The Difference between Comprehensive and Collision Insurance

The key difference in collision vs. comprehensive coverage is that, to a certain extent, the element of the car driver’s control. Collision insurance will typically cover events within a motorist’s control, or when another vehicle collides with your car. Comprehensive coverage generally falls under Fire & Theft and “acts of God or nature,” those are typically out of your control when driving. These can include such events as a spooked deer, a heavy hailstorm, or a carjacking.

Let’s use the aftermath of storm as an example to illustrate the differences between collision and comprehensive. Within that storm, let’s consider two events that might have happened: 1) a heavy tree branch fell on your car, or 2) you swerved to avoid a falling tree branch and wound up crashing into a tree. In the first event, you had no control over when or why a tree branch would fall on your car. This kind of accident would be covered under your comprehensive policy. In the second situation, you were driving the car and ultimately swerved into the tree, which makes it a collision, and collision insurance therefore pays for the damages. Events like the ones stated above are why it’s important to understand the difference between Comprehensive and Collision Coverage.

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