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Auto Insurance

Collision vs. Comprehensive Car Insurance

Our vehicles are a vital part of our everyday lives. We work hard for them and they work hard for us. So it’s only natural that we want to protect them. When it comes to ensuring your vehicle is well protected in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, or anywhere else in the Western United States, there are a few options to consider, including comprehensive and collision insurance. So what is collision and comprehensive coverage anyway?

Most states require drivers to have car insurance that covers injuries or damage they cause to others. This is known as liability insurance. However, many states do not require auto insurance for the damages you incur to your own vehicle. That’s where the terms “comprehensive” and “collision” insurance come into play.

Because comprehensive and collision insurance tend to work hand-in-hand in repairing damages sustained to your vehicle, understanding the differences between the two will help you ensure you're adequately covered.

What Is Collision Insurance?

Collision insurance will cover the cost for repairs to your vehicle in the unfortunate incident that you:

  • Crash into another vehicle or another vehicle collides with yours
  • Roll your vehicle
  • Hit a stationary object (streetlight, pole, etc.)

If your car is damaged in a hit-and-run, you will generally be covered through collision insurance. However, this is not always the case in some states, including no-fault states.

In any of the above cases, if the cost to repair is more than the value of the vehicle, your auto insurance provider will pay to replace your vehicle based on its market value at the time of the accident.

NOTE: It’s important not to confuse collision coverage with liability insurance, as collision insurance does not cover damages to other people’s property.

Do I Need Collision Insurance?

There are a few factors you should consider when deciding whether or not to purchase collision insurance.

  • Vehicle value: If your vehicle is only worth a few thousand dollars or less, it might make sense to decline collision coverage and pay for any collision damage out of pocket.
  • Risk of experiencing an accident: If you drive your vehicle infrequently, your risk of getting into an accident will be much lower than if you drive everyday in heavily-populated areas.

What if I have a loan on my vehicle? If you have a loan on your vehicle, many lenders will require you to have collision insurance. Be sure to check in with your agent to see what your state's requirements are and keep in mind that in the event you damage your vehicle and don’t have collision insurance, you’ll be personally responsible for covering the cost of repairs or paying off the full value of the original loan.

What does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive car insurance does not actually provide you complete coverage as the name might indicate. Rather, comprehensive auto insurance covers damage to your vehicle from incidents other than collisions. More specifically, incidents that many would consider "acts of God or nature" and are out of the driver’s control. This typically includes:

  • Theft and vandalism
  • Cracked or shattered windows
  • Damage from hitting an animal (deer, bird, etc.)
  • Damage from falling objects (tree limbs)
  • Severe weather damage (floodwaters)
  • Natural disasters (earthquake, tornado, hurricane, etc.)

Do I Need Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Just like collision coverage, there are a few factors to consider when determining if comprehensive car insurance is right for you.

  • Vehicle value: If you drive a newer and/or high-value vehicle, this coverage can save you from paying significant costs to repair or replace your vehicle.
  • Population density: Heavily-populated urban areas are typically more prone to things like theft and vandalism.
  • Weather: Do you live in an area with typically calm or harsh weather? Unfortunately, the Western United States offers the greatest variety of natural disaster risks in the entire country.

Grange Insurance Association has been protecting communities in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming since 1894. We understand that car insurance is not one size fits all, which is why our personal auto policy provides both comprehensive and collision insurance as part of the coverage.

Questions? Our insurance experts will work closely with you to compare the benefits of comprehensive vs. collision car insurance and determine a policy that works best for your individual needs.

The content available via is for informational purposes only and may not be used for any other purpose. Content provided or expressed on, including that of third parties, may not reflect Grange Insurance Association’s (GIA) policies or conform to any agreement you may have with GIA and its subsidiary companies. Please contact a licensed insurance agent to obtain particular advice.

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