Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is one of three major categories of protection. The others are collision and liability. Liability is often the only type of coverage legally required by states, but carrying comprehensive insurance covers your damages from non-collision events. Your comprehensive deductible is the amount you pay before your benefits kick in following a claim. Deductibles can range up to $1,000, but the Insurance Information Institute notes that the most common comprehensive policies have deductibles ranging from $100 to $300.
Finding the ideal deductible is something you typically work out with your insurance agent. Having a higher deductible hits your pocketbook harder when your vehicle is damaged, but you save money on premiums. With a lower deductible, your premiums are higher each month, but you have less risk of a major payout on a comprehensive claim. If you choose a higher deductible to save money on premiums, set aside enough money to cover the deductible amount in an emergency or have an alternative driving plan if you choose not to pay for it.
Understand what is covered before buying comprehensive protection. A thorough comprehensive policy covers all common causes of vehicle damage outside of collisions. For example, Allstate lists storms and natural disasters, vandalism and theft, broken windows and windshields, animal damage and falling objects as events covered in its comprehensive coverage. If you don't find one or more of these in a policy description, you can either find another policy or ask about a rider to cover specific types of events. Some insurers offer optional inclusions where you can leave less likely events out to save on premiums.
By taking the time to review policy options and talk to insurers before buying a car, you can save money on comprehensive coverage. In a February 2012 news release, the Insurance Information Institute advised car buyers to consider the safety records and theft statistics on car models. Those with safety concerns and higher likelihoods of theft or vandalism usually have higher premiums. While driving hot sports car is appealing, your premiums may not be. Check with your insurer about possible discounts over time if you are claim-free or for combined policies. You also could ask about glass policies that lower deductibles for windshield issues.
Comprehensive auto coverage is not legally required in all states. The Insurance Information Institute notes that most states require drivers to carry liability coverage, which pays for damage and medical costs of others you injure in an accident. With an older, less valuable car, you may not want to spend the money on comprehensive coverage. Some lenders do require certain types of policies to protect their own interests as lien holders on the vehicle. Ask your insurance agent about expensive stereo equipment or other gear you plan to keep in the car. Some providers don't cover personal items in the car, but your home insurance policy may cover valuables you take with you.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.