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rental car damage and liability insurance

I would recommend you consider adding comprehensive coverage to your auto policies. Comprehensive protects your vehicle beyond standard liability and collision policies by covering non-crash damage such as:

  • Theft - Comprehensive covers the replacement cost if your vehicle is stolen. With car theft on the rise, this protection is invaluable.

  • Weather events like hail storms - Repairs from hail damage, flooding, high winds are covered under comprehensive. This alleviates the stress of storm destruction.

  • Objects falling on your car - Damage from trees, debris, etc falling on your parked vehicle is paid for by comprehensive insurance.

  • Animal collisions - The high cost of repairs from hitting deer, bears, or other animals is covered under comprehensive policies.

There are many reasons why you should purchase Comprehensive Car Insurance, specially when you buy a new car

Covers damage not caused by collisions

Comprehensive insurance protects your vehicle for damage caused by those accidents that are named as “other than collisions”, protecting you from expensive repairs or total loss in situations where collision coverage would not be applied. Here are some examples of damage covered by comprehensive auto insurance:


If your vehicle is stolen, comprehensive insurance will cover the cost to replace it. Collision insurance does not cover theft. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, over 932,329 vehicles were stolen in 2021. Having comprehensive coverage provides important protection in case your car is taken.

Weather events like hail storms

Storm damage such as hail dents, flooding, falling trees or branches, and damage from high winds are covered by comprehensive insurance. This table shows the number of hail damage claims in the US in recent years:


Number of Claims







Without comprehensive insurance, you'd pay these hefty repair bills yourself.

Objects falling on the vehicle

If a tree limb, construction debris, or other object falls on your parked car, the damage will be covered under comprehensive insurance. This protection is important if you regularly park outdoors.

Animal collisions

Colliding with an animal like a deer, moose, or bear can cause major damage. Comprehensive coverage pays for repairs from these accidents. Over 200,000 deer-related collisions occur annually according to State Farm.

Having comprehensive coverage can save you thousands in repair bills from damage caused by situations out of your control.

An affordable addition to the policy

Adding comprehensive coverage to your auto policy is affordable for most drivers. Comprehensive insurance premiums are generally lower than those for collision or liability coverage.

On average, comprehensive coverage costs between $125-$300 per year depending on factors like:

  • Your location

  • Make/model of vehicle

  • Your age

  • Driving history

Compared to potentially paying thousands out of pocket for vehicle theft or damage repairs, comprehensive insurance provides valuable protection at a low cost.

To get the best rate, shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers. Rates can vary widely between companies.

Here are some tips to find the most affordable comprehensive coverage:

  • Raise your deductible - Opting for a higher deductible like $500 or $1000 can lower your premiums. Just be sure you have savings to cover the deductible amount in case of a claim.

  • Ask about discounts - Insurers offer discounts for things like anti-theft devices, good driving records, good credit, bundling policies, and more.

  • Drop optional coverages - If you have roadside assistance or rental reimbursement, consider removing them to save money.

  • Maintain good credit - Insurers often use credit-based scores to set rates. Keeping your credit in shape can help lower premiums.

  • Compare quotes - Get quotes from at least 3-4 insurers to find the best rate. Compare policy limits and exclusions too.

  • Limit mileage - The less you drive, the lower your premiums will likely be.

  • Increase security - Adding anti-theft devices can qualify you for discounts from some insurers. An alarm, tracking system, or anti-theft etching could help lower your costs.

  • Ask about usage-based programs - Some insurers offer programs where you pay based on actual mileage driven which could mean savings.

Here's an example of average comprehensive premiums from major insurers:


Average Yearly Premium

State Farm








As you can see, rates can vary significantly for the same coverage. The best way to find an affordable comprehensive policy is to compare insurer rates specifically for your situation. The small yearly investment can pay off hugely if you ever need to file a major claim.

Covers repairs or replacement costs

One of the biggest benefits of comprehensive insurance is that it covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or stolen.

Repair Coverage

If your car is damaged in an event covered by comprehensive, such as hail damage, vandalism, or an animal collision, your insurer will pay for the repairs.

Here's how it works:

  • You take your car to an approved repair shop and get a damage estimate.

  • The shop will work with your insurance company and send the estimate for review.

  • After your deductible is applied, your insurer will pay the shop directly for the remaining repair costs.

  • You only pay your deductible amount out of pocket.

Comprehensive policies have varying deductible options, often $250, $500, or $1000. Choosing a higher deductible reduces your premiums but means you pay more upfront for a claim.

Some examples of repair costs paid by comprehensive coverage:

  • New windshield replacement due to a crack from a road hazard - $1,100

  • Paint repairs from vandalism like keyed body panels - $2,500

  • Replacing dented roof panels from hail storm - $4,800

  • New bumper replacement from hitting a deer - $1,500

Without comprehensive insurance, you'd pay these expenses yourself. But with coverage, your insurer covers repairs after the deductible is met.

Replacement Coverage

If your vehicle is totaled (repair cost exceeds its value) or stolen and not recovered, comprehensive insurance will pay the pre-loss actual cash value of your car.

This is the market value just before the total loss, factoring in age, mileage, and condition. The insurer will provide payment minus the deductible so you can put that money towards a replacement vehicle.

Having comprehensive coverage to pay for repairs or replacement costs can prevent financial hardship if your vehicle suffers covered damage or theft. It gives you important peace of mind.

Required for financed vehicles

If you have an auto loan or lease on your vehicle, your lender or leasing company will require you to carry comprehensive coverage.

This requirement exists because the lienholder has a financial interest in the vehicle - if it's damaged or stolen, they want to ensure their asset is protected. Comprehensive insurance provides this protection.

Why It's Required

Lenders require comprehensive collision coverage to protect their investment in case the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Without this coverage:

  • You would still owe the loan balance even if the vehicle is a total loss.

  • The lender's collateral (the vehicle) would be gone.

  • You'd likely stop making payments if you no longer had the vehicle.

By requiring comprehensive coverage, the lender ensures their financial interest is protected if the vehicle suffers loss.

Minimum Coverage Limits

Lenders typically require:

  • Comprehensive and collision coverage with maximum deductibles of $500 to $1000.

  • Minimum policy limits are equal to the outstanding loan balance or vehicle value, whichever is greater.

So if you owe $15,000 on your auto loan, the lender will want a policy with at least $15,000 in coverage.

Not maintaining the required coverage is a breach of contract and grounds for the lender to take actions like:

  • Repossess the vehicle

  • Call the entire loan balance due

  • Charge expensive force-placed insurance

Gap Insurance

Gap insurance helps cover the difference between what your vehicle insurance pays and what you still owe on the loan if the car is totaled. This insurance isn't always required but can be a good idea.

By carrying comprehensive coverage when financing a car, you protect the investment of both the lender and yourself. Make sure to meet minimum requirements.

Difference from collision insurance

When considering comprehensive coverage, it's important to understand how it differs from collision insurance.

Collision and comprehensive policies both cover damage to your vehicle. But they cover different risk events.

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance covers your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident you cause. For example:

  • You collide with another car

  • You crash into an object like a guardrail or pole

  • You flip or roll your vehicle

Collision pays to repair or replace your car when you are at fault in the accident. It also covers damage from accidents where fault cannot be determined.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance covers non-collision damage from events like:

  • Theft or vandalism

  • Weather events (hail, floods, wind)

  • Fire

  • Falling objects

  • Animal collisions

Key Differences:

Collision Coverage

Comprehensive Coverage

Accidents you cause

Theft, vandalism, weather, fire, animals

Damage from driving

Non-driving damage

Covers liability to others

No liability

Higher premiums

Lower premiums

Having both collision and comprehensive provides complete protection. Collision covers at-fault accidents, while comprehensive covers non-crash damage.

Some key points:

  • Collision damage is from driving incidents, comprehensive is not.

  • Comprehensive claims shouldn't increase premiums like collision claims can.

  • Comprehensive is generally cheaper coverage.

  • Both have a deductible that must be paid.

Understanding how collision and comprehensive work together provides the best protection for your vehicle investment.

Claims process overview

If your vehicle suffers damage or loss that may be covered under comprehensive insurance, you'll need to file a claim with your insurer.

Here is an overview of what to expect in the comprehensive claims process:

1. Report the Incident

  • Report the damage or theft to your insurance company right away. Most insurers have 24/7 claims hotlines.

  • Provide details like when and where it occurred. Send any police reports you obtained.

  • Ask about claim requirements and documents they will need.

2. Evaluate the Damage

  • Your insurer will work with you to evaluate the damage and determine if it is covered.

  • They may send out an adjuster to inspect the vehicle and write up an estimate.

  • You may need to get your own estimate from an auto shop for comparison.

3. Determine Repairs or Value

  • Your insurer will decide if the car will be repaired or if it is a total loss.

  • If repaired, they will determine approved repair shops and finalize the damage estimate.

  • For total losses, they will determine the actual cash value - what the car was worth before the loss.

4. Settle the Claim

  • The insurer will issue payment to you (or shops) minus your deductible.

  • For repairs, your deductible is paid to the shop.

  • Total losses are paid to you or your lender if there is a loan.

  • You sign the title over if it's a total loss.

5. Close the Claim

  • Your insurer follows up on repairs or totals the policy if needed.

  • Review the claim resolution and process any appeals if needed.

  • The claim will be closed out once resolved fully.

Understanding what to expect with the claims process allows you to navigate it smoothly if the need arises.

Who should consider it?

Comprehensive insurance provides important financial protection but doesn't make sense for all drivers. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if you need comprehensive coverage:

Drivers with auto loans/leases

If you have a car loan or lease, comprehensive and collision coverage are likely required by your lender to protect their investment in your vehicle. Carrying this protection is non-negotiable when financing a car.

Newer vehicles

Brand-new cars or vehicles less than 10 years old are good candidates for comprehensive insurance. Repairing or replacing a new car is very expensive, so having coverage is wise.

High-value vehicles

Luxury cars or other high-value vehicles where repairs or replacement would be costly should have comprehensive protection. Self-insuring damage on an expensive car likely isn't feasible.

Areas prone to weather risks

If you live in areas with regular storms, flooding, snow/hail, or high deer populations, comprehensive can protect against expensive weather-related damage.

Parking location

If you park your car on the street, a parking garage, or other exposed lots, comprehensive can cover damage from falling objects or vandalism which is more likely.

Can't afford major repairs

Drivers without significant savings to self-insure against major damage repairs or replacement should strongly consider comprehensive.

However, if you drive an older low-value vehicle that's paid off, the added expense of comprehensive may not be worthwhile. Your savings could cover any repairs.

Consider your unique situation and risks to decide if comprehensive insurance provides value. Shop around for the best rates if you do opt for coverage.

Shop around for the best rates

If you decide that comprehensive coverage policy is the right one for your vehicle, it means that you know it was worth to shop around with multiple insurers to get the best rate.

Comprehensive insurance rates vary widely between different insurance companies. Let's look at some tips for scoring the most affordable comprehensive coverage:

  • Compare quotes - Get comprehensive rate quotes from at least 3-4 different insurers. Compare them side by side, including deductibles and coverage limits.

  • Ask for discounts – If you ask for discounts that you would be qualified for, you’d be able to get some discounts like multi-policy, anti-theft devices, good driver, low mileage, and more. If you can get several discounts for your vehicle, that would definitely lower your premiums.

  • Consider usage-based programs - Some insurers offer usage-based comprehensive coverage where you pay based on actual mileage driven. This can lower costs for low-mileage drivers.

  • Review policy exclusions - Read the fine print to see what risks are excluded. More exclusions mean lower premiums, but less coverage.

  • Increase deductible - Opting for a higher comprehensive deductible like $500, $750 or $1000 reduces monthly premiums. Make sure you can afford the deducible if needed.

  • Drop optional coverages - Removing add-ons like roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement can potentially lower your rate.

  • Maintain good credit - Most insurers use credit-based scores as a factor in rates. Keeping your credit score high helps secure better premiums.

  • Ask about bundling - You may get a discount by bundling comprehensive coverage with your auto liability and collision policies.

  • Limit mileage - Your rate may be lower if you have a low annual mileage limit on your policy. But limits must be accurate.

With just a little shopping research effort, you will save hundreds per year on comprehensive insurance while still getting the best quality coverage for your vehicle. Be sure to re-shop rates at renewal as well.

Final thoughts

In summary, comprehensive auto insurance is an important financial protection for your vehicle. It’s true, it’s not mandatory, but, comprehensive covers damages caused by theft, vandalism, weather, fire, animals, and more.

Comprehensive claims shouldn't affect your premiums like collision claims and this coverage is relatively affordable for most drivers. It can pay for costly repairs or replacement if your vehicle is stolen or damaged.

Review your situation and risks to decide if paying for comprehensive coverage is beneficial. Shop around for the best rates if you do opt for a policy. Understanding how comprehensive works alongside collision and liability insurance is key to choosing the right coverages.

With comprehensive insurance, you can rest easy knowing you have protection against unforeseen non-collision damages. For most drivers, the peace of mind is worth the small investment in premiums.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:   

Why Comprehensive Car Insurance is So Expensive?    

Discover the Benefits of Comprehensive Coverage   

Comprehensive Coverage Cost Factors - Learn the 5 Factors That Affect Your Insurance Premium 

Real-life scenarios where comprehensive coverage would be necessary or beneficial   

How does comprehensive coverage differ from liability coverage or collision coverage?

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