Comprehensive is the portion of your physical damage coverage that covers events that are “other than collision.” So, if you purposely drove your vehicle on ice, for instance, to park and go ice fishing, your comprehensive coverage would pay for repair or replacement, assuming you have it.  A collision could possibly be used if your accident started with a collision on a roadway where your car was pushed onto the ice or your car flipped and ended up on the ice.

It’s possible that your car insurance policy might not cover this situation at all due to an exclusion for off-road recreational activity. If your policy says this, your insurer’s definition of this phrase would determine if driving on ice would be covered.

You should contact your insurer before driving or parking on ice. Verify with your insurer that your comprehensive coverage will cover your vehicle. And ask your car insurance company if the extraction of your vehicle will be covered. If you have to pay for this on your own, it can be pricey — $2,000 to $6,000 on average.

Don’t be surprised if once your car is retrieved if it’s found to be a total loss due to the water damage to the engine, electrical system, etc. If this is the case, you’ll receive actual cash value (ACV) for your vehicle instead of having it repaired.  The car would then be given a salvage title and go to your insurer.

If you had an older vehicle with only liability coverage on it and it fell through the ice, then you’d have no coverage and be personally responsible for the extraction of your vehicle and the repair (or disposal) of your vehicle.

— Penny Gusner contributed to this story.

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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.