Understanding the Differences between Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

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The insurance game is all about the assumption of risk. Between the policyholder and the insurer, neither wants to bear too much risk of loss – and each will negotiate its position accordingly. When it comes to selecting coverage, each driver must decide how much financial risk to take on. Below, we discuss the differences between comprehensive and collision coverage – along with an explanation of how both come into play in the event of an accident.

Collision Coverage

As the name suggests, collision coverage helps cover the costs to repair a vehicle following impact with a stationary object or another vehicle. This type of coverage applies only to damages to the policyholder’s vehicle; it does not address damage to the other vehicle or surrounding property. Keep in mind, this coverage also does not cover personal injury liability in the event the other driver suffers any injuries.

Comprehensive Coverage

Insurance companies often call comprehensive coverage insurance “other than collision” coverage, which – of course – covers damages that the collision policy does not cover. Examples of collision-related damages that your comprehensive policy may have to pick up include:

  • Damage caused by severe weather or natural disasters (e.g., hail, tornadoes or earthquake)
  • Explosions, fires or vandalism
  • Impacts with nature (e.g., deer or elk)
  • Falling objects


Generally speaking, comprehensive coverage protects drivers from the costs of repairing a vehicle for any issues other than those directly related to a collision with another vehicle or object.

Can I buy one or the other?

If a driver leases a vehicle, it is often required that the driver carry both forms of coverage in order to fully protect the asset from the loss and damage. However, for those who own their vehicles, determining the appropriate level of coverage depends on the value of the vehicle, the driver’s habits and safety record, and the extent of risk the driver wishes to assume.

In the event of a hurricane, for instance, collision coverage would only cover for damages incurred from a driver colliding with a pole due to poor visibility, but not for damage to the vehicle’s body caused by a falling tree.

Contact Max Myers Law, PLLC today.

If you were recently involved in an auto accident or have questions about your obligations under your current policy, call car accident attorney Max Meyers at 425-399-7000 or fill out our online contact form today. 

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.