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8/20/2014
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Comprehensive Coverage & Comprehensive Deductible

What Is Comprehensive Insurance?
Filing a Comprehensive Claim for Vandalism
Comprehensive Coverage Deductibles and the Value of Your Car
Know Your Deductible
Comprehensive Coverage and Animal Damage
Hitting an Animal: Comprehensive vs. Collision
What Is a Diminishing Deductible?
What Are Custom Coverage Options?
Filing Frequent Claims
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1. What Is Comprehensive Insurance?
Comprehensive is coverage designed to cover the type of damage that can happen to your vehicle for situations not involving a collision with another car. Vandalism, flood, fire, explosions, earthquakes, riots, and theft are all typical comprehensive claims. You'll want comprehensive coverage options on any brand new vehicle or one you are still making payments on. It's advisable to carry comprehensive coverage on any vehicle used as part of a business, especially if it doubles as your personal transportation when you aren't driving on the job.

Some people worry that making a comprehensive insurance claim will affect the cost of affordable car insurance, but a comprehensive claim doesn't reflect on your driving ability or your record as a safe driver. You don't need to be worried that you'll get higher insurance premium rates as a result of filing a claim. Top

2. Filing a Comprehensive Claim for Vandalism
To file an insurance claim for vandalism, you will need to provide the following information:

  • The nature of the damage
  • Physical location of the damage on your vehicle
  • Where the vehicle was parked and what approximate time the damage might have happened

Don't call the insurance company until you have filed a police report; you'll need the report number as part of the claim process. Be sure to review your existing comprehensive deductible options and know how much you might have to pay to cover the deductible. It's also good to review your policy -- double check any custom coverage options you may have added. It's easy to change your deductibles, file policy away and forget about it. Insurance claim procedures require you to get an estimate for the repairs, and if you haven't already reviewed your policy you can always double check with your insurer while you wait. Top

3. Comprehensive Coverage Deductibles and the Value of Your Car
Carrying affordable car insurance isn't just about your monthly premiums, it's also about whether you are getting the right value for your money. Is your car five years old or more? The value of your vehicle goes down every year and at some point carrying comprehensive coverage may not be the best value. Some experts recommend re-evaluating your collision and comprehensive coverage once the car is five years old. Is the cost of these coverages above ten percent of the actual Blue Book value of the vehicle? Does it make sense to carry a low deductible when a higher one could save you money?

You may consider dropping comprehensive if the answer is yes, but it's important to weigh the cost of the repairs and your ability to pay. Without comprehensive insurance options you can get more affordable car insurance. Are you able to pay the full cost for repairs from a fire, flood or vandalism out of pocket? The answer will tell you a lot about whether you should keep your comprehensive insurance options. Raising your deductible might be a good compromise that can keep you protected while helping to lower your rates. Top

4. Know Your Deductible
Did you know some state legislation proposes an automatic amount for collision deductible options if the customer doesn't specify a particular amount? Some states may already have such laws on the books, and it's always a good idea to request the collision deductible option that is best for you. If you plan to save money to cover your deductible, specify that amount at the beginning of a new policy even if you don't have the whole amount already set aside.

If you don't specify the exact amount, the deductible assigned to you could be higher than you can afford to pay out of pocket. A 2003 proposal in the New Jersey state legislature recommended setting an auto insurance deductible at $700 if not otherwise specified by the customer. Can you afford that amount? Always double-check a new or revised policy before signing to know your exact coverage and deductible amounts. Top

5. Comprehensive Coverage and Animal Damage
Comprehensive insurance covers all damage to your car from non-accident incidents, but there is one situation that some people consider an "accident" which is usually covered by your comprehensive policy -- hitting an animal. If you have an accident involving a deer, birds, or other animals, file a comprehensive claim. There may be an exception to this depending on your comprehensive auto policy -- affordable car insurance policies may stipulate a difference between actually hitting an animal and an accident caused by swerving to avoid hitting one.

Carefully examine your comprehensive deductible options if you drive in an area populated by deer or other animals. You can keep yourself out of many accidents by using safe driving and defensive driving techniques, but there's nothing you can do to stop a deer from running in front of your car. A lower deductible on your comprehensive insurance in this case may be worth the added expense. Top

6. Hitting an Animal: Comprehensive vs. Collision
Can your insurance premium rates go up after an accident where you strike an animal? It depends on the type of accident. Affordable car insurance rates may become more expensive after a claim filed under your collision policy. Comprehensive rates generally do not increase after a claim. The key to an accident involving an animal is whether it is covered under your comprehensive or collision coverage. Actually hitting an animal is normally handled by your comprehensive policy. This is good news if you are concerned with keeping your current affordable car insurance rates. If you swerve to avoid hitting an animal and have an accident, it may be covered under your collision insurance. In this case, your insurance rates may increase depending on the insurance company. Top

7. What Is a Diminishing Deductible?
Some insurance premium rates for comprehensive coverage include something known as the diminishing deductible. If your company offers this feature, it can help already affordable car insurance rates go down even more. Diminishing deductibles go into effect after a specified period passes with no claims. If you make no comprehensive claims over a long enough period of time, you won't have to worry about setting your comprehensive deductible options -- the deductible will go to zero!

Coverages vary from company to company, and your comprehensive auto policy may feature the diminishing deductible as an option, or the company may have added this feature since you paid your last premium rates for the coverage period. If you don't have a diminishing deductible now, call your customer service rep and inquire if this option is available or is coming soon. Top

8. What Are Custom Coverage Options?
Historically custom coverage options have mostly applied to show cars and classic cars but today even ordinary autos may require custom coverage options to accommodate aftermarket, customized parts like tires and rims or sound and video systems added privately after a car is purchased. Check with your insurer to learn what customizations are included under your current policy and whether you need to add additional coverage for aftermarket equipment.

The second type of custom coverage options refers to insurance which is specifically designed by the user and the insurer to best suit your needs. Some insurance companies allow you to fully customize an insurance policy for a specific vehicle. Depending on your insurance company, your comprehensive deductible option for example can be raised, lowered, altered to only apply under certain conditions, or even deleted to suit your particular needs. This type of protection is an excellent choice for those who drive expensive and/or highly customized vehicles or classic cars and need additional protection because of the unique nature of their vehicles. Top

9. Filing Frequent Claims
If you file a single claim on a comprehensive auto policy, you shouldn't see an increase in rates. If you file multiple claims in the same year, you could see an increase. Most insurance companies have a limit on how many comprehensive claims you can make without a rate change. Individual policies spell out the limits in the fine print, and it's up to you to know what those limits are. Did your vehicle receive cosmetic damage from hail or a "ding" in a shopping mall parking lot? You may wish to evaluate the damage carefully and decide whether such damage is worth reporting as a claim. You may have enough of a cosmetic problem to justify such a claim, but if you want affordable car insurance rates that will stay the same over the course of the year, consider having the minor damage fixed yourself, especially when the cost exceeds your deductible by only a small amount. Top



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