Actual cash value equals the purchase price of your car minus depreciation and your deductible. So comprehensive coverage will pay an amount up to the actual cash value of your car to either repair or (in the case of a total loss) replace it. If the cost of repairs exceeds your car's ACV, your car insurance company will declare it a total loss and pay the sum of the car's ACV to help you replace it — unless you opt to retain salvage (i.e., keep the totaled car), in which case the salvage value will also be deducted from your payout.


If your car is worth more than $3,000 and/or is less than 10 years old, we'd also suggest both collision and comprehensive coverage, too. Our estimates suggest drivers can buy comprehensive and collision insurance for an average of $600 to $700 per year (however, the cost may be higher for some cars), so you would spend $3,000 to $3,500 in premiums over five years. If your car is currently worth less than $3,000, you will have spent more on insurance than your car is worth. You can obtain the estimated value of your car from sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds. Once you have both the value and a quote for coverage, you can determine whether collision insurance will be worth it.
Third-party claims are much more prevalent in “fault” states than in “no-fault” states. While no-fault generally require an injured party to first recover from their own insurance company, fault states have no such requirement. In fault states, if you sustain an injury to your person or damage to your vehicle in a car accident you can make a claim with “the other driver’s” insurance company -- provided they were at fault for the accident.
The Insurance Information Institute suggests that you take the amount you'd pay in one year for comprehensive and collision coverage, and multiply that number by 10. Is your car worth less than that number? Then comprehensive and collision coverage might not be a cost-effective option for you. In other words, you might want to talk to your agent about whether it makes sense to include these coverages on your car insurance policy.
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