What is a comprehensive car insurance claim?

Written by grayson millar
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What is a comprehensive car insurance claim?
Comprehensive claims cover non-collision incidents. (car image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com)

When making a report to your insurance provider, it is important to know the difference between a comprehensive claim and a collision claim. In the most basic terms, comprehensive insurance covers all non-driving related claims. However, there are several further distinctions that must be taken into account, including some driving situations that are covered by comprehensive instead of collision.

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Definition

According to CarInsuranceRates.com, "Comprehensive insurance offers protection against damage caused to your vehicle by vandalism, hit-and-run, hitting an animal, or acts of nature such as hail or wind damage." Basically, comprehensive insurance covers your car in all areas other than collision with another car while driving. An accident with another car while driving is covered by the collision portion of your insurance.

Not-At-Fault

For your insurance company to cover a comprehensive claim, it must be determined that you are not responsible for the damage to your car and any object that may be damaged by it. CarInsuranceRates.com provides the following useful example: "Any damage that occurs must be defined as not-at-fault if you strike another object. For instance, if a dog runs out in front of you and you swerve to miss it, but hit a guardrail or telephone pole instead, your comprehensive insurance will cover the damage to both your car and the pole or guardrail."

Considerations

Similarly, you must be found "not-at-fault" by your insurance provider for any other damage for which you file a comprehensive claim. In the case of vandalism or a hit-and-run, your insurance provider will generally require that you file a police report as a demonstration of your lack of responsibility for the damage to your car. A claims adjuster affiliated with your insurance company will make the decision on fault in the case of weather damage.

Deductible

Like collision insurance, comprehensive insurance requires the payment of a deductible. For example, if you have a £325 deductible, your insurance company will cover all damage in excess of £325. If you file a claim, you must pay the deductible for the insurance agency to cover the remainder of the cost. As opposed to collision claims, in which the at-fault driver or the at-fault driver's insurance company covers the full cost of damages, with comprehensive claims, since there is generally no one at fault, the insured must always cover the deductible.

Effects and Limits

In general, unlike collision claims, comprehensive claims do not affect your insurance premiums. Nonetheless, as CarInsuranceRates.com explains, "If you frequently file comprehensive claims, it will impact your car insurance premiums. The thing is every insurance company has their own set of limits. Some will allow you to file only one comprehensive claim before they increase your rates. Others will allow you four or more before they increase your rates." Find out your insurance company's limits before filing a comprehensive claim. The company will keep track of the number of claims you have filed.

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