Collision vs. Comprehensive: What is the difference between collision and comprehensive auto insurance?

Collision and comprehensive insurance both cover damage to vehicles, albeit in different situations. Learn about the difference between the two types of auto insurance: collision vs. comprehensive.

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UPDATED: May 25, 2022

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Written By: Mathew B. SimsReviewed By: Daniel WalkerUPDATED: May 25, 2022Fact Checked

Things to Remember...

  • Collision insurance pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another vehicle or object
  • Comprehensive insurance covers things other than collisions such as damage from floods, earthquakes, and hailstorms
  • Both types usually require you to pay a deductible when you file a claim

Whether you are a first-time car buyer or someone who has been driving for years, you may have questions about two common types of car insurance, collision vs. comprehensive. 

More specifically, you might be wondering what the difference between comprehensive and collision auto insurance is, and if you need them both on your policy.

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To answer these questions, let’s take a look at the ins and outs of collision and comprehensive insurance. We’ll also look at the rules and regulations of these types of insurance, along with some other helpful information.

What is collision insurance?

As its name implies, collision insurance pays for the damage to your vehicle that happens as the result of a collision. This can include, for example, crashing into another car or hitting a tree on a snowy and icy day. 

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Collision insurance will also cover you if another car hits yours while you are parked. For instance, if a distracted driver clips your bumper when you are in a parking space and leaves without any contact you are covered. It also kicks in if you crash into a ditch, your vehicle flips over, or you are in a hit and run and unable to use uninsured motorist coverage. 

Collision insurance does include a deductible, which is the amount you will pay out of your own pocket before insurance kicks in to pay for the rest.

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What is comprehensive insurance?

In a nutshell, comprehensive insurance will pay for damage to your vehicle that is caused by pretty much anything besides a collision. These situations are sometimes referred to as acts of God. 

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For instance, if a giant tree branch gives way and falls on your car, or if your vehicle is damaged during a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or other natural disasters, these would fall under comprehensive coverage. 

Comprehensive insurance will also cover the following:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Damage that occurs if you hit an animal 
  • A broken windshield 
  • Fire and explosions

Like collision insurance, comprehensive insurance is typically subject to a deductible. Comprehensive and collision deductible amounts will vary from person to person,  but $500 to $1,000 is a common range according to Car and Driver.

Benefits of Having Collision and Comprehensive Insurance

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When it comes to looking at comprehensive vs. collision coverage, there are definite benefits to having both types. 

With collision insurance, you won’t have to worry about shelling out a huge amount of money if your car is damaged in an accident. Similarly, comprehensive coverage can take some of the stress out of the responsibility of owning a car. Here’s a look at the average annual rates for different types of coverage.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage
Coverage SummaryAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates
Comprehensive Coverage$160/year
Collision Coverage$363/year
Liability Coverage$611/year
Full Coverage$1,134/year
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Having both types of coverage protects you and your vehicle from just about anything that can happen to you on the road. 

Do I need collision and comprehensive insurance?

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Legally, collision and comprehensive insurance are optional in every state, so they’re not part of the usual car insurance coverage requirements. However, the vast majority of drivers do decide to add both to their policies. 

And if you are financing your vehicle, your lender or leasing company will likely require both types of coverage. 

Even if you don’t need to have the coverage, consider your financial situation. If it would be a financial hardship to replace your car or make expensive repairs, you should have collision and comprehensive coverage. Especially if you live in an area that is known for a lot of theft, severe storms, or other natural disasters, comprehensive insurance may be a no-brainer.

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Auto Insurance: Collision vs. Comprehensive

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When comparing collision vs. comprehensive auto insurance, it’s important to note that both provide critical protection for your vehicle. Buying collision and comprehensive car insurance will help to pay for repairs if your vehicle is damaged and provide you with invaluable peace of mind. 

With both of these coverages on your policy, you won’t have to drain your savings or rack up a huge credit card bill. If that’s valuable to you, or if your lender requires it, compare your coverage options today.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Written by Mathew B. Sims
Editor-in-Chief Mathew B. Sims

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

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