The Importance of Collision Coverage and What it Means When You Get Into an Accident
- December 1, 2022 |
- Car Accidents
Not every insurance claim is due to a car accident, which can beg the question of what is covered by collision and comprehensive auto insurance.
When you think of auto insurance, you likely think of a car accident — covering medical bills and perhaps the cost to repair your vehicle. But your vehicle can be damaged in incidents that don’t involve a crash, such as a fire, a hailstorm, or an act of vandalism. And without the right insurance, you may not be covered for these disastrous incidents.
That’s why it’s important to know what collision auto insurance does for you and when you might need comprehensive auto insurance. In today’s blog, we’ll break down the difference between the two and what they can do for you combined.
What Is Covered By Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance?
Simply put, your collision auto insurance covers damage to your automobile that comes as the result of a collision. Comprehensive auto insurance covers damage to your automobile as a result of anything else. With both types of insurance, you’ll be fully covered in the event of:
- Collisions — both your fault and otherwise
- Natural disasters
- An animal hitting your car.
These are separate forms of auto insurance, but it’s always recommended to buy them together. When you have collision and comprehensive auto insurance, you are covered in the event of both predictable accidents and the unexpected. With collision and comprehensive auto insurance, you’re far less likely to be saddled with sudden repair expenses.
Differences Between Collision and Comprehensive Car Insurance
Although it’s best to buy collision and comprehensive auto insurance policies together, they are separate types of coverage and don’t have much overlap. If you only have one form of car insurance, your accident coverage may be much more limited than you realize. Let’s break down the differences between collision and comprehensive car insurance.
Collision Car Insurance
This is the most traditional form of car insurance. Despite being the most common form of transportation, driving still comes with a significant amount of risk: 13 car accidents happen every minute within the United States.
Often, this means colliding with another driver. Sometimes, however, collisions can occur when you hit a tree or a pole, when your car rolls over, or even when your car “collides” with a pothole. This is what collision car insurance is designed to help. Getting into a car crash is devastating enough, but with collision car insurance, you will at least know that your medical or repair costs are covered.
Comprehensive Car Insurance
True to the name, comprehensive car insurance covers, well, anything else. Comprehensive car insurance is for those freak accidents you never expect to happen, such as:
- A tree falling on your car;
- Damage from a fire;
- An animal jumping out and colliding with your car;
- Natural disaster or heavy storms such as hail;
- Vandalism or auto theft.
Even if these situations catch you off-guard emotionally, they need not catch you off-guard financially. Comprehensive car insurance will make sure that when disaster strikes, you can still cover the repair costs for your automobile.
Insurance companies are sticklers for following the exact wording of their policy, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the examples of covered instances laid out in your comprehensive car insurance policy. It can also help to have our legal team at your side when dealing with the insurance to ensure that you aren’t caught in any bad-faith loopholes.
What Is Not Covered In Comprehensive Car Insurance?
There are a couple of instances that are not covered under comprehensive car insurance. Again, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the specific terms in your insurance policy, so you are not caught by surprise when you try to contact your insurance company. As a general rule, the two things that comprehensive car insurance does not cover are damages from hitting another vehicle or object and damages due to ordinary wear and tear.
Damages From Hitting Another Vehicle or Object
Hitting another vehicle or object on the road constitutes a collision and thus falls under collision car insurance. Since collision insurance is the most traditional form of auto insurance, most companies expect that if you have comprehensive auto insurance, you will have a separate policy for collision insurance. This is why it’s important to have both collision car insurance and comprehensive car insurance. Without both, you are leaving your vehicle unprotected.
Damages Due to Ordinary Wear and Tear
The second category of damages not covered in comprehensive car insurance is ordinary wear and tear. No car is built to last forever. As time goes on, your seatbelt may become looser, your tires can get worn down, and brakes and windshield wipers, for example, can start to stick. It’s important to keep all of these elements of your car in shape in order to drive safely. But it is not the responsibility of the insurance company to cover repair costs from ordinary wear and tear. (If, however, these features begin to wear down or malfunction while the car is still fairly new, you may be able to repair or replace them within the car’s warranty.)
What Role Does “Fault” Play In Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance?
In most accident cases, “fault” is an important consideration. It may even determine who pays for the car accident. However, there are some exceptions to this rule where comprehensive auto insurance comes in, and where the specific state laws of Massachusetts rule.
When it comes to comprehensive auto insurance, your insurance company should foot the bill regardless of who is at fault. Let’s say you hit a deer on the road one night. Even if the accident could have been prevented by more careful driving, comprehensive auto insurance will cover the costs of repairs. You do not have to prove that you were not at fault in the accident.
For the most part, when it comes to collision auto insurance, the driver at fault for the accident must pay the bill. If you collide with another vehicle because you turned onto the street too soon or failed to use proper signaling, your insurance will have to cover the damages. If you collide with another vehicle because the other driver was speeding or driving recklessly, their insurance will eventually pay, however it is recommended you have your car repairs with your own insurance company. Your company will eventually be reimbursed from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Massachusetts, however, is one of 12 no-fault states in the country. In a no-fault state, no matter who is at fault for the accident, your insurance is required to pay for your damages up to your policy limit. Beyond your policy limit, you may need to pay out of pocket if the accident was your fault. If the accident was not your fault, there are some instances in which you can sue the other party, particularly if your damages exceed $2,000.
How To File a Collision or Comprehensive Auto Insurance Claim
When you are in an accident, the first thing to do is to make sure that you and any passengers or other drivers are safe. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911. You may also need to call to file an accident report. From there, it’s time to start documenting the incident.
Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you may have suffered. Take pictures of the scene. When you get home, review your insurance policy to make sure that the situation falls under either your collision or your comprehensive auto insurance. You may also need to contact your attorney to let them know you’ll be dealing with the insurance company. This can be a taxing process, and it’s essential to have our legal team on your side.
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can to start the process of filing your claim. However, you will have information that you need to provide first. Get an estimate of how much the repairs will cost so that you can let the insurance company know.
If the accident was due to the negligence or actions of the other driver, contact our legal team. We can discuss whether or not you have a case to sue the other driver and help get the damages you need. Cava Law Firm will work to get the maximum compensation possible in your case.
Winning is NO Accident When You Have the Right Attorney At Your Side
Our attorneys, Christopher F. Cava and Jennifer L. Cava-Foreman, have decades of combined experience handling the legal side of accident cases. We fight for our clients with compassion, understanding, and determination. We know how to deal with insurance companies and courts alike.
Need help getting your compensation for your collision or comprehensive car insurance? Cava Law Firm has your back. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation: (413) 737-3430 or (413) 781-CAVA (2282).