Auto Insurance: What’s the Difference Between Collision, Liability, and Comprehensive?

by Ron Haynes

Car insurance can be a bit confusing what with all the terms bandied about. Total loss, medical payments, and deductibles are terms most people know and comprehend, but the difference between collision, liability and comprehensive can sometimes be a bit more difficult to understand.

What is collision insurance?

Collision is exactly what it sounds like. It pays the insured person when his or her vehicle is struck by another vehicle, or when a the insured vehicle strikes an object of some sort (such as a tree, a telephone pole, or a barrier of some sort). If you have financed your vehicle, your lien holder will almost always require collision insurance.

What is liability insurance?

Liability insurance pays if the insured policyholder causes bodily injury to someone else or causes property damage to items covered in the policy. For example, if you hit another vehicle at a stop light. Liability insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle as well as any other damages suffered by the driver or passengers of that vehicle (up to the covered amounts in the policy). If the damages exceed what your policy covers, you could be held liable.

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All but two states have liability insurance requirements for ALL vehicles registered within their boundaries (Florida and New Hampshire do not last time I checked). Check out State Minimums for Your Car Insurance and make certain you’re properly covered.

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle for things other than collision insurance. These may include vandalism, hitting an animal, a falling tree, hail or wind damage, floods, theft, or broken glass. Again, financed vehicles will probably require this type of car insurance coverage.

Usually collision and comprehensive car insurance are offered as a bundle, although it is possible to purchase the two types of coverage separately (depending on your insurer).

Where to buy car insurance

If you haven’t checked your rate in the last 12 months, now is the time to do it. It costs NOTHING to make sure that you’re not only properly covered, but that you’re currently getting the best rate for your age, driving record, vehicle driven, and your zip code. Insurance companies have a little secret: they know we’re all pretty lazy and won’t bother to check our premium rates so they raise them little by little. The end result is that you’re not getting the best deal after as little as ONE YEAR from the date you originally bought the policy.

What to do

Click on this link InsureMe.com and fill out the simple form on the page. You’ll be able to get insurance quotes from multiple providers similar to the way LendingTree does for your mortgage. One form … multiple quotes … no obligation. If you don’t get a better quote, there’s nothing to do – just keep your current coverage and check it again in 12 months. BUT, if you DO get a better rate quote, jump on it! You’ll be saving money and sending a message to your old insurer at the same time

Who does InsureMe.com use?

GIR-300x250-SaveOnAuto-v1Just a few of their trusted partners include insurance giants like:

  • AllState
  • Travelers
  • Farmers
  • Nationwide
  • Liberty Mutual
  • State Farm
  • American Family
  • The Hartford

These aren’t fly-by-night insurance companies, so take a few moments to get your multiple quotes and make certain you’re getting your absolute BEST deal on car insurance.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 997 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.


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