Drivers regularly exposed to road hazards should never neglect physical damage coverage. Do not underestimate road accidents. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) states that more than 35,000 people die from vehicle crashes annually. Furthermore, this population only accounts for a minuscule portion of the total crashes in the U.S. Thousands of accidents happen every day.
Unfortunately, many commercial and private drivers refuse to get physical damage insurance. In fact, most people only apply for a policy when getting a new car—or if their lessors require it. If you find yourself hesitating to get the necessary physical damage coverage, you might want to reassess the risks. Would you willingly trade your safety to shave off a few hundred bucks on car insurance?
Physical damage serves as an umbrella term for comprehensive and collision coverage. Policy owners can file claims to repair the damage to their vehicle during covered accidents, such as fire, theft, wildlife-vehicle collision, riots, and of course, car collision.
Most states do not require physical damage insurance, but most lessors and lenders do. Generally, vehicles permanently leased or paid for with auto loans need physical damage coverage. You can only forgo physical damage coverage once you fully pay off your loan or purchase the vehicle in question.
Insurance companies define physical damage as any tangible defect or injury to the policy owner's vehicle. Terms vary on a case-by-case basis. However, most insurers will cover damage resulting from natural perils, unforeseen accidents, or criminal activities.
Important: If you feel that your comprehensive or collision insurance does not cover all the road risks you expose yourself to every day, boost your policy with riders.
Insurance companies charge varying policy premiums. But generally, you can expect the annual costs to set you back by around $2,500 to $6,000. Insurers will likely give you the option to pay premiums every 4, 6, or 12 months.
The amount you pay for physical damage coverage depends heavily on your insurability. Insurance providers collect several pieces of information like your age, vehicle, profession, driving record, and existing criminal history when estimating individual premiums.
Apart from the standard criteria, insurance providers will also assign a specific risk level. Simply put, prolonged exposure to road risks reduces your insurability. For example, truckers exposed to various road hazards for long hours every day classify as high-risk, while casual drivers riding personal vehicles can minimize their insurance premiums.
Should you get both comprehensive insurance and collision insurance coverage? Insurers often bundle them in residential and commercial insurance policies for total protection against various road hazards. However, they can still be purchased separately.
Collision insurance and comprehensive insurance have varying terms. The latter covers vehicle damage stemming from theft, natural perils, and fire, among other non-collision accidents.
Meanwhile, collision insurance covers vehicle damage caused by collision accidents. For example, you can file damage coverage claims if you collide with another car, inanimate objects like trees, or road potholes. It also covers vehicle rollovers.
Important: Comprehensive insurance pays for wildlife-vehicle collision damage, not collision insurance.
Comprehensive insurance covers physical damage to your vehicle caused by non-collision accidents and incidents, such as:
On the other hand, comprehensive damage coverage does not cover:
Physical damage insurance pays for collision and non-collision damage to your own vehicle, while property damage coverage pays for the repairs on vehicles owned by a third party.
For instance, let's say driver A crashes into driver B. If driver A is at fault, their property insurance policy will cover the costs to repair driver B's vehicle. Meanwhile, driver A can file a physical damage insurance coverage claim to fix their car or truck.
Note: Most states require commercial auto liability policies to carry property coverage.
First-time policy owners might find it challenging to sort through the different auto and commercial insurance providers in their state. Every insurer offers varying features. Fortunately, we're here to help. If you need physical damage coverage, we recommend turning to these reliable institutions:
Nationwide takes the number one spot for versatility and flexibility. They offer a wide range of coverage levels at fair, competitive rates to various clients—from personal vehicle owners to rideshare drivers. Plus, they offer extensive rewards to loyal clients. Those who insure multiple vehicles and have excellent driving records can minimize their premiums through discounts.
American Family Insurance insures a wide range of drivers. Their client base consists of drivers with speeding tickets, accident history, and poorly rated driving records. Plus, they do not overcharge. You would be hard-pressed to find any other insurance company willing to cover high-risk drivers—much less at competitive rates.
Geico offers the most competitive physical damage coverage premiums on the market. In fact, even those with speeding tickets or a history of accidents can still get a good deal. Plus, they allow state-minimum liability coverages and offer several discount options, so you can further minimize their already low rates.
Note: Do not force yourself to get the state-minimum liability coverage unless it matches your insurance needs. Underinsured driving poses the same risks as uninsured driving.
Do you need collision or comprehensive insurance on special, high-risk vehicles? Try State Farm Car Insurance. They offer an extensive selection of add-ons covering RVs, rental vehicles, boats, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and even vintage cars.
Now, you might find several other physical damage coverage policies for special vehicles as well, but most of these force their clients to jump through hoops before approving claims. On the other hand, State Farm Car Insurance has a streamlined process.
USAA is the largest financial institution that caters solely to military members and affiliates. They offer competitive rates, extensive coverage levels, and reliable claims processing. Plus, they also cater to drivers with speeding tickets. If USAA auto insurance products were not limited to military affiliates, they would have scored higher on our list.
Assured Standard has multiple resources on how insurance protects independent owner-operators from unforeseen risks and accidents. Check out our comprehensive guide to owner-operator insurance!
Physical damage is a general term for a group of insurance coverages that protect your vehicle. This includes Collision coverage as well as your choice between Comprehensive coverage or Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage (CAC).
Truck drivers pay an average of $640 for insuring specialty truckers and $982 for transport truckers. Since these are just averages, always keep in mind that insurance companies rely on a range of factors to calculate your insurance rates and premiums.
Collision insurance is not mandatory by law, but if you're purchasing or leasing a car chances are the lending institution will require that you purchase both collision and comprehensive coverage. If your loan has been paid off, it's up to you whether or not to keep your coverages intact.
Having a long-term physical damage truck insurance policy is essential for any business professional. Whether you use your rig on personal or work-related matters, this coverage will ensure that it's always protected against anything from simple dents to major accidents and disasters.
Comprehensive and collision are the two types of physical damage coverage available on car insurance policies.
Physical damage insurance policies do more than get your vehicle repaired. Total damage coverage during emergencies reduces the overall stress that road accidents bring. Focus on your safety and well-being instead of your vehicle. You can repair vehicle damages, but not every bodily injury sustained from road accidents can be reversed.
Also, we strongly advise consulting an insurance specialist about your physical damage coverage. No two drivers share the exact needs. Someone who hauls a semi-trailer truck 12 hours a day requires higher insurance than a teenager who only drives their sedan for weekend getaways. Do not let agents convince you to get generic, cookie-cutter plans.
Assured Standard shares that insurance protects truckers from the financial damage of a road accident. Read our guide on getting comprehensive coverage for your trucking business!