A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Apr 29, 2022

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Important facts to know...

  • Comprehensive insurance is an optional type of policy that a driver can get that covers physical damage to your own vehicle that is a result of something other than a collision
  • Do not be fooled by the name of comprehensive insurance because it does not mean that you are fully covered if you are driving someone else’s car
  • If you have comprehensive coverage, the repair bills for any damage to your car would be covered if you hit a deer, had hail damage from a storm, or had your car vandalized or stolen
  • Your specific car insurance policy will detail exactly what you are covered for in terms of driving another person’s car that is not listed on your own policy
  • A good way to think of most comprehensive insurance coverage is that it follows the car instead of the person who is driving the covered car

Comprehensive insurance is helpful coverage for vehicles that you own in the event that one of them becomes damaged by something other than an accident with another car.

While every auto insurance policy has its own specific terms of coverage, a good way to conceptualize comprehensive auto insurance is that it is used to cover the vehicles rather than the drivers. An insurer will explain this at the time of purchase, but sometimes it can be confusing.

If someone else uses your car with your permission, comprehensive coverage will kick in for any damage to the car, such as an object falling on it.

However, if you drive someone else’s car, you will likely not have protection under comprehensive coverage.

If you’re looking for the best rates for comprehensive coverage, start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code above!

What does a comprehensive insurance policy cover?

Comprehensive auto insurance does cover many incidents involving your car, but it does not cover absolutely everything, which is why its name can sometimes be deceiving. Even though it’s called ‘comprehensive’, it doesn’t provide things like collision coverage.

As always, the best way to know exactly how you are covered is to read and understand the terms of your own auto insurance policy because each individual policy is different in some regard.

The main events that comprehensive auto insurance will cover involve all kinds of damage to your car that is not the result of an actual accident.

For example, you could find that your car has been vandalized and needs to be repaired. For this situation, you would file a claim under your comprehensive auto insurance with your insurer so that you can have the car repaired. This also applies if you were to hit an animal.

Another common situation in which comprehensive auto insurance can help you out is if your car is damaged due to severe weather.

Hail storms have the potential to crack windshields and do major damage to the exterior of your car.

You could file a claim under your comprehensive auto insurance no matter who was driving your car when it was damaged by severe weather.

Comprehensive coverage also protects your car from theft. Well, it provides you with the ability to file a claim – it won’t actually stop the theft from occurring!

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What should you do when you are driving someone else’s car?

If you know in advance that you will need to borrow someone else’s car, it is a good idea to consult your auto insurance policy to see how any damage would be handled in the event that you were responsible for it.

Oftentimes, you will see that this type of damage would not be covered by a comprehensive auto insurance policy.

Comprehensive auto insurance is used to protect the car itself and not the actual driver.

You should also check with the owner of the car to find out what auto insurance coverage he or she has in place. Oftentimes, any damage caused by a person driving that covered car will be covered by the owner’s insurance policy.

It is always best to know this ahead of time so that you are not actually driving without insurance for that car.

How can you better understand your comprehensive auto insurance?

One of the important things to remember about your comprehensive auto insurance is that this type of policy almost certainly comes with a deductible that you have to pay.

For quick reference, you can probably find the amount of your deductible for a comprehensive auto insurance on your proof of insurance card.

The advantage of having a higher deductible for your comprehensive auto insurance is that your monthly payments will be much lower.

The tradeoff is that you assume more of the risk in the event that a claim is filed, which means that you do not need to be responsible for as much of the premium right off the bat.

When you are making the decision about the amount of a deductible that you can afford, remember that if you set the deductible amount too high off the bat, this could be a huge problem if you end up having to file a claim.

While a big deductible will certainly get you a lower premium, the auto insurance company is probably hoping that you will never actually file a claim because your expenses would be too high off the bat to get your car repaired.

If you have a newer car, this could be a big problem because you have a long time to go for making sure that your car is in good working condition.

How can you manage the cost of your comprehensive auto insurance policy?

One way to manage your deductible when you have comprehensive coverage is to evaluate it over the life of your car. As your car gets older or if you are close to getting rid of it for a newer model, you should definitely consider increasing the deductible.

In some cases, you may be able to get rid of your comprehensive auto insurance coverage altogether because it is no longer necessary to protect the physical condition of an older car that is about to be sold or traded in.

One thing that you should be cautious of with a comprehensive auto insurance policy is that it can often be a requirement for financing or leasing a car.

In these cases, you need to read all contracts that you have signed with the car dealership or the lender very carefully to make sure that you are not out of compliance.

If comprehensive auto insurance is a requirement, then you need to maintain it until you officially own the car.

Even if you cannot use a comprehensive auto insurance policy to cover you when driving someone else’s car, it is still very useful coverage to have.

If you are in the market for auto insurance quotes, you should ask to find out what the cost is for adding comprehensive auto insurance to your policy.

When requesting quotes online, you can easily contact the insurance company and find out how much this coverage will cost for you.

While this policy covers different types of scenarios than a comprehensive auto policy, the same requirements may be true for a collision policy.

A collision policy works the same way that a comprehensive auto policy does, except that it covers damage to a vehicle from an actual accident.

Collision is an important form of coverage because it provides you protection regardless of whether you caused the accident.

The coverage that you get will be according to the limits that you set for the policy, which means you need to be ready to cover your own repair bills for any damage that goes over the policy limits of your comprehensive auto policy.

In addition to the coverage limitations of a comprehensive auto policy, a collision policy also follows the vehicle itself instead of the driver.

If you are driving with coverage from a comprehensive auto policy or a collision policy, you need to be aware that these two policies probably only apply to protect your own listed vehicles in the event of damage.

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What is the bottom line on driving someone else’s car with your comprehensive insurance policy?

If you know that you are going to be driving someone else’s car, it is not a good idea to rely on your own comprehensive auto insurance coverage in the event of an accident.

This type of coverage usually follows the car itself rather than the policyholder. Remember, comprehensive coverage is for the vehicle, not the person inside of it.

The good news is that your own car would be covered by a comprehensive auto policy if someone else had permission to drive it and was involved in some sort of damage.

You should check with the owner of the car that you are driving to see what types of coverage he or she has in place and whether you would be protected for an accident. The last thing you want to do is get into an accident in their car and not be able to file an insurance claim that would protect you and the car. There can be even worse case scenarios, where your friend may end up paying more for their auto insurance premium because someone was driving their car without being covered.

Start comparison shopping today for the best auto insurance rates! Enter your ZIP code below to begin!