Comprehensive coverage for your car: we answer your questions

You’re hunting for a good deal on car insurance and you’ve come across several websites suggesting you should look into comprehensive coverage. You lean back in your chair, wondering to yourself…what the heck is that (is my normal policy not comprehensive)? How is it different from regular old car insurance?

It’s more straightforward than you think once you take away all the insurance jargon!

Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle against incidents, not accidents. You can remember this pretty easily by calling it “other than collision” coverage. What counts as an incident? Incidents can include pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, but you can see a more detailed list below.

What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?

Comprehensive coverage includes a much longer list of potential incidents that collision coverage doesn’t. Remember that collision coverage is for damage due to contact between your vehicle and another vehicle, or (depending on your policy) it could cover a collision with other objects like street lights, fences, trees, or buildings.

Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, covers other kinds of perils:

  • Theft.
  • Fire.
  • Vandalism.
  • Natural Disasters.
  • Falling objects (think trees in a snow storm).
  • Weather damage (like hail resulting in a cracked windshield insurance claim).
  • Damage done by animals (watch out for deer and moose!).
  • Damage from riots, strikes, demonstrations, and other forms of civil disorder.

It’s important to remember that medical expenses, legal fees, and lost income due to an accident are not covered by comprehensive coverage.

 

 

What’s the difference between collision and comprehensive auto insurance?

Got into a car accident and the vehicle’s damaged? That’s where your collision coverage comes in. The main difference between these two types of auto insurance is what they cover.

Collision and comprehensive are similar in other ways, so it’s easy to get them mixed up. They both have coverage limits, they both have deductibles, and they are both optional when you own your car outright. Depending on your policy, the policy could be paid either based on your vehicle’s actual cash value or the repair cost. That’s decided when the policy is made, so read it carefully!

Can you have collision coverage without comprehensive?

If you own your own vehicle, you can choose whether you want collision coverage or comprehensive coverage. You do not need to have both of them unless you are leasing or financing—that’s when you typically need both.

 

What is the comprehensive coverage deductible?

The meaning of an insurance deductible is an amount that you pay out of pocket during a claim, usually the first $500 or the first $1,000 on the damage. Some insurers let you choose a $0 deductible, too, but that will result in a higher monthly rate compared to the $500 and $1,000 options. You’ll choose it when you purchase your comprehensive coverage, which is how car insurance works.

Increments like $500, $1000, and $1,500 are typical options.

 

 

Is there a limit to your coverage?

Glad you asked! Yes there is a limit, and it’s usually the cash value or replacement cost of your vehicle (different policies would use one or the other). Keep in mind that although your comprehensive coverage limit and deductible are separate from your collision coverage, “coverage limits” tend to apply to the policy as a whole. That means that reaching the coverage limit through the collision limit or the comprehensive coverage limit would effectively be the same.

Is comprehensive coverage in Ontario mandatory?

No, comprehensive coverage isn’t mandatory. It counts as optional coverage, which is only o1 of 5 parts of an auto insurance policy.

Third-party liability insurance is part of mandatory coverage for Canadian drivers, but not comprehensive coverage, which is optional. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to own, though! We do have a lot of snow, trees, and deer.

What’s the difference between liability and comprehensive insurance?

Third-party liability insurance is mandatory in Canada as it covers damage to others and their vehicles. That covers the legal costs of being sued, in case you caused damage to another person or someone’s property. Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it hits another vehicle, while comprehensive coverage is for other miscellaneous things that can hurt your vehicle (even while parked).

 

Should I get comprehensive coverage?

Having extra peace of mind (and money) when things go wrong is never a bad thing, but you should really think about getting comprehensive coverage if:

  • You have a newer vehicle with a pricey blue book value that would be difficult to replace out-of-pocket.
  • You live in an area that is prone to natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, and ice storms.
  • You drive in the country where the likelihood of hitting an animal is much higher.
  • You live in a neighbourhood where theft and vandalism are common.
  • You have many mature trees on your property which could come down in a wind storm.
  • You are not a high risk driver making the coverage even more wallet-friendly (lucky you!)

Didn’t see your question here? You can chat with one of our team members to get the right car insurance option for you (and your wallet.)

Seriously, what else can you do in 3 minutes?

Boil half an egg?

You might like this stuff, too.

Writing off cars: how it works and why it’s not good

Writing off cars: how it works and why it’s not good

Getting into a car accident is traumatic enough, but then in the aftermath you have to deal with tow trucks, insurance claims, temporary transportation, potential demerit points, and whether or not the car is a write off. It can all be a bit overwhelming.  Depending...

read more
Insurance premiums explained (in plain English)

Insurance premiums explained (in plain English)

We get a lot of questions about insurance premiums and how they work. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is overflowing with jargon, complex policies, and conditional answers—to the point where it’s just hard to navigate. We’re on a bit of a mission to turn that...

read more