If you hit another car or a stationary object, such as a telephone pole (or if you roll over), you're covered by collision insurance. If an animal or non-stationary object, such as a fall from a tree, hits your car or is damaged by acts of vandalism, fire or a natural disaster, you will have comprehensive insurance coverage. Comprehensive physical damage coverage covers most other direct physical damage losses that you might incur, including theft. For example, damage to your car from a hailstorm will be covered by your comprehensive coverage.
For example, if you have an exclusive liability policy and you cause an accident, your car insurance won't pay for the repair of damage to your vehicle. While some call them “collision insurance” and “comprehensive insurance,” these options aren't individual policies, but coverage options that you can add to an existing car insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage can help pay for situations such as broken glass in a car, repairing the car after colliding with an animal, damage caused by a fire, and damage caused by fallen objects. Collision coverage could pay if you hit another car or object, or if someone else hits your car and you don't have insurance.
All insurance products are governed by the terms of the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as coverage approval, premiums, fees and charges) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the insurance insurer. If your car is old and not worth much, you may decide that comprehensive and collision insurance isn't worth it. Having a comprehensive policy may provide coverage for some physical damage scenarios, but you won't have coverage if your car is damaged after hitting another car or object. In some cases, the collision can also repair your car if someone hits you and you don't have insurance or if you are hit by a driver who is on the run.
Liability-only car insurance means that you only have financial protection for the other party if you cause injuries or property damage in an accident where you are at fault. Full-coverage car insurance generally means that you have financial protection for your vehicle in the event of a covered claim. If the total of your car were total, the auto insurance company would only pay the fair market value minus any existing damage and your deductible. For example, if you hit a car in a parking lot, the damage to your car will be paid for under your collision coverage.
When requesting car insurance quotes, it can be useful to compare the different levels of deductibles to see how they affect your overall premium.