Physical Damage to your Vehicle

When your vehicle is damaged you can file a claim under your Physical Damage coverage. This coverage usually consists of two parts: Comprehensive and Collision.

Comprehensive Coverage

This usually covers your vehicle when it is damaged by something other than an accident. Fire, Theft, Vandalism, Glass breakage and weather related losses such as Flood, Hurricane and Hail. Also hitting an animal goes under comprehensive, however, if you swerve and miss the animal and then hit a tree or go into a ditch then the loss would go under the Collision coverage.

Collision Coverage

This covers your vehicle when it is damaged in an accident. An accident can involve another vehicle or it can just involve your vehicle alone. If you run off the road and hit a tree, that's an accident and would go under your collision. Same thing if you bump into a light pole in a parking lot.


Your comprehensive and collision coverage will carry some sort of deductible. This is the portion of the claim that you will be responsible for. Common deductible amounts are $100, $250, $500 and $1,000. There are sometimes lower deductibles available, particularly for glass damage. Most companies will waive your deductible if your windshield can be repaired versus having it replaced. This happens when there is a small chip in the glass. If the chip has spread across the windshield then usually the repair won't work and the whole windshield will have to be replaced. The higher your deductible the lower your rate will be.


Rental & Roadside

A couple of options that are available under lost policies are Rental and Roadside/Towing. If your car is damaged in a covered claim then the Rental coverage is what will help pay for a rent car while yours is in the shop. Your collision and comprehensive coverage do not automatically include these coverages. (If your car is stolen then the company may provide you a rental coverage under the comprehensive usually after the car has been missing for at least 48 hrs. Also, Rental coverage does not come in to play if you are putting your car in the shop for normal maintenance or mechanical repairs. The car must be going to the shop due to a covered claim.

Roadside usually covers if you have to have your car towed, battery jumped, vehicle unlocked or you run out of gas. If your company doesn't offer Roadside then they probably offer coverage called Towing & Labor. While Roadside coverage will send someone to you to help, the Towing and Labor coverage usually reimburses you for an expense that you paid for. They both have limits as to what or how much they will pay.


GAP coverage pays out an extra amount to help pay off a car loan when your vehicle is deemed a total loss and the amount you normally would get is not enough to pay off your car note. This usually happens when the value of the car is less than what the car note is. The insurance company is only obligated to pay the current value of the car. The car dealers will usually try to add this coverage on the loan when they sell you the car but it is a good idea to check with your insurance company and see if they can add this coverage to your existing car policy. Usually the car dealer's program will add hundreds of dollars to the note while the insurance policy can usually provide the coverage at a fraction of that cost.