In the United States, comprehensive coverage is a coverage that applies to any damage to your vehicle except damage caused by a collision. This coverage will most probably be required by the loan company if you have a car loan. It will also most likely be required by the lessor if you lease your vehicle.
Comprehensive coverage is well-named, because it is fairly “comprehensive” that is, all inclusive. It is extremely broad. Because it is an “all peril” type of coverage, it works in your favor in the event of a claim. The insurance company would have to show specifically where the damage to your vehicle is excluded as opposed to you having to show the insurance company where the cause of the damage is specifically included.
There will typically be a deductible for comprehensive coverage. However the deductible is often, though not necessarily, less than the collision deductible.
Glass breakage is one of the common perils covered by comprehensive. It will pay to replace your windshield (or any other glass, for that matter) if it is broken, less your deductible. Many companies have a provision that if your windshield is only cracked and not broken, you can have it repaired with no deductible: in other words, you can get it repaired with no out of pocket expense.
Another common occurrence covered by comprehensive coverage is collision with an animal. If you hit a pheasant or a deer, for example, that is considered comprehensive coverage, not collision.
Some other things covered by comprehensive include flood, fire, hail and theft. It is important to note in the event of theft coverage, however, typically ONLY the vehicle itself or items that are a part of the vehicle itself are covered by theft: personal property left in your car at the time the entire car is stolen are generally covered by your homeowner’s policy, not your auto policy.
Many companies will allow you to carry comprehensive coverage without also carrying collision coverage, although the reverse is not necessarily true. Unlike collision coverage, filing a comprehensive claim will most likely not affect your insurance rates. In a collision, there’s always a question of fault. But it’s hardly your fault if your car gets hailed on.
Comprehensive coverage is generally worth having especially if you live in a part of the country where hail, flood, or hitting a wild animal are commonplace occurrences. As always, though, insurance coverage varies company to company and state to state, so you should consult an insurance agent licensed in your state before making any coverage decisions.