Comprehensive Coverage Defined

Not surprisingly, a lot of our readers come to us for detailed information about car insurance. Because, let’s face it, while comprehensive coverage, medical payments, and personal injury protection are part of our daily vocabulary, they may not be standard in yours.

So why not make the most of this opportunity to fill in any holes you might have about understanding car insurance and how it all works?

Today, we’ll check out comprehensive coverage. Is it really as comprehensive as it sounds?

What is comprehensive coverage?

Car accidents aren’t the only way to cause damage to your car. Natural disasters and hooliganism can also send your car to the repair shop. And that’s where comprehensive coverage comes in.

Typically, it can help pay for damage to your car from:

  • Fire
  • Natural disasters
  • Falling objects
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Hitting a deer or other animal

Glass damage is usually covered under this coverage too.

Comprehensive coverage is a bit of a misnomer, however. It may cover a lot, but it doesn’t cover everything. Towing, rental reimbursement, and personal property (and, of course, collision and liability) coverages have to be purchased separately.

For more on this, check out Comprehensive Covers Everything: Debunking a Car Insurance Myth.

How does comprehensive coverage work?

When you file a claim, comprehensive coverage typically pays for your car repairs, minus your deductible. If the repairs cost more than your car is worth, however, you’ll be reimbursed for your car’s actual cash value (your car’s replacement price, or fair market value, minus depreciation). Your deductible still applies to replacements, so choose a deductible you can afford.

Is comprehensive coverage required?

In a word: no. But in several words: if you finance or lease your car, your lender may require you to purchase it.

Even if it’s not required, you should consider buying it if you have a newer car or one that would be expensive to repair or replace … especially if you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters or wandering woodland creatures.

Do comprehensive coverage and collision coverage always go together?

Though comprehensive and collision are 2 separate coverages, they tend to go hand in hand and are sometimes referred to together as “physical damage coverage.” In most states, if you buy collision coverage, you must also buy comprehensive coverage (though not the other way around).

Try the Esurance Coverage Counselor®

Wondering if comprehensive coverage is right for you? Answer a few questions from our online Coverage Counselor and it’ll help you select the right coverage for you based on your input.

What else would you like to know about? Let us know in the comments section.

Related link

Learn more about comprehensive and collision coverages
Find answers to other common insurance questions

Popular Car Colors and What They Say About You

Our cars, in many ways, are reflections of ourselves. A hybrid model, for example, tends to signal an owner who cares about the environment, while a heavy-duty truck often implies an outdoorsy type or do-it-yourselfer. And a minivan that reads “Baby on Board” almost always indicates a driver who hasn’t had the time to shop for bumper stickers lately.

But one lesser-known way we can project our personalities is through the color we choose for our cars. While most of us only consider our ride’s tint a minor aesthetic detail, studies from CNW Marketing and Churchill Motor Insurance suggest that car color is more than just Plexiglass-deep.

So if car color and personality do go hand in hand, what does your vehicle’s paint job say about you?

Least popular car color: green

Popularity: Used by 3 percent of population.

Driver indications: Extremely confident, prone to dramatic mood swings

Our take: As this happens to be the car color of this humble scribe’s ride, I can say with complete confidence that green … was the only option left at the dealership.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a green car … the alignment of the stars suggests you’re destined to find true love — or at least an embarrassing individual who looks remarkably like me waving ecstatically at you, his car-color twin (please wave back, please?).

Fifth most popular car color: blue

Popularity: Used by 8 percent of population.

Driver indications: Cautious, quiet, loyal, confident (if dark blue), insecure (if light blue), fairly even-keeled  

Our take: If these guys are any indication, there’s no limit to what donning this shade can do for a person.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a blue car … you’ll find yourself making cautious decisions on the road — like obeying the speed limit or choosing a cup instead of cone when you get ice cream.

Fourth most popular car color: red

Popularity: Used by 10 percent of population.

Driver indications: Anxious, fiery and impetuous, energetic, quick-thinking

Our take: Not even the “Sean Connery” GPS voice setting can best a fresh coat of red paint when it comes to making a car seem like it’s way more handsome, polished, and charming than whatever you’re stuck driving.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a red car … you will not (repeat NOT) automatically pay more for car insurance.

That’s right. We at Esurance are happy to put that false, chromatic-based cliché to bed in our insight exposing the myth that red cars cost more to insure.

Third most popular car color: silver

Popularity: Used by 16 percent of population.

Driver indications: Self-assured, unfailing, calm, almost aloof

Our take: The silver lining to sitting through all this psychology? Your car still looks so cool

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a silver car … an amazing opportunity will soon arise, er, maybe already has (depending on how much you’re valuing the opportunity to read this right now).

Second most popular car color: black

Popularity: Used by 19 percent of population.

Driver indications: Emotionally steady, elegant

Our take: As is standing policy at Esurance, if it’s good enough for Batman, it’s aces in our book.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a black car with vanity plates and you parked in the back lot … your lights are on.

Most popular car color: white

Popularity: Used by 21 percent of population.

Driver indications: Fairly confident, slightly moody, resilient/bordering-on-unbreakable (the sheer number of car washings alone!)

Our take: Classic and simple, hard to beat.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a white car … someone will soon contact you (I’m sensing it will be with “wash me” on your back windshield).

Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments section!

Related links

Which Car Color Attracts the Most Bird Poop?
3 Hot Tips for Keeping Your Car Cool
Do You Know Your Curb Colors?
What’s Your Driving Style? (Quiz)

Using Out-of-State Car Insurance: Possible or Not Possible?

Few things are quite as exciting as buying a car. Sadly, a fresh set of wheels usually comes with a fresh set of extra expenses — license plates, titles, Carstaches® (and grooming kit), and of course car insurance.

Thing is, after shelling out big bucks to get the car itself, many drivers, especially younger ones, probably aren’t too excited about paying for insurance. In fact, a frequent question we receive from our loyal Facebook community involves one particular method of cutting costs: having parents or relatives who live in another state insure it under their policy.

Is insuring a car with out-of-state insurance even possible? We checked in with our customer service reps to get to the bottom of this issue.

The experts weigh in on out-of-state car insurance

When you own a car in one state, you typically cannot have Mom, Dad, Uncle Bert, or Grandma Betty insure it under their policy if they live in another. The main reason is because each state decides its own car insurance requirements individually.

So, for instance, while your state might ask drivers to have $25,000 in property damage liability insurance, your parents’ state might only require $10,000. If you got pulled over and didn’t have the right amount of insurance, you could wind up with a hefty fine. In most cases, your local DMV won’t even hand over license plates, a registration, or any other must-have documents unless you have car insurance from the state you’re living in.

In the rare case that your relatives’ policy does allow them to insure vehicles in multiple states and your DMV has no objections, make sure you’re listed as a covered driver and you have enough protection to satisfy state law … and your own peace of mind.

Temporary state changes

One possible exception to the “no out-of-state insurance” guideline is if you’re temporarily living in a different state (not as a permanent resident) and you brought the car with you.

For instance, if you take the family van across state lines for college, you parents can often still insure it. Or, if you take your car to a new state for a 3-month job assignment you might be fine keeping your home state’s coverage. In any case, you should always run the idea of using an out-of-state policy past your insurer to make sure it’s allowed and that you have enough protection for where you’re headed.

Still curious about out-of-state car insurance?

Have more questions about your car insurance possibilities? Ask away on our Facebook page. You can also check out our myth-busting center where we break down all kinds of coverage conundrums so you can drive (and enter trivia nights) with confidence.

Related post

Our expert answers your questions about out-of-state car insurance 

5 Car Myths Busted

Have you ever heard that adding sugar to your gas tank will destroy the car’s engine? Or that premium fuel will clean out your injectors? Did you know that both of these statements are false?

Unfortunately, automotive myths like these are as common as a rainstorm after a car wash, and some of them could cost you time and money if you’re not equipped with the truth. Here are 5 debunked car myths to scratch off your list.

Car myth #1: Red cars cost more to insure

We already addressed this one in the car insurance myths section of our website, but it’s worth reiterating here. There are 2 sides to this myth: The first is that brightly colored cars, especially red and yellow ones, cost more to insure. The second is that they’re more likely to get a ticket.

On the insurance end, this pans out to nothing more than a myth because insurance companies don’t take color into account. And even if they did, some studies suggest cars that are hard to see at night — black, navy, green — are at greater risk for accidents.

What about tickets? It makes sense that a cherry red coupe would draw more attention than a charcoal sedan, but according to Snopes, that myth was dispelled as far back as 1990.

Car myth #2: Warm your engine when it’s cold out

In Los Angeles, where I live, “cold out” means 50 degrees and cloudy. If you reside somewhere like the arctic wilds of New England, however, you might have a habit of letting the car idle for a few minutes to warm the engine.

But unless you drive an older car, you’re wasting your time by warming up your engine. (Tweet this.)

See, up until the ’80s, cars used a system of valves and chambers called a carburetor to control the mix of fuel and air being pumped into the engine. Back then, carburetors did have problems adjusting to cold temperatures. But modern car engines are now built with electronic fuel injection systems instead of carburetors, and these systems use an ECU (engine control unit) to detect oxygen levels, automatically adjusting the fuel-air ratio accordingly.

Another bonus: fuel injection systems also improve mileage and cut down on emissions.

RELATED: The Great Marijuana Myth: Is Driving High Dangerous?

Car myth #3: Premium gas gets better mileage

The only reason you’d ever want to pay more at the pump is because your owner’s manual specifically says that your car needs it.

The one real difference between regular and premium gas is in how long it takes to combust. Premium gas has a high octane level, which means it requires more pressure from the engine to do its job. In high-performance cars, low-octane gas can ignite too quickly. This is bad for the car and causes a loud noise called “engine knock.” In other words, a high-performance car demanding premium gas must use premium gas to avoid damaging the engine.

But premium gas makes no difference in a regular car, so don’t waste your money. (Tweet this.)

Car myth #4: Gang initiates are targeting people who flash their headlights

Okay, so maybe this isn’t as widespread or as practical as the previous automotive myths, but I honestly believed it for years and was relieved to learn it was nonsense.

The story goes something like this: a gang is initiating new members, telling them to drive around at night with their headlights off and kill the first person to flash high beams at them.

According to Snopes, this urban legend has been in circulation at least as far back as 1993. At the time, the rumor was pegged to a “blood initiation weekend” in late September. Several states were affected, from California to Texas to New York, but no incident ever actually occurred.

You may not have heard this particular car myth, but it’s important to include an example of scaremongering so you can know what to look for. That’s not to say you should discount anything that sounds suspicious, but at least do some research.

RELATED: 5 Gas Myths Busted

Car myth #5: Shooting the gas tank will cause a car to explode

If you’ve ever seen an action movie like Mission: Impossible or The Terminator, you’ve watched as the protagonist shoots a single bullet into a vehicle’s gas tank, causing it to explode.

The guys at MythBusters tackled this one in 2004 and again in 2005. And while they did admit that it could be possible to blow up a gas tank with a single tracer round (such as a flaming bullet) from a great distance, they also agreed that it’s extremely unlikely — and never a good idea.

Of course, car myths pop up every year. There’s bound to be a new generation of absurd anecdotes related to automated systems, smartphones, and sensors, but all it takes is a quick google search to set you free … and possibly save you money.

What are some of the other myths you’ve heard? Sound off in the comments section below.

Related links

Car seat myths abound, too. Get the facts.
Want a better way to save at the pump? Try 
Fuelcaster™, our gas price predictor.