Difference between comprehensive and collision insurance

Motor insurance coverage can be different in different countries. Usually, it is designed keeping in mind the requirements of the country. It can be based on the traffic, accidents, or in some cases, the value of the insurance (sum insured). There are primarily two main types of vehicle insurance in India — Third-party Liability Plan and Comprehensive Insurance Plan. However, countries such as the USA have classified the Comprehensive plan further into two types. These are Comprehensive and Collision insurance.

In this article, we explain the difference between Comprehensive and Collision insurance and the meaning of these two vehicle insurance coverages and what it means for your Indian motor insurance policy.

Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Insurance
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What is Comprehensive car insurance?
As the name suggests, Comprehensive car insurance offers wide-ranging benefits and is not restricted only to the Third-party Liability Plan. This type of vehicle insurance plan also provides financial protection against damages or losses incurred by the insured vehicle.

Damages or losses can be due to accidents, theft, fire or explosion, natural, and/or man-made disasters. You can buy Comprehensive insurance and Collision insurance along with Third-party coverage for broad coverage.

In India, you can also include add-on covers to strengthen the coverage further. You can choose from Zero Depreciation cover, No Claim Bonus cover, Roadside Assistance cover, Return to Invoice cover, Engine Damage Protection cover, Key Replacement cover, etc. You can also opt for a multi-year policy at a lower premium and stay clear from lapses in the process of car insurance renewal by the due date.

What is Collision Insurance?
Collision insurance is predominantly available in other countries and not in India; however, you still get this coverage under the Comprehensive policy. Collision insurance covers your vehicle against damages arising from a collision with another car or object. In countries where both Comprehensive and Collision motor insurance are offered, the former is a different type of insurance coverage from Collision insurance.

The Comprehensive insurance provides financial protection against damages to your vehicle caused by covered mishaps such as vandalism, theft, fire or weather-related disasters, such as hail. On the other hand, Collision insurance focuses on collision-related damages to the insured vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance vs Collision insurance
While both types of vehicle insurance offer financial protection in case of damages, there are slight differences between them. Refer to the following table for the difference between Comprehensive and Collision insurance.

Factors Comprehensive insurance Collision insurance
Coverage Damages caused by an animal or fire; Vehicle theft; Damages caused by man-made disasters such as vandalism; Damages caused due to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, etc. Damages due to a collision with another vehicle; Damages due to hitting a pothole or object such as a tree; Damages caused due to rollover of your car; Damages caused due to crash into a building or garage door
Cost Slightly expensive Moderately expensive
Type of policy Bundled plan Bundled plan
Required or optional? Required for leased or financed cars. Required for leased or financed cars.
Benefits and drawbacks of Comprehensive car insurance policy
Here are the pros and cons of a Comprehensive car insurance plan.

Pros:

Protects your vehicle against damages arising from almost all types of accidents that are not under your control.

Pays and offers legal protection against third-party liabilities.

It is considered an ideal car insurance plan since it covers your finances against unforeseen mishaps.

Cons:

It does not provide financial protection against damages arising from collisions on the road (not applicable to India).

It does not cover third-party liabilities; hence, you must buy the third-party car insurance separately, although in India the plan comes bundled with the third-party car insurance.

It does not cover wear and tear of parts, depreciation or electrical/mechanical failures.

Pros and cons of Collision insurance
Here are the benefits and drawbacks of Collision insurance.

Pros:

It covers damages caused by collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects.

It covers the repair cost of your damaged vehicle and protects you against unforeseen financial expenses.

It is appropriate insurance coverage for your vehicle, especially against vehicle collisions.

Cons:

It does not cover third-party liabilities; hence, you need to buy it separately.

It does not cover mishaps beyond your control, such as natural and man-made disasters.

It cannot be purchased as a standalone plan but purchased along with the Comprehensive insurance plan.

Deductibles in Comprehensive and Collision insurance
Deductibles are the amount you have to pay out of your pocket after raising a claim. Deductibles in car insurance can be mandatory and voluntary. Since Comprehensive and Collision insurance are separate accidental damage coverages, the deductibles can differ between the two types of vehicle insurance coverage.

If you opt for a higher deductible, the premium amount decreases. However, out of pocket expenses increase during claims. Ensure you opt for the appropriate deductible amount, so you don’t end up paying more from your pocket.

Is it better to have Comprehensive or Collision insurance?
Comprehensive and Collision insurance are optional insurance coverages. You might want to choose both the insurance coverage if.

There is a high chance of natural or man-made disasters, car thefts, or animal collisions in your area.

Your car has a high market value and is relatively new.

You want enough financial protection during high repair costs due to an accident.

If your car does not have a high market value and is older, you may consider opting for one of the coverages. If your vehicle is damaged beyond repair, the insurer pays the approximate market value of the car minus deductibles and depreciation. Hence, you need to choose the plan that offers the car’s fair market value if your vehicle is totalled.

Frequently asked questions
Here are some common queries about Comprehensive and Collision insurance in car insurance.

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Is Collision coverage available in India?
No, Collision insurance is not available in India.

When should you drop collision coverage on your car?
If your car is older and does not have much market value, an ideal option is to opt for comprehensive or collision coverage.

Do I need to buy both Comprehensive and Collision insurance?
If your car is relatively new and has high market value, you can buy both the coverages if both the plans are available in the respective country.

Is damage to a parked car due to an accident covered under the Comprehensive or Collision insurance?
Damage to a parked car due to an accident is covered under Collision insurance and under Comprehensive insurance in India.