Hail damage on car hood

Comprehensive car insurance is part of full coverage, and it can also be called “other than collision coverage.”

To file a hail damage claim, hurricane damage claim or tornado damage claim for your car, you must have comprehensive coverage.

Keep reading to learn all about comprehensive car insurance coverage.

What is the meaning of comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance is optional car insurance that covers damage to your car from incidents other than collisions, such as:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Glass damage (such as a broken windshield)
  • Damage sustained from hitting an animal or bird
  • Damage from falling objects or missiles
  • Fire
  • Floodwaters
  • Severe weather damage

You need to obtain comprehensive and collision coverage to have physical damage or “full coverage” on your car. Collision will cover you if your car hits or is hit by another vehicle or object. Some insurance companies will not offer comprehensive coverage unless you also carry collision.

How much does comprehensive coverage cost?

The average annual cost nationwide for comprehensive coverage is $192, according to a rate analysis by CarInsurance.com. That’s not much to pay to ensure you get the actual cash value, or ACV, for your car — minus the deductible — if your car is totaled. ACV is how much your car is worth on the market before it sustained damages.

Enter your state in the search field in the table below to see your location’s average comprehensive insurance cost per year. You’ll see the following states are the cheapest, coming in at $100 or below, or about $90 less than the national average:

  • Maine
  • Washington
  • New Hampshire
  • Hawaii
  • Oregon
  • Virginia

The following states are the most expensive at about $400, or about $200 more than the national average:

  • South Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
Annual cost of comprehensive car insurance in each state
State Average Annual Comprehensive Rate
New Hampshire$88
New Jersey$102
North Carolina$116
Rhode Island$120
New York$145
West Virginia$175
New Mexico$203
South Carolina$310
North Dakota$333
South Dakota$461

Is comprehensive coverage mandatory?

No state legally requires comprehensive insurance. Most states require property damage liability for your insurer to pay (up to your limits) if you damage other people’s vehicles or property. Still, states do not require you to carry coverage to pay for damages to your car.

But if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, your lienholder can (and usually will) require you to carry this coverage and may mandate the deductible amount.

If you want to lower your insurance premium by raising your deductible while your car is still financed, check with your lienholder to see if they will allow a higher deductible than what you currently carry.

What is a comprehensive deductible?

A comprehensive deductible is an amount you pay before your insurance company pays out on a claim you file.

The value of the car, your driving record, the deductible you choose and repair costs determine the cost of comprehensive coverage. Choose a comprehensive deductible from $100 to $2,500 (deductible choices vary according to state laws and insurance company guidelines). Most car owners choose a deductible of between $250 and $1,000.

The higher the deductible, the less expensive your premium will be because the insurer is taking less risk of paying for claims. Take your finances into account when choosing a deductible. Saving money is only worthwhile if you have savings to cover the deductible in the event of a claim. 

Deductibles are due per incident, so you must pay your deductible amount every time you make a comprehensive claim. The exception is if you live in a state where laws require the deductible to be waived for windshield claims.

What happens if I don’t have comprehensive coverage?

Without comprehensive coverage, you cannot make a car insurance claim if your vehicle receives damage that is considered “other than collision” damage. This leaves you personally responsible for paying for the repairs unless someone else is found liable for the damages.

With a new, high-value car, you will want this added protection for your vehicle, whether you have financed it or not. If your car is stolen soon after you buy it, you don’t want to be out the cost of a replacement vehicle. 

If you have an older car with a low value (without a lease or loan), you may not want comprehensive since the small compensation amount may not be worth the premium paid out.

When should I file a comprehensive claim?

Typically, comprehensive claims won’t raise your rates. In cases when it does, it’s not by much. CarInsurance.com’s rate analysis show’s the average increase to your rates after filing a comprehensive claim is under $40. Still, you shouldn’t file a claim if the repair cost is lower or near your deductible amount. For instance, if you have damages that cost $450 to repair and your deductible is $500, filing a claim may not be worthwhile, as you’re just saving $50.

Comprehensive claims will not raise your rates unless you file multiple claims quickly. Filing multiple claims, especially within six to 12 months of each other, could cause your insurance rates to rise, regardless of the type of claim.

Is comprehensive insurance worth it?

Comprehensive coverage is generally worth it if your car is less than 10 years old. But as your car ages, and the value decreases, the benefit of comprehensive coverage dwindles because it only pays out up to the value of your car, minus your deductible.

At some point, having comprehensive might not make sense because you’re paying more for coverage than you would get if you filed a claim. Do a quick calculation to see if your rate and deductible total more than the value of your car. If it does, comprehensive isn’t worth it.

Here’s how to figure out if comprehensive coverage makes financial sense for you:

  • Find the value of your car from Kelley Blue Book or another pricing guide using your vehicle make and model, year, mileage and other variables.
  • Subtract the amount of your deductible from your car’s value. You could drop the coverage if you feel comfortable paying that amount out of pocket. Then subtract the cost of your coverage from that amount.
  • If the number is negative, paying for comprehensive is no longer worth it. If you get a small number, it might be worth keeping, knowing that any comprehensive claim payout won’t be huge. If you get a substantial number, comprehensive is worth it.

How much is the average comprehensive claim?

The average amount paid for a comprehensive claim was $2,033 in 2018, up 4.4% annualized from $1,440 in 2010, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC) data.

Comprehensive claims payouts vary significantly among states because they are often weather-related. Looking at the three claim years combined, the average amount paid for comprehensive claims ranged from a high of $3,130 in Oklahoma to a low of $1,015 in Utah.

Is comprehensive insurance full coverage?

No. “Full coverage” means you have more than just liability insurance and comprises comprehensive, liability and collision.

— Michelle Megna contributed to this article.

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Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.