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Let's use the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as an example to illustrate the differences between collision and comprehensive. Within that storm, let's consider two events that might have happened: 1) a heavy tree branch fell on your car, or 2) you swerved to avoid a falling tree branch and wound up crashing into a tree. In the first event, you had no control over when or why a tree branch would fall on your car. This kind of accident would get reimbursed under your comprehensive policy. In the second situation, you were driving the car and ultimately swerved into the tree, which makes it a collision, and collision insurance therefore pays for the damages. Events like the hypothetical ones stated above are why it's important to differentiate between the two types of coverage.
Comprehensive insurance is commonly confused with collision. They both insure your car but cover different events. Collision covers car accidents, and comprehensive covers events out of your control. Think of it like this: Collision is colliding with something else (other than animals). Comprehensive is basically all other events. Accidents with animals are covered by comprehensive (and not collision) because these accidents are considered out of your control.
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.
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.
Susan was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at her family cottage when suddenly she hit a deer. Thankfully she was okay, but her car was destroyed. She called the police to make an accident report, then called her insurance worried that this might not be fully covered. Her insurance representative reassured her, she has comprehensive insurance, so the damage would be covered under her policy.
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Making a third-party car accident claim can be as simple as writing a letter. If you believe you have a valid third-party car accident claim, contact the responsible insurance company via telephone as soon as possible to inform them of the claim (you should have taken down the other driver's insurance policy information at the car accident scene). This is called “giving notice” and is often overlooked. Proper, prompt notice can mean the difference between recovery and walking away empty-handed.
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The price of car insurance can vary greatly between states. One company may be expensive in Utah, but inexpensive in New York. In some states, a small, local company could even offer the best price. Below, click through to your state to see which company and cities have the least expensive car insurance based on the numerous studies we've conducted.
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.

Mark was driving on the highway and all of a sudden a rock hit the windshield and created a crack. As soon as Mark got home, he called his insurance representative and was told that he didn't need to worry, he had comprehensive coverage which may help to repair or replace a broken or shattered windshield, he may only have to pay his deductible and the rest would be covered.


Susan was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at her family cottage when suddenly she hit a deer. Thankfully she was okay, but her car was destroyed. She called the police to make an accident report, then called her insurance worried that this might not be fully covered. Her insurance representative reassured her, she has comprehensive insurance, so the damage would be covered under her policy.

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.
We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.
Susan was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at her family cottage when suddenly she hit a deer. Thankfully she was okay, but her car was destroyed. She called the police to make an accident report, then called her insurance worried that this might not be fully covered. Her insurance representative reassured her, she has comprehensive insurance, so the damage would be covered under her policy.

We identified the auto insurance companies with the cheapest rates, but, as with anything, you want to be sure you are getting high quality service from your insurance company. Reliable car insurance companies are critical in ensuring a smooth customer-insurer relationship. There are a few factors we deemed most important to evaluate a company on which affect policy holders' satisfaction, such as, the average shopping experience, customer service, ability to resolve complaints, and quote filing process.

Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we personally found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won't see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver among others.
Policies typically use vague language when referring to acts of terrorism, but they are generally insured by the comprehensive portion of your policy. For example, if there is an act of terror and you need to make a claim on your car, that can only be made if you have comprehensive coverage. Since some circumstances are out of our control, comprehensive insurance is certainly important to have in your policy.
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