Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.
Emily parked her car on the street outside a friend's building, during her visit the weather got bad, and she decided to stay the night instead of head home in the storm. The next morning when Emily went to leave she noticed the roof and hood of her car had huge welts in it. She figured it must have been caused by hail during the storm. She contacted her insurance company and they reassured her the loss would be taken care of by the comprehensive insurance coverage she selected when buying her policy although she would need to pay her $500 insurance deductible first.
Safe Auto Group Agency, Inc and/or its affiliates (“Safe Auto”) is located and operated exclusively in the United States of America. Safe Auto does not offer goods and/or services in any language of an European county, does not deal in any European currencies, and does not underwrite risks for or issue policies to individuals or companies located in the European Union.
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.

How much you pay for comprehensive insurance coverage is determined differently than for basic coverages like property damage and personal injury liability. With those coverages, the amount of protection you buy dictates the cost. The cost of comprehensive insurance coverage, on the other hand, varies depending on the deductible you select. The higher the deductible, the less you'll spend on your premium — but the more you'll spend out of pocket if you file a claim.

In third-party car accident claims where fault is in dispute, lengthy investigations can be the norm. Insurance adjusters will investigate the claim thoroughly, often hiring outside parties to conduct interviews, take statement and review any and all records (medical or otherwise) pertaining to the case. You may even need to attend an independent medical examination. The adjuster will then make his or her own determination as to fault and the settlement value of the case.
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.
No states require comprehensive coverage, but those who finance or lease their car will probably find that their lender or lessee requires it. Lenders and lessees are the official owners of the vehicle, so they want to make sure they're adequately protected in case of an incident. For the same reasons, you'll rarely be able to buy comprehensive insurance without also purchasing bodily injury liability and collision coverages.
Detail how the accident occurred, the injuries or damages you’ve sustained and (if applicable) the dollar amount you are claiming. Gather relevant records related to the car accident, be they medical bills, repair estimates, or police reports. Give the insurance adjuster all the reasons in the world to pay out on your claim. You may wish to retain an attorney to assist you with making the claim if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, or if things get particularly contentious.
One of the most common third-party claims in no-fault states is the “mini-tort” claim. In no-fault states such as Michigan, “mini-tort” laws allow you to claim a small, statutorily-mandated amount of money from “the other driver’s” insurance company. Most no-fault insurers will require you to collect the mini-tort amount to offset whatever they are obligated to pay. Another common instance of a third-party claim in a no-fault state is an employment-related claim. Injuries or damages sustained in the course of your job or in a company vehicle often result in third-party claims.
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver's premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.
Look at cheap car insurance companies and see if they can provide free perks like our 24-hour claims service, an 800 number with a real person at the other end, our On Your Side Review (a free consultation to see if you have the insurance you need and the discounts you deserve) and Nationwide®AutoWatch®, which lets you monitor your covered auto repair online.

If you have paid off your car, comprehensive coverage is optional. It may be a good idea to find out the Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle. Would you be able to pay that amount to repair or replace your vehicle if it were stolen or damaged in an accident? If you can't afford to pay much out of pocket, then buying optional coverages, like comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, may be a smart investment.
×