February 13th, 2014
Every now and then, you might hear stories about a neighbor's car being broken into, resulting in a smashed window and a stolen CD player. Other horror stories might include hearing a loud crash during a big thunderstorm and later seeing a tree branch lying on top of your vehicle. While these occurrences don't happen all the time, they do happen from time to time. If you think it will never happen to your vehicle, you might be putting yourself at financial risk.
Most drivers invest in some sort of car insurance to at least meet the minimum state requirements. Insurance requirements vary state by state, but in general, basic policies will cover bodily injuries and property damage up to a certain limit. Collision coverage is often regarded as the most important part of an auto insurance policy, but it might not be enough. Many times, these minimal policies do not carry comprehensive coverage, which is often sold with its own deductible.
Because things can happen while your car is just sitting in the driveway, comprehensive car insurance is a policy many drivers choose to protect their vehicle from damage and costly repairs when they aren't driving.
Comprehensive insurance coverage usually means that your car is protected from theft and damage, even when you're not driving it. A lot of drivers invest in some kind of comprehensive coverage because other types won't provide financial assistance if the exterior is damaged by hail. Usually things like falling objects, damage from animals, vandalism or theft, shattered windshields and big storms or natural disasters are covered with this insurance option.
What's not covered
It is also important to understand that everything is not included with comprehensive insurance coverage. While damage to your vehicle is part of the coverage plan, other expenses like towing, rental car costs and personal property are not included. This means you might have financial assistance getting your car repaired but won't have help if you need to rent a car while your vehicle is being fixed.
There is usually a deductible associated with comprehensive coverage, meaning you will have to pay out of pocket up to a certain limit before your insurance company will cover any repair expenses. Your deductible for comprehensive coverage should be considered carefully. For example, if you drive an older vehicle and its value is not much more than the amount of your deductible, it might not be worth it to invest in comprehensive coverage.
You can select your own deductible, which can make comprehensive coverage more affordable and suited to your vehicle. The amount of coverage that you receive will depend on the actual cash value of your vehicle. This means that if your car is severely damaged or needs to be replaced completely, you will be covered up to the same cash value. If the repairs exceed this amount, your insurance company may declare it a loss and reimburse you for the vehicle's value instead of paying for repairs of the damage.