It could be a rough storm that tosses a heavy oak branch across your hood. Or a bouncing stone that lands on your windshield with a crack. It could even be a deer or other animal that innocently wanders into the roadway in front of you. Whether on the road or parked at home in your driveway, any number of things could happen, causing hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage to your car. Does your auto insurance cover these types of incidents? If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, the answer is yes. But what does comprehensive auto insurance really mean?

What exactly is comprehensive auto insurance coverage?

It′s insurance that covers damage to your car, truck, SUV, crossover, van or other vehicle not caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Some auto insurance policies refer to comprehensive coverage as “Other Than Collision” coverage.

Comprehensive coverage covers a variety of things like:

  • damage caused by storms and road hazards
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Glass and windshield damage
  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Accidents with animals
  • Other acts of nature

People usually purchase comprehensive coverage for their car along with collision insurance. Just as the name implies, collision insurance covers damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car or object, or from your vehicle overturning.

In most cases, if your car is leased or financed, you are contractually required to carry comprehensive and collision insurance. If you own your car outright, the coverage is optional — but it′s smart to carry it to protect your investment, especially if your car has a moderate to high value.

With collision and comprehensive coverage, a deductible usually applies. Your policy will pay for damages that exceed the deductible amount, which typically ranges from $250 to $1,000. Choosing a higher deductible will help lower your premium, but keep in mind that you need to be prepared to pay the deductible amount in the event of a loss.

What isn’t covered by comprehensive auto insurance?

These seem pretty obvious once you think about it, but comprehensive insurance doesn’t cover collisions of any type, but since you’re usually not getting comprehensive insurance without collision, you should be ok. If you don’t have collision insurance, you’ll want to talk to your agent ASAP.

Is comprehensive coverage right for you?

There are a number of reasons to get comprehensive coverage, but there are plenty of reasons not to. First, you may be required by your lender to have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle. If you own your car outright that decision may be left to you. You may want to lower your rate, and getting rid of comprehensive is a good way to do that. The Insurance Information Institute suggests that you may not need comprehensive if the yearly premium multiplied by 10 would is more than your car’s value.

Still have questions about comprehensive auto Insurance?

If you’re still not sure if you need comprehensive, here are a few good questions to ask your agent, or reach out to a AAA insurance agent, and we’re able to get you a quote and answer any questions you may have.