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Is filing comp instead of collision cheaper?


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Question: The roof blew off my workplace and caused some damage to my car. I have to pay a $1,000 deductible.  I heard that I should have to pay only half since it was a comprehensive claim. Is this true? 

Answer: No.  You don’t get a break on your deductible for making a comprehensive claim instead of a collision claim against your auto insurance policy.   You’ll be required to pay out the deductible amount that you chose for your comprehensive coverage at the inception of your policy before your coverage takes over and pays the remaining amount towards the repair of your vehicle. 

If damages caused by the roof were substantial, then your car may be found a total loss.  If that is the case, then instead of you paying out your deductible, the $1,000 would be taken off of the claim settlement for the actual cash value of your vehicle.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information out there from people who think they understand how auto insurance works and really don’t.  And this is one of those times. 

Any time you file a claim with your car insurance company under your physical damages of either collision or comprehensive the associated deductible amount is due -- even if you’re not at fault.  (A couple of exceptions being if your insurer has waived the deductible for some reason or you’re in a zero deductible state for windshield repairs).

It would appear that you chose a $1,000 deductible amount for both your collision and comprehensive coverages, so for either type of claim you’ll end up paying out $1,000 before your coverage benefits kick in.  (See “Will higher deductible save you money?”)

It could be whoever told you that comprehensive coverage deductibles should be half of collision has different deductibles for each type of coverage -- for example, $1,000 for collision and $500 for comprehensive -- and mistakenly is under the belief that everyone’s comprehensive deductible is half of their collision, when in reality it would only be that way if you set up your deductibles in that manner.

If your damages are only a bit over your deductible amount, then we’d recommend that you go ahead and pay out-of-pocket for the repairs instead of making an auto insurance claim.  Save insurance for the big things and take care of the little things on your own, if you can afford to.

We offer this advice because, although one comprehensive claim won’t affect your rates with many auto insurance companies, your overall claims activity is taken into account for rating purposes. 

If you make multiple claims in a short period of time, most car insurance companies will hike up your premiums or non-renew your policy at the end of its term. (If that were to happen, shop around for cheaper auto insurance rates and find other ways to save.)

One last note: You can see if the insurance on your workplace building will accept a claim for the damages your car sustained, or at least repay your deductible amount.  Though, if an “act of God” caused the roof to blow off instead of the building owner’s negligence, it’s very possible that such a claim would be denied.

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