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Comprehensive vs Collision Coverage

Have you ever wondered about the difference between comprehensive vs collision coverage? If you have, you are not alone. Both sound similar but act in very different ways. They even have their own separate deductibles.

The thing is, you may have one, both, or neither coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. In fact:

“About 79% of all U.S. drivers buy comprehensive coverage, and 75% buy collision, according to the Insurance Information Institute, which based its analysis on 2019 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Typically, a lender may require you to carry both comprehensive (comp) and collision (sometimes referred to as “full coverage”).

If this all sounds a bit complicated, rest assured. We are here to break down the differences between comprehensive vs collision coverage. It really comes down to what happened to the car to damage it…

Comprehensive Coverage (& Donuts)

In short, comprehensive coverage protects your car from losses that are not caused by a collision. Let’s say you drive to the grocery store. You park in the store parking lot and proceed to get your groceries (got to get those donuts when they’re fresh). After checking out, you return to your car only to find disaster. Picture the wreckage from any of the following incidents:

  • Fire and explosions
  • Vandalism, such as when someone keys or tags your car
  • Theft-related damage, for example, damage caused when breaking into the vehicle
  • Storms, such as wind, hail, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes
  • Falling objects such as a tree limb falling on a parked car, or if someone’s hauling materials and something falls and lands on your car
  • Windshield cracks and chips
  • Animal-related damage

With comprehensive coverage, your policy should cover the damage. So go ahead, enjoy your fresh donuts.

Collision Coverage (& Pastries)

Simply put, collision coverage comes into play to help you cover the costs of damage to your car after an accident (or hit and run). For example:

You are driving down the road and your car has one of those fancy new touch-screen infotainment systems. While they look cool, the system requires you to take your eyes off the road to tune the radio to your favorite station (be aware of this distraction). When you return your focus to the road, you notice a pastry truck has stopped abruptly in front of you. Swerving to avoid the sweet pastries, you end up hitting a large rock at the side of the road.

Luckily you are OK (and so are the pastries). And in this case, whether you hit the pastry truck or the rock, your car would be covered by your collision coverage.

Keep in mind, many insurance providers will require you to carry both comprehensive and collision coverage. Having both of these coverages is often referred to as full coverage. But let us quickly explain why the term full coverage can be misleading.

Full Coverage (& Frozen Yogurt)

While having both comp and collision coverage on your auto policy may be referred to as full coverage, there are other options to consider. It’s a lot like going to a frozen yogurt shop.

When choosing your yogurt, you start with a size and flavor. It’s perfectly fine to leave it at that and head to checkout. But you can also add more flavor with toppings. They’re all optional. And while you will pay a bit more at the register, the toppings will make your yogurt even more delicious.

The same goes for auto insurance. You can “checkout” after comp and collision, but you can also add more features to your policy to sweeten the deal. Rental Car Coverage, Better Car Protection, & Roadside Service can all enhance the flavor of your auto policy. Erie Insurance even has an endorsement called Erie Auto Plus that lowers your deductible by $100 for each claims-free year. That’s icing on the cake!

Comprehensive vs Collision Coverage – Final Thoughts

If you have a newer car that you’re still making payments on, chances are you will be required to carry both comp and collision coverage and each will have their own deductible.

Simply put, the main difference between comprehensive vs collision coverage comes down to how the vehicle was damaged. Comprehensive coverage for things besides an accident and collision coverage for car accidents.

And just keep in mind, full coverage usually just means comp and collision, but more protection can be added to your policy via add-ons.

If you’re ready to explore coverage options for your car, reach out to our agents.

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