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In this guide, we’ll explain what comprehensive car insurance is and how it protects your vehicle. We’ll also discuss when you should consider getting comprehensive coverage and how much it costs on average.

If you’re shopping for comprehensive coverage that fits your budget, compare car insurance quotes from several providers. We’ve reviewed the best car insurance companies on the market to help you find a policy that meets your needs.

Key Points

  • Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover damage to your car or the other driver’s car after a collision.
  • Comprehensive insurance cost an average of about $174 per year in 2020.
  • It’s worth adding comprehensive to your full-coverage insurance policy if your car is new or expensive or you plan to park it for at least 30 consecutive days.

What Is Comprehensive Insurance?

Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by an incident other than a car accident. These incidents include inclement weather like severe flooding, hailstorms, wildfire, or other natural disasters. Comprehensive policies also cover your car in the event of theft, vandalism, rodent damage, or falling objects.

Almost every insurance provider offers comprehensive as an optional coverage you can purchase as part of a full-coverage policy.

What Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Cover?

Unlike collision insurance, which covers damage to your car from an accident, comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle when it’s parked or stored. There are a few exceptions, such as hitting an animal like a deer or moose.

Here’s a list of some of the kinds of vehicle damage comprehensive car insurance covers:

  • Theft
  • Falling objects like tree branches or rocks
  • Hailstorms
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Windshield damage
  • Floods
  • Civil disturbance
  • Rodent damage

If you file a comprehensive claim, the payout will cover up to the actual cash value (ACV) of your car, minus your insurance deductible.

What Isn’t Covered By Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Because comprehensive insurance coverage is only meant for non-collision damage, it has exclusions. The table below shows the kinds of damage that aren’t covered by a comprehensive policy and the types of insurance you’d need instead.

Type of DamageType of Insurance
Damage to the other driver’s vehicle if you’re at fault for an accidentProperty damage liability insurance
The other driver’s medical expenses if you’re at fault for an accidentBodily injury liability insurance
Your medical expenses after an accidentMedical payments coverage (MedPay) or personal injury protection (PIP)
Belongings stolen from your carHomeowners or renters insurance

What Does Collision Insurance Cover?

Collision insurance typically covers your vehicle’s repairs after the following: 

  • Collision with another vehicle
  • Collision with a stationary object like a tree, guardrail, or telephone pole
  • Damage from road hazards like potholes or black ice
  • Damage from a rollover

Comprehensive and collision insurance are often mentioned together. We recommend carrying a full-coverage car insurance policy that includes both since they each handle damage that’s excluded from the other.

How Much Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cost?

According to the most recent study conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of comprehensive insurance for U.S. drivers was about $174 per year in 2020. California had the country’s lowest average rate for comprehensive coverage at about $97 per year. South Dakota drivers generally paid the most, spending an average of  around $353 per year.

Comprehensive Deductible

A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket when your insurance company approves your claim. Once you meet your comprehensive deductible, your provider will cover the remaining expenses up to the actual cash value of your car.

If your car has $1,500 worth of damage from vandalism and your comprehensive deductible is $500, your insurer would pay the other $1,000 toward the repairs.

An auto insurance policy with a higher deductible will usually have a lower premium, but you’ll have to pay more out of pocket for any repairs. Typically, comprehensive deductibles range from $100 to $2,000.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Comprehensive Car Insurance

Insurers use a number of factors to calculate your insurance quote for comprehensive and other kinds of coverage. These factors include:

  • Vehicle: Insurers consider the make, model, age, and mileage of your vehicle when calculating your rate.
  • Driver’s age: Drivers under 25 or over 55 generally pay more for car insurance. Teen drivers pay the highest insurance rates.
  • Location: Each state has its own insurance regulations and required minimum coverage. And if you live in an area with high theft or crash rates, you may have a higher premium.
  • Driving record: Drivers with traffic violations, DUIs, and recent at-fault accidents pay much higher rates for auto insurance coverage.
  • Coverage limits: Increasing your coverage limits beyond what your state requires or adding optional types of coverage will raise your premium.
  • Deductible: You’ll usually be able to choose the deductible amount for your insurance policy. The higher your insurance deductible, the lower your premium.

Should I Carry Comprehensive Car Insurance?

You may want to consider adding comprehensive car insurance to your policy in these scenarios:

  • You have a new car
  • The value of your vehicle is high
  • You plan to park or store your car for an extended period of time

Comprehensive insurance isn’t required to legally drive in any state, but a lender will likely require you to carry comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is leased or financed. Once your lease is up or your car loan is paid off, you can opt out of comprehensive coverage.

Is Comprehensive Car Insurance Worth It?

To determine if comprehensive car insurance coverage is worth it, calculate the value of your car and subtract your deductible amount. The resulting figure is the maximum you can expect from a comprehensive insurance claim.

Compare this number with your annual insurance premium. If the maximum payout amount is higher than what you pay for insurance each year, comprehensive insurance may be worth purchasing.

Comprehensive Car Insurance: Conclusion

Comprehensive insurance covers damages caused by incidents other than car collisions. Most of these non-collision incidents happen to parked vehicles. Comprehensive coverage isn’t required by any state, but lenders often require it if you have a lease or an auto loan.

This type of insurance is especially worth considering if you have a new vehicle since it covers an amount that’s up to the actual cash value of your car, minus your deductible. Comprehensive coverage can be purchased as an add-on as part of a full-coverage policy.

Recommendations For Comprehensive Car Insurance

When you’re looking for cheap car insurance, get free insurance quotes from a few providers to determine which policies best fit your needs and budget. We recommend taking a look at policies from Allstate and USAA for comprehensive coverage.

Allstate: Best Local Agents

Allstate is the fourth largest insurer in the United States and has built a reputation on having great coverage and reliable claims service. The company offers a wide variety of add-on coverage options, such as rental reimbursement and roadside assistance. Allstate customers can save money by bundling their auto coverage with their homeowners or renters insurance.

USAA: Best For Military Members

USAA tends to offer some of the industry’s most affordable car insurance policies, but its products are only available to military members, veterans and their spouses and children. In addition to its slate of full-coverage and add-on car insurance options, USAA offers boat insurance, life insurance, and more. The provider also has many discounts, including savings for motorists who insure multiple vehicles on the same car insurance policy.

Read more: USAA insurance review

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Comprehensive Car Insurance: FAQ

How We Rate Insurers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between insurers because so many factors impact annual premiums. The cheapest insurer for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. To determine our cost score, we look at insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, discount opportunities, and consumer reports.
  • Coverage: To determine our coverage score, we look at the number of coverage options available as well as coverage limits and deductible options. Our ratings also take into account additional services and benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Reliability: It’s important that an auto insurer is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong financial strength rating from AM Best score best in this category. Established insurers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Service: We comb through customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn about customer experiences. Insurers with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the claims process, giving higher ratings to car insurance providers that offer easy-to-use claims apps.


*Data accurate at time of publication.