Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: May 6, 2019

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Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car if something happens to it, like it’s damaged by a storm, or if the at-fault driver doesn’t have liability insurance. Starting a comprehensive insurance claim is usually as easy as making a phone call.

Finding the best car insurance rates is also easy – just type your ZIP code into the box for FREE!

Technically, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car for things other than a traffic accident. This includes things like theft, vandalism, hail or other storm damage, objects falling on the car, and fire damage.

Collision and Comprehensive

The coverage for collision is a separate part of the policy, and covers your car if you cause the accident. However, since they are usually sold together, many people lump the two together into the name “comprehensive.”

Also, comprehensive and collision coverage, often called “comp and collision,” is usually an optional coverage.

States do not require drivers to carry this type of policy in the auto insurance minimum requirements. Just be aware that if you have taken out a loan to purchase a car then the bank or credit union will require that you carry comp and collision for the life of the loan.

Before filing an auto insurance claim, make sure it’s financially advantageous to do so. For instance, if you have a $500 deductible, and there is less that $500 damage, it’s probably not worth the premium rate hike to even file a claim.

Also, if the damage is only a little more than the deductible, like a $600 body shop bill, it still might not be worth filing a claim.

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What To Do Before Filing a Claim

For some comprehensive claims, you might need a police report. Obviously, if there is theft or vandalism involved, the police will need to be involved as there was a crime committed.

In fact, if your car’s been stolen, you may have to wait for a period of time in order to give the police a chance to recover the vehicle before the insurance will let you file the claim.

For most acts of nature, a police report is not necessary. However, do take pictures of the damage. If there were any witnesses to what happened – perhaps a neighbor saw the tree branch fall on the hood of your car – get the contact information.

Write out an account of what happened as soon after the occurrence as possible while the event is fresh on your mind.

Once you’re ready to file a claim, getting started is usually fairly easy. You can either call the number on your insurance card or go online to the company’s website. If you go online there is usually a form you can fill out to start the claim process.

Sometimes it is completed online, sometimes you’ll need to print it off and mail or fax it in.

If you call, the agent can usually take the basic information over the phone and then mail out any forms you’ll need to fill out. Either way, you’ll need to stay in contact with the company.

Getting the process started is the easy part; following through and making sure everything is on track can be more difficult or time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the claim.

For more information on filing an insurance claim, see the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association’s article here.

How to File a Claim After a Wreck

If you’re filing a claim after a wreck, how you file will depend on the circumstances of the accident. If the other person was at-fault, then you’ll actually file a claim with his insurance company who will have proof of your auto insurance policy on file. His liability insurance will cover the damage.

If he is uninsured, then you can file against your uninsured motorists coverage or, if you don’t have that, against your own collision coverage. Also, your collision policy will cover the damage to your car if you caused the accident.

Your liability insurance will cover the other person’s damages and medical expenses.

After calling for the police and medical help, it’s important to begin gathering information in the aftermath of an accident. Exchange insurance information with the other drivers, no matter who is at-fault.

Take pictures of both vehicles with your cell phone. Get contact information from witnesses and make sure you receive a copy of the police or incident report.

All of these steps will make filing an insurance claim easier. For more tips, visit the Kid’s Health website and read the article on what to do after a crash.

To make sure you’re getting the best deal on comprehensive auto insurance, get FREE quotes just by typing in your ZIP code!

Related posts:

  1. What is comprehensive car insurance coverage?
  2. What is the difference between comprehensive and collision auto insurance?
  3. How to File a Car Insurance Claim