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What is Comprehensive and Collision Insurance? The Informative Answer You (Actually) Want

Read time: 4 minutes

When you hear someone use the term “comp and collision,” they are referring to two separate insurance coverages available for personal auto insurance policies: Comprehensive coverage (also referred to as Other Than Collision coverage) and Collision coverage.


What is Comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance helps pay for damages to your vehicle caused by factors other than an accidental collision, such as fire, vandalism, weather (hail, flooding, wind, lightning, etc.), theft, impact with an animal, etc. (Exclusions may apply.)

Here are some examples of when Comprehensive insurance may apply:

  • Your vehicle is damaged in a hail storm (other damage sources may include flooding, wind and lightning)
  • Someone vandalizes your vehicle by slashing your tires and breaking all the windows
  • You hit an animal with your car on your way to work
  • A storm causes a tree to fall on your vehicle
  • Someone steals your vehicle
  • Your neighbor’s brush fire gets out of control and sets your vehicle on fire
An illustration of a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt in a circle over a car, a fallen light pole on a car, flames coming out of a truck engine, hail hitting a car and a deer hitting a car.

Comprehensive insurance coverage does not cover your vehicle from all types of damage. This is a common misconception.

For example, Comprehensive insurance does not cover damages resulting from:

  • Getting hit by another vehicle
  • Accidentally hitting another vehicle or object
  • Vehicle upset, such as accidentally rolling your vehicle

These damages are typically covered by Collision insurance. (Exclusions may apply.)

Read more: Making the Auto Insurance Switch


What is Collision insurance coverage?

Collision insurance helps cover the cost of loss or damage to your vehicle when it is involved in an accidental collision with another vehicle or object. (Exclusions may apply.)

Collision insurance coverage is exactly what it sounds like. It covers you when your vehicle collides with an object, or another car. It generally provides coverage for situations where you are the one being hit or where you accidentally hit another vehicle.

Even situations where your car is parked and hit by another vehicle or by an object on the ground is typically covered by Collision insurance.

Here are some examples of when Collision insurance coverage may apply:
  • Another vehicle hitting your vehicle
  • Your vehicle accidentally hitting another vehicle
  • Accidentally backing your vehicle into a pole or other object
  • Damage from another vehicle backing into your vehicle, even if you are parked at the time
  • Bottoming out your vehicle
  • Accidentally rolling your vehicle over an object, or rolling your vehicle

Read more: You Just Got Into A Car Accident. Now What?



An illustration of two cars colliding, a car backing into another car, a car rolled onto its side and a car hitting a tree.

What is the biggest difference between Comprehensive and Collision insurance?

The main difference between Collision insurance and Comprehensive insurance are the situations that each covers.

Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle for situations outside of an accidental collision such as, damage from weather (hail, flood, wind, lightning, etc.), vandalism, theft, fire, damage caused by an animal and in the rare event that a light pole hits your vehicle. 

Collision insurance covers a loss if your vehicle hits an object such as a light pole or another vehicle, or if another vehicle hits your vehicle.

What do I need?

This will depend on a few factors. These are great topics to discuss with your local independent Auto-Owners agent. They are experts trained in helping you find the best coverage.

An illustration of a fallen light pole on a car at a stop light and a car hitting a light pole.

A few things to consider when deciding if you want Comprehensive, Collision or both coverages on your personal auto insurance policy include:

  • What is the age and condition of your vehicle?
  • Is your vehicle under a lease or loan?
  • How much will it cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is totaled?
  • Do you park your vehicle outside?
  • Do you have a long commute?
  • Do you have an inexperienced driver in the household who may be more likely to be involved in an accident?

Read more: Car Insurance and Rental Cars: Everything You Need to Know


How do I know what personal auto insurance policy is best for me?

Now that you know more about the coverages available, you may be wondering what policy will be best for you. If you’re shopping for personal auto insurance, you likely already know that there are a lot of options out there. Most auto insurance policies offer similar coverages and options.

The areas where these products really stand out are the companies behind them. So, once you determine what coverages you want, do some research on the insurance companies that offer them.

When comparing auto insurance companies, here are some things to consider:

  • How long has the insurance company been in business? Look for an insurance provider that has been around for many generations. This likely means they have a wide range of products and knowledge in the industry.
  • Are they financially stable? Check the AM Best ratings to find out. AM Best is the industry standard for determining an insurance company’s financial strength and stability.
  • How is their customer service? Insurance is a service-driven industry. Evaluate if the company prioritizes claims service. Research to see if the company has received any consumer awards from a respected magazine or an industry research service like J.D. Power.
  • Do they offer  local claims service? When your agent turns your claim over to a claim representative, it is more convenient if that person is local too.

So, if you still find yourself asking if you need Comprehensive and/or Collision insurance, it’s a good time to call your local, independent insurance agent to help you navigate all of your personal auto insurance coverage options.


*Products referenced may not be approved/available in all states. Limitations and conditions may apply. Premium will be based on benefits chosen and policy rates available at time of application.

Disclaimer: This article is not expert advice. The analysis of coverage is in general terms and is superseded in all respects by the Insuring Agreements, Endorsements, Exclusions, Terms and Conditions of the Policy. Some of the coverage mentioned in this material may not be applicable in all states or may have to be modified to conform to applicable state law. Some coverages may have been eliminated or modified since the publishing of this material. Discounts may not be available in all states. Limitations and conditions may apply. Premiums will be based on benefits chosen. Please check with your local Independent Auto-Owners Insurance Agent for details."

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