Comprehensive insurance is a type of car insurance coverage that pays for damage to a vehicle caused by events other than a collision. For example, comprehensive insurance covers damage due to falling objects, fire, theft, flood, vandalism, wind, and more.
The best comprehensive insurance comes from Geico, Progressive, and Esurance, based on average premiums and WalletHub editor reviews. Comprehensive insurance is not required by any state laws, but a driver will usually have to buy it for a leased or financed vehicle.
What Does Comprehensive Insurance Cover?
- Damage from falling objects
- Flood damage
- Fire damage
- Animal damage
- Damage from natural disasters
- Glass damage, such as a cracked windshield
What Does Comprehensive Insurance Not Cover?
- Damage from a collision with another car or an object, such as a fence or streetlight
- Damage caused by the surface of the road, such as a pothole
- Towing to a mechanic after a breakdown, flat tire, or dead battery
- Use of a rental car if your personal vehicle is inoperable after an accident
Best Comprehensive Car Insurance Companies
The best comprehensive insurance is offered by Geico, based on its affordable pricing and WalletHub editor rating of 4.5 out of 5. The company earned such a good score due to its low premiums, easy claims process, and variety of coverage options.
Progressive is an inexpensive option for drivers looking for comprehensive insurance. The company’s prices are consistently competitive, and it earned a 4.3 out of 5 WalletHub editor rating. Progressive also offers a variety of coverage add-ons, such as rideshare insurance, rental car reimbursement, and loan-lease payoff.
Esurance has the lowest average rates for comprehensive coverage. On the other hand, the company has about three times as many customer complaints as the average insurer, adjusting for market share. Nevertheless, Esurance is a good option for drivers who don’t mind buying a policy online or over the phone, since the company does not sell through agents.
USAA is only available to military servicemembers, veterans, and their families, but it provides inexpensive comprehensive coverage for drivers who qualify. The company offers lots of other coverage options, too, including accident forgiveness and extra passenger protection. However, it’s worth noting that USAA only allows policyholders to file a claim online, rather than over the phone or via a mobile app.
Mercury offers affordable comprehensive insurance for drivers in 11 states, including California, Texas, New York, and New Jersey. However, Mercury has more customer complaints than the average insurer due to things like claim denials and delayed claims payments. Besides auto insurance, Mercury also offers other types of coverage, including homeowners, renters, and business insurance.
Do I Need Comprehensive Insurance?
For the most part, comprehensive insurance is optional. No state requires drivers to carry it. However, if you have a loan or lease, many auto lenders and leaseholders will require drivers to purchase comprehensive insurance coverage.
If your auto financing is paid off, first determine the value of your vehicle. Use common sources like the Kelly Blue Book, Black Book or N.A.D.A. online guides for accurate estimates. Then consider the following scenarios when deciding whether to purchase comprehensive auto insurance:
Scenario 1: You cannot afford to repair or replace your car.
Quick Answer: Buy comprehensive coverage.
Imagine a severe thunderstorm rolls through your hometown, uprooting a massive oak tree. Unexpectedly, it falls onto your car, crushing it. Could you afford to buy a new car? If not, you should probably buy comprehensive car insurance. It is a relatively inexpensive way to protect your car and finances.
Scenario 2: You can afford to replace your car.
Quick Answer: It depends.
If your “rainy day” fund does contain enough money to replace your car, you can drop your comprehensive coverage and self-insure if you want to. But before deciding, ask yourself three questions:
1. How much will I save by not buying insurance?
Using the WalletHub Car Insurance Quote Generator, you can calculate your average price of comprehensive car insurance. The price will largely be determined by how much your car is worth and the deductible you select. Unless you have a terrible driving record, you will probably save a couple hundred dollars per year by not purchasing comprehensive coverage.
2. How much money is at risk?
The worst case scenario is that your car is destroyed and you need to replace it. Depending on your situation, that could lead to a financial disaster if you don’t have insurance. If you don’t have the option to be without a car, buying a new one without help from insurance could wipe out any long-term savings you may have.
3. What are the odds I will have to pay to repair or replace my car?
To answer that question, you should determine if you drive through hazardous areas. If so, the likelihood of damage to your car is greater.
Hazardous areas include rural areas where deer strikes and other wildlife-related accidents are common; high-crime areas where car theft, break-ins, and vandalism are common; areas prone to natural disasters, such as wildfires, floods, mudslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes; or busy highways where gravel and other detritus can damage your windshield.
Depending on your neighborhood, you might have to worry about some or all of these dangers. Ask yourself if you are comfortable paying a couple hundred dollars per year to compensate for such risks.
Comprehensive Insurance Decision Example
To better understand the above decision process, let’s imagine a 36-year-old single male who lives in Oakley, California, where the crime rate is considerably high. Let’s call him Mark. He owns a 2008 Honda Accord LX Sedan that contains only the standard package, and it’s in good condition, with 100,000 miles. According to the Kelley Blue Book, Mark’s Accord is worth approximately $7,500.
If Mark has an emergency fund of only $2,000, he should buy comprehensive coverage. However, if he has $20,000 in his fund, he should answer the three questions discussed above.
Using the quote generator, he will see that comprehensive car insurance will cost about $120-180 per year. In other words, he would save approximately 2% of the value of his car by not purchasing comprehensive coverage.
Moreover, considering the fact that Mark’s neighborhood is not very safe and he might have to replace his car in case of a theft or vandalism. Entire car replacement means wiping out more than 1/3rd of his emergency funds. In this situation, it is a good idea to buy comprehensive coverage.
How Much Is Comprehensive Insurance?
Comprehensive insurance coverage costs an average of $162 per year, making it far cheaper than other types of car insurance. The cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy is calculated based on the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle – its replacement cost minus depreciation. Since the ACV is the maximum amount that a comprehensive insurance policy will pay out, cars that are worth less are cheaper to insure.
The price of comprehensive coverage also varies based on the deductible amount, which typically ranges from $100 to $1,000 for comprehensive insurance. A deductible is the amount of money you will pay out of pocket for car repairs. When you file a collision claim, your insurance provider will cover expenses in excess of that deductible, up to the policy’s limits.
Comprehensive Insurance Cost by Deductible
|Comprehensive Deductible||Annual Comprehensive Premium||Cost Difference|
|$1,000||$185||38% lower than $100 deductible|
Note: Premium figures assume collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible, bodily injury liability limits of $50,000 per injured person and $100,000 per accident, and a property damage liability limit of $50,000.
As this chart clarifies, the larger the deductible, the more that driver will pay out of pocket. But his monthly premiums will be lower. If he chooses the smaller deductible, the opposite would be true. This tradeoff is true for every driver to some extent, even drivers of different ages, marital status, and driving history.
Comprehensive vs. Collision Coverage
Comprehensive insurance is often confused with collision insurance, since they are generally purchased together and both pay to repair or replace the policyholder’s car. The main difference is that comprehensive insurance applies to damage caused by something other than a crash, while collision coverage applies to damage from an accident.
The table below provides examples of scenarios covered by collision and comprehensive insurance.
|Cause of Damage||Covered by Comprehensive Insurance?||Covered by Collision Insurance?|
|Vandalism or riots||Yes||No|
|Natural disaster, fire, or extreme weather||Yes||No|
|Animals, including hitting a deer||Yes||No|
|Accident involving another car||No||Yes|
|Single-car accident, such as rolling or hitting a pole||No||Yes|
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s complete guide to the differences between comprehensive and collision insurance.
The best insurance companies for comprehensive coverage were determined by considering average premiums and overall editor rating. Both factors were given equal weight, though cost was used as a tiebreaker when necessary.
Ask the Experts
To gain more insight about Comprehensive car insurance, WalletHub posed the following questions to a panel of experts. Click on the experts below to view their bios and answers.
1. What drivers should purchase comprehensive insurance?
2. How should drivers pick their comprehensive insurance coverage levels?
3. How should drivers pick their comprehensive insurance deductible?
4. When should drivers drop comprehensive insurance?
5. Can drivers actually save as much as insurance companies advertise when switching companies?
6. Why do car insurance companies spend so much on commercials?
7. Should drivers trust their insurance company?