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Collision Insurance

Collision insurance covers the cost of auto repairs if your car is damaged in an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.

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09/11/2023 05:46 PM

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In this guide, we’ll explain what collision insurance is, what it covers, and what it may cost you. When you’re shopping for collision coverage, compare quotes from several reputable car insurers. Our team reviewed the best car insurance companies to provide you with recommendations.

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What Is Collision Insurance?

Collision insurance covers the cost of repairs for your vehicle if it’s damaged in a car wreck, regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.

Accidents covered by collision insurance include:

  • Wrecks with another vehicle
  • Vehicle damage caused by a hit-and-run
  • Damage from road hazards like potholes
  • Damage from the vehicle flipping
  • Collisions with stationary objects like trees, guardrails, and telephone poles

Collision insurance often gets confused with comprehensive coverage, which covers repairs for your car from things like natural disasters or theft. Some drivers may also mistake collision coverage for liability insurance, which takes care of the other party’s car and medical bills in an accident you caused.

When collision coverage, comprehensive insurance, and minimum-liability coverage are on the same car insurance policy, that policy is considered full coverage.

What Isn’t Covered By Collision Insurance

Collision insurance strictly covers damage to your vehicle that’s related to car accidents. This means it won’t cover damages from animals, weather, or vandalism. Collision insurance also won’t cover any damage sustained while your car is parked.

Below are some examples of what collision insurance doesn’t cover:

  • Damage to someone else’s property
  • Collisions with large animals like deer or moose
  • Damage from fire, floods, or other natural disasters
  • Any medical bills resulting from an accident
  • Damage from falling objects like tree branches or boulders
  • Damage from theft or vandalism

Damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property is covered under liability insurance. To cover medical expenses for yourself and your passengers, you’d need to buy medical payments insurance (MedPay) or personal injury protection (PIP). To protect your car from any damage that happens while it’s parked, you should have a comprehensive insurance policy.

Should I Carry Collision Insurance?

No state law requires drivers to carry collision coverage, so you won’t need it to legally drive. However, some lenders may require you to have collision coverage if your car is financed or leased.

Even if you aren’t required to have collision insurance, there are reasons you may want to consider it. A collision insurance policy can keep you from paying for costly repairs out of pocket. If you’re involved in a car accident where the other driver is at fault, their insurance policy may not be able to fully cover damages to your vehicle. In that case, your collision policy can cover the difference.

Is Collision Coverage Worth It?

To get a sense of whether a collision policy is worth it for you, estimate the actual cash value of your car and subtract the deductible amount for this type of coverage. While only an estimate, this figure should give you a rough idea of the maximum dollar amount you can expect to receive from a collision claim. Compare this amount to what your collision insurance premium would be to determine if buying this coverage is financially worth it.

Generally speaking, collision insurance is recommended if your annual premium is 10 percent or less of your car’s value. New cars and more expensive vehicles usually fit this criteria, but if your car is older or of lower value, purchasing collision coverage might not be worth it.

Collision Insurance Costs

According to a study conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average cost of collision insurance in 2019 was about $381 per year. Average annual premiums vary widely by location. Collision insurance was most expensive in Washington, D.C., with average annual premiums reaching about $539. South Dakota had the lowest annual collision premiums at about $248.

The best way to find out what you’re likely to pay for collision insurance is to reach out to a few providers for free car insurance quotes. Once you’ve collected a few, you can compare coverage from insurers to find the cheapest car insurance that fits your needs.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Collision Insurance

Estimated collision insurance quotes fluctuate not only from state to state, but from motorist to motorist. In most states, insurance companies calculate premiums based on factors including the following:

  • Where you live
  • Your age
  • Your marital status
  • The gender on your license
  • The type of vehicle you drive
  • Your driving record
  • Your credit score

Collision insurance deductibles vary, so yours could be an amount such as $250, $500, or $1,000. Higher deductibles mean lower premiums but will increase what you have to pay out of pocket after an accident.

Icons showing seven factors that affect the cost of car insurance

Collision Insurance: Conclusion

Though collision insurance coverage isn’t required by law, it may be worth considering when you’re researching what insurance to purchase. If you only buy the minimum coverage required by your state, you and your vehicle may not be covered in the event of an accident.

Collision insurance covers the cost of your car’s repairs regardless of who’s at fault in a car accident, so it can help protect your peace of mind. It’s optional coverage that can be purchased as an add-on for an existing auto policy or as part of full-coverage insurance when combined with comprehensive and liability coverage.

Best Collision Insurance

We researched the top insurance providers in the country and determined that Travelers and Progressive are among the best to compare car insurance quotes from.

Travelers: Best Coverage Options

Travelers is one of the oldest insurance companies in the world, with more than 150 years of experience. It currently operates in 42 states and Washington, D.C., offering a wide range of insurance products.

The insurer holds an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best as well as an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. Travelers offers all six standard types of auto coverage as well as many add-on options, including roadside assistance, loan/lease gap insurance, and umbrella insurance.

Read more: Travelers insurance review

Progressive: Best Usage-Based Insurance

One of the biggest names in the insurance industry, Progressive offers a variety of coverage options and add-ons. The company is best known for its affordable rates for high-risk drivers, and Snapshot®, its popular usage-based insurance program. Progressive holds an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Read more: Progressive insurance review

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Collision Insurance: FAQ

Is it worth it to get collision coverage?

Collision insurance is typically worth it unless you have an older car that has lost most of its value. Generally, your annual collision premium should be 10% or less of the value of your vehicle.

What does collision insurance cover?

If you get into a car accident, collision insurance can pay for damages to your vehicle up to its actual cash value (minus your deductible). If another driver’s liability insurance can’t fully cover the damages to your vehicle in an accident that isn’t your fault, collision insurance can typically pay the difference.

What is the difference between comp and collision coverage?

Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage pay for different types of damage. Comprehensive insurance covers damages to your car that are caused by things like vandalism and natural disasters rather than a crash with another car. If you get into a car accident, collision insurance covers damages to your vehicle and your property.

Are collision and full coverage the same?

Collision insurance on its own isn’t a full-coverage policy. Full-coverage car insurance policies usually include collision insurance, comprehensive insurance, and your state’s minimum liability coverage. Collision coverage pays for repairs to your car after an auto accident.

How We Rate Insurers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between insurers because so many factors impact annual premiums. The cheapest insurer for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. To determine our cost score, we look at insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, discount opportunities, and consumer reports.
  • Coverage: To determine our coverage score, we look at the number of coverage options available as well as coverage limits and deductible options. Our ratings also take into account additional services and benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Reliability: It’s important that an auto insurer is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong financial strength rating from AM Best score best in this category. Established insurers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Service: We comb through customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn about customer experiences. Insurers with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the claims process, giving higher ratings to car insurance providers that offer easy-to-use claims apps.

*Data accurate at time of publication.