, but not necessarily. Glass breakage is often excluded in most policies. The cost of a new windshield can be high. It is not always the windshield that breaks, and a car wreck is not the only thing that can cause breakage. Comprehensive insurance:

  • Covers any glass that is broken in the car, including side windows.
  • Covers for damages as a result of birds, stones or other items.
  • Covers the cost of window repairs or replacements because of damage caused by a hail storm or other types of weather related incidents.
  • Covers damage caused by falling tree limbs.

A Special Consideration: Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Flooding occurs every year and causes millions of dollars in damages. In some states, insurance companies limit the amount of insurance coverage related to flooding. In other states, flood insurance must be bought separately. Unless it specifically excludes flood damage, most comprehensive policies will cover the cost of damages or loss caused by flooding, even in the so called high risk flooding areas. To be safe, always make sure that you ask if you are covered for flooding with your current policy.