What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage on auto insurance?

What is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?

What is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance?


Both comprehensive and collision coverage form the standard part of many vehicle insurance policies. Unfortunately, to many drivers worldwide, what these two terms mean precisely remains a mystery. In many parts of the world, it is illegal for anyone to drive without purchasing liability insurance. However, as for comprehensive and collision, it is optional to buy either, even though nearly eight out of ten drivers sign up for these coverage types. Below are some of the differences that will help you understand the two and how each coverage protects your North Carolina vehicle. 

Collision insurance

Collision insurance is a type of coverage that covers car damage that has come as a result of an accident, which could have resulted from hitting an object like a telephone pole and a mailbox or even flipping over. Essentially, this type of coverage covers your vehicle for both accidents that are the fault of another driver or if you are the one at fault. As a rule in North Carolina car insurance, collision coverage is obligated to pay for repairs to your vehicle. It is important to note that this sort of coverage reimburses your car’s repair cost with the deductible already subtracted.

However, when the repair cost is much higher than the value of your vehicle, which was already predetermined, your vehicle shall be totaled. This means that your insurance company will only pay you the book value of your vehicle. After the due process is followed and you are refunded your money, you can choose to repair the vehicle, which will cost you significantly less money out of pocket since you would have received money from the insurance company. Alternatively, you can use the money to replace the damaged vehicle and get yourself a new set of wheels. 

If the damage caused to your vehicle is primarily the fault of the other driver, collision coverage in North Carolina, in most cases, will pay for the repair works on your car, then push for a refund from the insurance company that covered the other driver. This is usually a good arrangement for car insurance in North Carolina if the other driver’s insurance company is hard to deal with. In most cases, the claim shall not interfere with your insurance premium if the other driver is the one who is at fault. 

Collision coverage in North Carolina is popularly used to cover hit-and-run accidents. This is when your car has sustained any damage, and the other vehicle’s driver’s identity cannot be established. An excellent example of this is when you have gone shopping only to find a massive dent on the side of your car. Additionally, collision also covers damages that have been caused by uninsured drivers. Still, you may also have coverage for this with optional uninsured property damage coverage, which we will discuss in another article.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance is a type of coverage that pays to replace or to repair your car if, by any chance, it is damaged in an incident that is not primarily a collision. Sometimes this kind of coverage is referred to as “other than collision” coverage. Comprehensive coverage in North Carolina typically encompasses damages that result from falling objects like hail or a tree branch, vandalism, and even fire. More often than not, car leasing and financing companies require that you first sign up for comprehensive coverage before you drive off with your vehicle. In the case of outright purchase, and the car is entirely in your custody, comprehensive coverage in North Carolina is optional. 

Comprehensive coverage limits and deductibles

A deductible is the amount of money you pay from your own pocket towards covering a claim. For example, let’s say you have a car damaged by a falling tree, and it costs $2500 to repair. If you have a $1000 deductible, you will be responsible for paying $1000 towards the repair. The North Carolina car insurance company will handle the rest, which would be $1500.

All comprehensive coverage plans have a limit. A limit is typically the maximum amount of money that the car insurance in North Carolina will pay towards a claim. Comprehensive coverage limit in most companies is usually the actual book value of your car at the time of the incident. For example, if by any chance that your vehicle is stolen, the car insurance company would refund you the value of your car after depreciation minus the deductible that you chose. If by any chance you choose to replace the stolen car with any other model or make, you would receive money from the insurance company making the process far less expensive. 

If important to note that comprehensive limits and deductibles are different from collision limits and deductibles even in the same insurance company.

Choosing a comprehensive coverage deductible

When visiting a car insurance company, the insurer will offer you deductible figures that will rise in set increments like $500, $1000, and $1500. If you end up choosing a higher deductible, e.g., $1500, it means that you will end up paying lower premiums, which will save you tons of cash in the long run. However, in case of any damage, you will end up paying more money to cover the claim. The opposite, however, is true. If you end up choosing a lower deductible, e.g., $500, you will end up paying higher premiums and pay less when covering a claim. Your insurance agent will go a long way in assisting you in choosing which deductible best suits you and your needs. 

Considerations before buying comprehensive coverage

 It may be required by your car lender or financing company

 When leasing or financing your car, it may be a legal requirement that you sign up for comprehensive and collision coverage first before you drive off your vehicle and at least until you have fully paid for your vehicle. 

The age and worth of your vehicle

Once you have finished paying off your vehicle, comprehensive coverage is usually optional. Some drivers tend to cancel their comprehensive plans and seek out other cheaper options. Before you do this, there is one question that you should ask yourself. Are you in a position to pay for repairs or replace your car if it is involved in an accident or stolen? If the answer is no and you cannot afford to cover the expenses out of your pocket, then keeping the comprehensive coverage might prove to be a good move and a smart investment in the long run. 

Difference and similarities between collision and comprehensive coverage


  • Both have deductible amounts.
  • Both have a coverage value that is the car’s actual cash value at the time of incident or accident.
  • Both are required when leasing or financing a vehicle and are optional once the car entirely belongs to you.
  • Both of them do not cover damages made to the vehicle of another person.
  • Both do not cover any medical bills that arise from the accident.

The main differences, however, arise from what they cover.

Comprehensive covers damage from:

  • Falling objects like hail
  • Natural disaster
  • Animal damage like hitting a deer
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Civil disturbance like a riot

 Collision covers damage from: 

  • Collision with another vehicle
  • Rolling over accidents
  • Damage from hitting a pothole
  • Collision with an object such as a fence


For some people, the cheapest insurance policy is often the best North Carolina insurance as it legally allows them to be on the road. For some, the costly option is usually the best North Carolina insurance as it fully settles their claim in case of an accident. The best advice is to go for both comprehensive and collision options because that is the only way to ensure that you are best protected on the road.

What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage on auto insurance?
What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage on auto insurance?

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As an independent insurance agency, Harbor insurance knows what options you have for your auto insurance. We can help you determine the most appropriate coverage and find the best options with top rated carriers. Let our agents help you today by requesting a quote. You can also make an appointment with a licensed insurance agent.