Collision insurance is oriented towards protecting you from any physical damage that might occur to your vehicle if you are involved in a collision while you are driving. These policies can cover anything from impact with a stationary objects, like a light pole or guardrail, to an accident involving one or more vehicles.
Very often, a collision policy will also cover any vehicle you are driving, even if you are not the owner. With this type of coverage, the insurance company will pay for any repairs that are necessary for your vehicle.
A notable exception to most collision policies is that they may not cover any damage caused by an encounter with an animal, such as a deer or moose.
The same exception is of course made if the damage occurs while the driver is intoxicated or committing a felony while driving.
The nature of the repairs an insurance company is willing to pay for under a collision policy is often directly tied in with the value of the car. For older cars, insurance companies sometimes insist on used or third party body panels or replacement parts, due to their lower cost.
They may even require the policy holder to pay the difference if they wish to use dealer components. The cost of collision insurance versus the cost of repairing an older vehicle lead many to drop this type of coverage after a vehicle has reached a certain age.
Comprehensive coverage can be thought of as a safety net that takes care of the many unpredictable events that can occur during the course of vehicle ownership. Comprehensive policies insure owners against theft, (either of the vehicle or the contents of the vehicle), fire and vandalism.
In some cases comprehensive insurance also covers damage from flooding, although this is not usually included in basic policies. These policies can often be found protecting vehicles which are in storage or undergoing restoration and do not see road use.
Comprehensive insurance can take care of safety-related issues such as windshield repair – in fact, for most drivers a replacement windshield can be fitted to their vehicle at no cost to them should it become cracked or scratched directly in their line of sight.
The previously mentioned animal impacts are counter-intuitively included under comprehensive coverage, as are ‘freak’ accidents such as damage cause by falling trees or weather-driven projectiles.
The majority of drivers carry both these types of insurance, with varying coverage levels.
If your car is financed, then you will most likely be obligated to carry an insurance policy that protects the full value of your vehicle from the most common, foreseeable types of perils.