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How to find the best comprehensive car insurance

Car insurance is legally required in most states, but drivers have some choice in the types of coverage they carry. One of the most common optional car insurance policies is comprehensive insurance, which comes standard with full coverage policies.

Written by Elizabeth Rivelli

Reviewed by Alyssa DiCrasto

Last updated: January 30, 2023

What does comprehensive coverage mean for auto insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance provides physical damage coverage for your vehicle if it gets damaged in a non-collision event. Many drivers get comprehensive car insurance by purchasing a full coverage policy, which also includes liability insurance, collision insurance, and medical payments insurance.

Although comprehensive insurance is optional, most drivers choose to purchase this policy. An analysis from the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) found that almost 80% of insured drivers carry comprehensive coverage, in addition to personal liability insurance (which is legally required in almost every state).

What does my comprehensive car insurance cover?

Despite the name, comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover everything. So, what does comprehensive car insurance cover? Here are some examples:

  • Falling objects
  • Flood damage
  • Fire damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Weather-related damage
  • Glass damage
  • Accidents with animals

If your car gets damaged in a covered incident, your comprehensive car insurance policy covers the cost of repairs, less your deductible. In most cases, comprehensive insurance pays out based on the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle, which is equal to the fair market value minus depreciation. Most comprehensive policies also have a deductible, which you must pay in the event of a claim.

What is not covered in comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance provides physical damage coverage if your car is damaged in a covered incident that’s not a collision. That means your comprehensive policy will not pay for things like:

  • Collision damage (both single- and multi-car crashes)
  • Personal liability in an accident you cause
  • Medical expenses if you get injured
  • Theft of personal items in your vehicle
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Maintenance and repairs

Who needs comprehensive insurance?

Although comprehensive car insurance is optional, it’s a good investment for many drivers. If your car is brand new, or less than 10 years old, comprehensive insurance can provide valuable protection if your car is damaged in a covered loss.

In addition, you might be required to carry comprehensive insurance if you lease or finance your vehicle. Some lenders require drivers to have a full coverage policy until the loan is paid off, or until they are no longer upside down on their loan (when you owe more than what the car is worth). This protects the lender in the event that the car gets totaled before it’s paid off.

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How much does comprehensive insurance cost?

The average American driver can expect to spend $171 per year for comprehensive insurance. However, the cost of comprehensive car insurance is different for each driver, depending on a combination of factors. Some of these factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Claim history
  • Credit score
  • Vehicle theft rate in your area
  • State-specific weather risks

In addition, your location has a big impact on the cost of comprehensive car insurance. For example, Triple-I data shows that the average Colorado driver pays $298 per year for comprehensive insurance, whereas the average California driver only pays $96 per year.

To find the cheapest comprehensive car insurance, it’s important to compare quotes from a few different insurers.

Is comprehensive coverage worth it?

If you drive a relatively new vehicle, or if you couldn’t afford to pay for vehicle repairs out-of-pocket, comprehensive car insurance is usually worth the cost. Comprehensive insurance is especially valuable because it covers theft. If you only carry liability insurance or collision insurance, you don’t have protection if your car or its parts get stolen.

Ultimately, every driver has different car insurance needs and various levels of risk tolerance. If you live in a safe neighborhood and garage your vehicle at home and at work, you might not need comprehensive insurance. However, other drivers feel that it provides valuable peace of mind in case the unexpected happens.

To find the best companies for comprehensive car insurance, take our short survey. We use your responses to match you with the best providers in your area that offer comprehensive coverage.

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What is the difference between comprehensive and full coverage car insurance?

If you’re shopping for car insurance, you’re probably familiar with full coverage insurance. It’s an optional package of insurance policies that provide more protection for your vehicle than minimum coverage policies, which typically only provide liability coverage.

Full coverage car insurance includes four main policies: collision insurance, comprehensive insurance, medical payments coverage, and liability insurance. Comprehensive insurance is just one of the policies that you get when you purchase full coverage car insurance.

Average cost of a standard full coverage car insurance policy in each state

How to save money on comprehensive insurance

There are several ways to potentially save money on comprehensive car insurance. One of the best ways to lower your premium (the amount you pay monthly or annually for your policy) is to increase your deductible, which is the out-of-pocket expense you must pay if you have a claim. The higher your deductible is, the lower your comprehensive premium will be.

You can also save money on car insurance overall by taking advantage of discounts. For example, many insurers provide savings for safe drivers, smart students, taking a defensive driving course, paying your annual premium in full, and having certain safety features in your vehicle.

Another great way to save money on comprehensive car insurance is to improve your credit score. In most states, your insurance company will check your credit when you apply for a policy, and your credit is used to calculate your premium. If you have a good credit score, you will probably pay less for car insurance.

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What is the difference between collision and comprehensive?

When you insure your car with a full coverage policy, you get collision and comprehensive insurance, which both cover physical damage. The biggest difference between these policies is what’s covered.

As the name suggests, collision insurance pays for your vehicle’s repairs after an accident you cause. It covers multi-car accidents, single-car accidents, and hit-and-runs (in most cases). Comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, pays out if your vehicle gets damaged from something other than an accident, like a wildfire or severe hailstorm.

Methodology

Rate Retriever rates are based on public rate filings obtained by analytics company First Interpreter. This data comes from the rating plans insurance carriers submit to each state’s department of insurance. Rating plans detail how each carrier calculates premiums using factors such as location, age, gender, and driving record, and they ensure that insurance premiums are both fair and competitive.  

For the data on this page, we made the following assumptions: a single male with a clean driving record and Good credit score, driving a 2022 RAV4. We adjusted this profile by age to determine the rates you see on this page. 

These rates are not actual quotes and should be used only for comparative purposes. Your rates can vary significantly based on your unique driver profile.