The Essential Guide to Collision Insurance (Statistics + Info)

Collision car insurance covers damages to your car in a collision with another car or object. The average national rates for collision insurance are $26.88/month.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2021

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Collision Coverage StatisticsDetails
Average Premium Nationwide$322.63
Total Premiums Earned Nationwide$48 billion
Total Claims Filed Nationwide8,427,459
Average Loss Ratio Nationwide75.66
Vehicle With Most Incurred LossesFerrari 458 Italia two-door

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You’ve gotten into an accident. While the first thing you probably think is, “Am I, and is everyone else, okay?” there are other considerations, as well — especially the pesky notion of insurance.

You stare at that big dent in your fender or that busted side door and wonder, “Am I going to be reimbursed for this?”

The answer — when you’re considered at-fault in an accident — comes down to a branch of car insurance called collision. You may have heard of it, but only in conjunction with other coverages.

  • Collision coverage, together with liability and comprehensive coverages, forms core coverage
  • Both collision and uninsured motorist protect against accidents with the uninsured
  • Collision and GAP serve two important functions when your car is totaled

But what is it and why do you need it?

You may have tried to research collision insurance, including the statistics behind it, only to find that there is little readily available information about it. You may have gotten a headache just trying to parse through documents or websites.

We understand and have got you covered.

In this essential guide to collision insurance, we cover everything you need. We’ve got statistics about the average premium in your state, how many claims are being filed, and how many are being fulfilled.

We compare collision to other insurance coverages, look at the factors that affect your collision rate, and cover common scenarios where you might need it. It’s thorough. By the end, you’ll have your black belt in collision coverage. And it’ll provide you extra security, especially (gasp!) if you’re driving on cursed days like Friday the 13th.

Let’s dive in.

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Table of Contents

What do you need to know about car insurance collision coverage?

Have you ever wondered what collision coverage is? How often collision coverage is used? In truth, very often.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 670,000 crashes in 2018. From 2014 to 2018, there were over 3.2 million. That’s 3.2 million opportunities for collision insurance to be used.

But does it get used this often and what is the value of using it? Let’s get started.

What is collision coverage?

Collision coverage is, as its name implies, insurance coverage that protects you if you collide with something. This isn’t necessarily for a two-car accident. It can be any object in the center of the road, such as a fallen tree. It can protect you for single-car crashes, such as a rollover.

It’s an add-on coverage compared to some of the others such as liability, medical payments, or uninsured/underinsured motorist. It’s completely optional, which means you can forego it when you buy auto insurance.

So, why do people get it?

It’s simple. Collision is a safeguard against situations where your car is damaged but other insurance coverages won’t cover the repairs.

This means an accident where you are at fault or situations where the other driver doesn’t have the insurance to cover repairs to your car. For example, let’s say you aren’t paying attention and rear-end another driver. Unless you have collision coverage, you will have to pay the bill for your car repairs yourself.

Does collision coverage cover rear end collisions?

You might pay $300 per premium for collision coverage but get reimbursed for thousands if your car is damaged in an accident. In the end, collision insurance can cost a little extra money. But some people believe it’s worth it.

However, to take a closer look at collision, we need statistics. And a little more explanation about a concept called actual cash value.

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Why does the actual cash value matter?

Collision doesn’t have a traditional coverage limit like liability coverage or medical payments. Instead, insurance companies look at the actual cash value of your car and set that as your coverage limit.

According to Nolo, actual cash value is the value of the car depending on its make, model, condition, and the geographical area in which it is driven. The maximum amount of money a car insurance company will pay out is the value of your car.

Collision insurance does have a deductible, which is the amount you pay before any reimbursement from the insurance company kicks in. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium and vice versa.

To calculate the actual cash value of your car, you can use Kelley Blue Book, which is a standard in the car insurance industry.

What is the average cost of collision coverage?

So, with all this talk about actual cash value and the different events that collision covers, you might have a question: “What’s the average cost of this insurance?”

For the answer to that, we turn to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC is an organization composed of insurance commissioners from all around the country who put together statistics about insurance coverage, including collision insurance.

In 2018, it released an Auto Insurance Database Report that detailed, among other things, the average premium costs for collision coverage in every state.

District of Columbia$477.17$462.00$461.54$451.59$437.18$457.90
New Hampshire$319.85$307.42$293.37$279.36$265.80$293.16
New Jersey$390.94$381.86$371.61$363.92$356.37$372.94
New Mexico$290.17$277.03$268.09$261.94$262.06$271.86
New York$414.27$385.06$366.48$354.70$345.97$373.30
North Carolina$321.05$293.59$279.35$263.06$248.78$281.17
North Dakota$248.18$244.09$239.16$229.09$216.62$235.43
Rhode Island$438.86$411.51$392.39$372.15$357.12$394.41
South Carolina$284.41$265.07$251.46$242.85$239.30$256.62
South Dakota$219.21$208.58$204.63$200.60$195.84$205.77
West Virginia$339.00$329.67$326.95$319.49$313.43$325.71
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Overall, the average collision premium nationwide rose 18.9 percent from 2012 to 2016.

This is a slower rise than the rise in collisions during that time period. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of accidents within that same time rose 21.5 percent.​

The five states that had the highest average premiums were a mixture of high-density states or cities and no-fault states.

California is a bit of an outlier. It doesn’t have a particularly high population density according to statistics analyzing population size and land mass and actually has lower average rates for some other insurance compared to nationwide averages.

Michigan, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. are no-fault states or areas, while the district and Rhode Island are two of the leaders in population density.

When it comes to states with the lowest average collision premiums, almost all are in states with a low population density compared to average.

Four of the states are within the bottom 15 of states in terms of population density, with South Dakota and Idaho in the bottom seven. Wisconsin is the outlier, ranked 25th in the nation overall for population density.

What are the premiums written for collision coverage?

Premiums written is a category in the report that looks at the overall value of the policies per state as a whole. From 2012 to 2016, the average nationwide dollar amount for all collision premiums averaged around $47.7 billion per year.

District of Columbia$98,173,102$95,525,958$89,098,681$84,961,862$81,108,304$89,773,581.40
New Hampshire$267,386,520$252,002,546$235,143,556$220,265,314$205,162,059$235,991,999.00
New Jersey$1,670,574,048$1,612,653,383$1,531,616,006$1,478,974,448$1,424,622,068$1,543,687,990.60
New Mexico$267,498,244$249,426,969$234,615,743$227,962,323$226,671,081$241,234,872.00
New York$2,995,869,840$2,748,420,524$2,570,923,039$2,444,064,423$2,347,371,843$2,621,329,933.80
North Carolina$1,700,170,517$1,474,932,899$1,397,268,652$1,296,721,426$1,205,359,785$1,414,890,655.80
North Dakota$110,979,985$107,823,712$102,700,873$94,300,008$85,424,100$100,245,735.60
Rhode Island$216,147,728$198,730,875$183,674,832$172,436,882$163,300,525$186,858,168.40
South Carolina$765,010,685$689,918,724$638,751,620$599,538,781$571,146,557$652,873,273.40
South Dakota$100,829,482$95,278,251$90,189,648$85,816,107$81,204,549$90,663,607.40
West Virginia$300,732,483$283,905,824$283,713,489$274,892,557$266,150,303$281,878,931.20
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However, the range was wide. During that time period, the nationwide premiums written rose from $42 billion to nearly $55 billion. This is an increase of 31.7 percent.

Because the rate for collisions premiums grew less, that implies that more drivers joined the customer pool.

The five states with the largest increases ranged from 37 percent to 55 percent.

  • Florida – 55.07 percent
  • Texas – 42.10 percent
  • North Carolina – 41.05 percent
  • California – 37.56 percent
  • Colorado – 36.54 percent

The five states with the smallest increases ranged from 8 percent to 17 percent.

New Jersey is fifth at 17.26 percent.

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What are the premiums earned for collision coverage?

With all that money being paid for collision insurance premiums, you might ask the question, “So how much money exactly are insurance companies bringing in for collision insurance premiums?”

For an answer to that, we’ll look at a statistic called premiums earned (PE). PE is a statistic that looks at earnings per premium or what the bottom line is in terms of profit. As we’ll see, it’s fairly close to the number for premiums written.

District of Columbia92,687,62687,552,02583,561,020263,800,671
New Hampshire239,525,453221,991,883205,452,902666,970,238
New Jersey1,565,526,1471,488,479,4281,436,906,8594,490,912,434
New Mexico235,525,300225,755,958222,861,962684,143,220
New York2,656,764,4472,480,083,6002,366,779,3227,503,627,369
North Carolina1,284,088,3371,191,985,6401,153,623,2943,629,697,271
North Dakota97,181,80890,770,96483,608,192271,560,964
Rhode island189,408,026175,015,599164,418,437528,842,062
South Carolina677,682,056619,717,116584,711,2811,882,110,453
South Dakota90,839,41785,655,74281,643,054258,138,213
West Virginia286,638,596277,395,750268,235,099832,269,445
Total, excluding Texas43,728,179,51740,663,861,58238,629,298,339123,021,339,438
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However, profit isn’t exactly revenue. For those numbers, we turn to the other side of the coin, which is how much financial damage is being done with all these collisions.

That’s the number of claims being filed and the incurred losses for the insurance industry.

What are the claims filed for collision coverage?

With collision insurance, you can file claims for just about everything involving a collision, with the exception being hitting an animal. However, there are questions.

  • How many claims are being filed each year, nationwide and in states?
  • Are drivers in some states more likely to file claims than in others?
  • Are there trends here year-to-year?

From 2013 to 2015, drivers across the country submitted around 24 million claims for collision insurance. This doesn’t include Texas, for which the NAIC didn’t have data.

STATE201520142013Percent Change
District of Columbia21,36218,90617,05525.25%
New Hampshire49,51547,35643,89012.82%
New Jersey262,846253,088244,1287.67%
New Mexico44,37444,22142,9113.41%
New York477,835450,668419,37413.94%
North Carolina235,428225,890221,9856.06%
North Dakota18,78619,13019,090-1.59%
Rhode Island34,57732,01128,73620.33%
South Carolina139,493133,007123,21813.21%
South Dakota17,37717,13317,0391.98%
West Virginia42,33442,26540,6394.17%
Total, excluding Texas8,427,4598,062,3267,600,65110.88%
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Because the number of claims filed is often related to each state’s population size, we looked at the percentage change from 2013 to 2015. The five states with the biggest increases started at 16.55 percent and ran to around 25 percent.

  • District of Columbia – 25.25 percent
  • Florida – 22.55 percent
  • Rhode Island – 20.33 percent
  • Massachusetts – 18.10 percent
  • Georgia – 16.55 percent

The lowest states were actually in the negative. The drivers in those states filed fewer claims in 2015 than they did in 2013.

  • Alaska – -2.99 percent
  • Kansas – -2.52 percent
  • Wyoming – -1.90 percent
  • North Dakota – -1.59 percent

Minnesota was fifth, at -1.49 percent.

What are the incurred losses for collision coverage?

One way to look at how much collision coverage is costing insurance companies is something called incurred losses. From 2013 to 2015, the insurance industry took a total of $100 billion in losses from collision insurance.

District of Columbia$69,241,637$57,759,305$52,580,962$59,860,635
New Hampshire$166,286,811$151,932,958$143,421,576$153,880,448
New Jersey$1,140,809,938$1,040,607,127$987,005,566$1,056,140,877
New Mexico$181,840,962$166,684,321$160,146,126$169,557,136
New York$2,216,010,587$2,019,250,011$1,883,754,848$2,039,671,815
North Carolina$868,971,526$798,596,968$758,256,232$808,608,242
North Dakota$70,022,871$65,537,060$62,840,055$66,133,329
Rhode Island$150,785,399$138,270,461$122,882,915$137,312,925
South Carolina$534,997,710$473,856,161$432,324,734$480,392,868
South Dakota$68,258,244$62,856,083$58,914,697$63,343,008
West Virginia$195,307,641$188,468,933$179,216,803$187,664,459
Total, excluding Texas$33,284,602,320$29,889,771,218$27,892,206,931$30,355,526,823
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The three highest states on average were California, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

  • California – $4.2 billion on average and $12.6 billion total
  • Florida – $2 billion on average and $6 billion total
  • Pennsylvania – $1.6 billion on average and $4.7 billion total

In 2015, the average claim was worth $4,334. The states with the highest average payout per claim were not the states we’re accustomed to seeing in the previous sections.

  • New York – $4,638
  • Alaska – $4,633
  • West Virginia – $4,613

Two of the states in the bottom four we’re used to seeing in the top section, while there are two newcomers as well.

  • Massachusetts – $3,125
  • District of Columbia – $3,241
  • Maine – $3,358
  • New Hampshire – $3,358

Although some states have a higher percentage of drivers filing claims, in the case of the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, those claims have some of the lowest payouts compared to other states.

When combining premiums written with incurred losses, we can see the insurance industry made around $14 billion in revenue in 2015 off collision insurance.

In some states, such as California, Florida, and Utah, insurance companies made $1 billion or more in revenue.

StatePremiums Written 2015Incurred Losses 2015Total Revenue 2015
District of Columbia$95,525,958$69,241,637$26,284,321
New Hampshire$252,002,546$166,286,811$85,715,735
New Jersey$1,612,653,383$1,140,809,938$471,843,445
New Mexico$249,426,969$181,840,962$67,586,007
New York$2,748,420,524$2,216,010,587$532,409,937
North Carolina$1,474,932,899$868,971,526$605,961,373
North Dakota$107,823,712$70,022,871$37,800,841
Rhode Island$198,730,875$150,785,399$47,945,476
South Carolina$689,918,724$534,997,710$154,921,014
South Dakota$95,278,251$68,258,244$27,020,007
West Virginia$941,760,622$668,963,625$272,796,997
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Overall, from 2013 to 2015, the insurance companies on average made $14 billion per year from collision insurance.

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What are the loss ratios for collision coverage?

To see the chances of your claim being approved, we look at a statistic called the loss ratio from the NAIC.

The loss ratio is a ratio between the number of premiums written to the number of claims being approved. It is a gauge on whether claims are being approved too little (under .4) or the insurance industry is losing money (.8).

A loss ratio between 50 percent and 70 percent is the sweet spot. It means there is a good balance between approving claims and insurance companies remaining healthy financially. The average loss ratio between 2013 and 2015 was .73, or 73 percent.

For this table, all numbers are percentages.

District of Columbia74.765.9762.9367.9
New Hampshire69.4268.4469.8169.2
New Jersey72.8769.9168.6970.5
New Mexico77.2173.8371.8674.3
New York83.4181.4279.5981.5
North Carolina67.676765.7366.8
North Dakota72.0572.275.1673.1
Rhode Island79.617974.7477.8
South Carolina78.9576.4673.9476.5
South Dakota75.1473.3872.1673.6
West Virginia68.1467.9466.8167.6
Total, excluding Texas76.1273.572.273.9
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The lowest loss ratios are in Massachusetts, Alaska, and California. The highest loss ratios are in Florida, Colorado, and New York.

As we’ve seen, the insurance industry is making money off collision insurance, so the expectation is that its loss ratios would be good. That certainly is the case.

How is collision different from other types of coverage?

Can we be totally honest with you?

Insurance is complicated. Collision, comprehensive, liability, UM/UIM, all of that can get jumbled into your head with few distinctions between them. It may cause some frustration just trying to research it.

That’s why we’ve put together this section: to show you the differences between collision and five other kinds of insurance coverages.

When you finish, you’ll know exactly what collision is and what it isn’t and how it can be paired with other insurance coverages to give you the best possible coverage for you and your vehicle.

What is the difference between collision and comprehensive?

Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage are two coverages that often get confused. They’re often bundled together, with many insurance companies requiring the purchase of both rather than individually.

However, in spite of the confusion, they are actually two very different insurance coverages. Sometimes it can be summed up in a couple of sentences.

  • Collision is (almost) everything for collisions
  • Comprehensive is (almost) anything but collisions

Unlike collision, which is all about hitting something, comprehensive covers a wide variety of incidents — most of which are considered on some level unavoidable or out of your control.

Some examples span the spectrum of things that could but are unlikely to happen.

  • Vehicle theft
  • Weather damage
  • Damage from riots
  • Vandalism
  • Acts of god

The one part of collision and comprehensive that overlaps is hitting an animal. If you were to hit a deer, for instance, you would need to file a comprehensive insurance claim.

This may be due to the fact that hitting an animal can be considered unavoidable, similar to vehicle theft or vandalism. For all other collisions, however, you’d file a claim under your collision insurance coverage. 

For example, even though you may think all weather damages will be filed under comprehensive insurance, this isn’t always the case. For example, collision coverage will cover you if you wreck due to weather conditions, such as hitting an icy patch on the road and slamming into a telephone pole.

Because comprehensive coverage often deals with rarer circumstances than a collision, such as flood damage or theft, its premiums are often lower than collision. A quick look at state data from the NAIC shows premiums are generally between $90 and $260.

District of Columbia$228.59$233.24$233.60$230.25$227.97$230.73
New Hampshire$114.86$110.77$106.62$102.02$99.24$106.70
New Jersey$131.04$131.31$126.05$122.54$117.63$125.71
New Mexico$178.38$172.59$167.70$162.39$163.02$168.82
New York$178.10$171.12$165.02$155.70$147.33$163.45
North Carolina$145.12$136.09$130.46$124.08$115.06$130.16
North Dakota$228.79$231.04$233.06$229.05$225.42$229.47
Rhode Island$135.57$131.87$125.16$118.89$116.41$125.58
South Carolina$190.67$180.94$175.19$165.41$156.22$173.69
South Dakota$277.34$258.11$242.27$227.31$214.07$243.82
West Virginia$208.95$204.28$200.10$195.28$189.20$199.56
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Between 2013 and 2015, collision premiums were on average $176 higher than comprehensive premiums.

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In terms of dollars and cents, insurance companies wrote $28 billion in collision coverage premiums than comprehensive premiums.

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Often, comprehensive is looked at as less used than collision because it deals with rarer circumstances. However, a quick look at NAIC data shows that from 2013 to 2015, people filed 61 percent more comprehensive claims than collision.

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Its loss ratios were four percentage points lower, meaning that fewer comprehensive auto insurance claims were being fulfilled than collision claims.

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Overall, while bundled together often, they are two very different insurance coverages for different purposes. However, together, they can protect your car from most situations.

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What is the difference between collision and liability?

Collision is often confused with liability coverage, as well because — and it’s true — both liability and collision cover collisions and property damage. However, there is a key difference between the two.

  • Collision covers damages to your vehicle when you are at fault
  • Liability covers damages to the other vehicles when you are at fault

And when you’re not at fault, the other person’s liability coverage should cover repairs.

Take the following situation. You rear-end a car and leave a sizable dent. Your car is damaged, as well. You have liability insurance, which is good, as that covers the damages to the other car. But you don’t have collision.

You get to the auto mechanic’s shop and they tell you your car needs $2,000 in repairs. Because you don’t have collision insurance and you were at fault in the accident, you are responsible for that $2,000.

Liability is also required insurance, which makes it very different from collision, which is optional. It’s also more expensive, with average premiums in states ranging from $280 to $880 from 2012 to 2016.

Average Annual Liability Rates
District of Columbia$674.79$628.82$628.73$634.70$624.34$638.28
New Hampshire$410.61$400.56$395.51$391.92$390.72$397.86
New Jersey$902.97$869.54$881.58$882.37$860.59$879.41
New Mexico$495.33$487.95$484.62$464.51$441.11$474.70
New York$840.00$804.51$798.94$791.14$779.51$802.82
North Carolina$370.54$359.42$358.56$355.19$356.63$360.07
North Dakota$296.56$298.18$295.87$285.12$272.71$289.69
Rhode Island$790.13$759.81$739.89$719.48$702.52$742.37
South Carolina$571.62$527.09$510.04$495.96$485.30$518.00
South Dakota$310.82$300.22$297.38$289.39$281.04$295.77
West Virginia$493.72$491.83$505.40$506.60$503.05$500.12
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On average, from 2014 to 2016, liability premiums were $221 higher than collision premiums.

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Between 2014 and 2016, insurance companies wrote more than $66 billion worth in liability premiums compared to collision premiums.

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This amount is likely due to the number of premiums written, as it is required insurance. However, it’s also due to the fact that liability premiums are higher than collision premiums significantly. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first part is that more claims are filed with liability than with collision. More importantly, however, it has to do with the average payout for liability claims versus collision.

As we’ve seen, collision limits are based on the actual cash value of your vehicle. However, another person’s vehicle might be more expensive. Further, liability covers more than just property damage, such as collisions.

It covers medical bills for the other person. This part is called bodily injury liability and it is often lumped together with property damage liability and called liability insurance.

The NAIC numbers show that there were more liability insurance claims filed from 2013 to 2015 than collision insurance claims.

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Liability loss ratios are a little higher than collision loss ratios, which means that more liability insurance claims are being paid out than collision claims.

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What’s the difference between collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist?

Like liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) also reimburses you for damages to your car sustained in an accident. But like liability, it has a key difference compared to collision insurance.

  • UM/UIM only reimburses you for repairs on your car if the other motorist was at fault
  • UM/UIM only reimburses you if the other motorist was at fault and they didn’t have insurance or enough insurance to cover the repairs

However, UM/UIM doesn’t reimburse you if you were found at fault in an accident. UM/UIM also doesn’t cover situations such as hitting an object in the road. So if you are backing out of your driveway and hit a mailbox, only collision insurance will cover your bills.

Now, if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can have your collision coverage kick in. But there is another key difference between collision and UM/UIM. That’s your medical bills.

  • UM/UIM will pay for the damages to your vehicle and your medical bills
  • Collision only pays for the damages to your vehicle

UM/UIM is much less popular than collision, however. From 2013 to 2015, insurance companies earned roughly $33 billion more per year on collision premiums compared to UM/UIM premiums.

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That presumes fewer policies were issued out for UM/UIM than collision. As such, the number of claims should be much lower, as well. NAIC data confirms this.

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On average from 2013 to 2015, 735,000 more collision claims were filed per year than for UM/UIM claims. For those claims, the loss ratios for those years were about even for the two coverages.

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Overall, UM/UIM covers collisions and medical bills but is much less popular than collision. This may be due to UM/UIM’s specificity in that the other driver needs to be both at fault and uninsured or underinsured, whereas collision covers all collisions, at-fault or not.

What’s the difference between collision and GAP?

GAP coverage is a type of insurance that kicks in during one event — when your car is totaled and you still owe money to the dealership or another financial party. It covers the gap between how much your car is worth and what you have left on your loan.

It’s often used in conjunction with collision. The logic works like this. Let’s say you get into a car accident and your car is totaled. Your car had an actual cash value of $5,000 but your loan with the dealer is still $7,000.

You can receive up to $5,000 from your insurance company if you have collision insurance. However, you still need to pay the dealer $2,000. If you have GAP coverage, the insurance company will pay the $2,000 left on the loan.

If you don’t, then you’re on the hook for that $2,000.

Often, people will have both collision and GAP coverage to cover the possibility of a completely totaled car. In that scenario, without either, you would be out of a $5,000 asset and responsible for the $2,000 to the dealer.

GAP, like collision, is optional coverage. As such, it generally has a much smaller average premium. According to the Insurance Information Institute, GAP coverage only adds $20 on average to a person’s annual premium.

This makes it hundreds of dollars less than collision insurance.

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What’s the difference between collision and classic car?

The answer is that it’s something of a misnomer. Classic car insurance protects a classic car far more than a traditional auto policy. Part of a classic car policy includes the ability to set a price for the actual cash value, meaning your car doesn’t go down in value every year.

This is the case for classic cars, which often gain more value over time, assuming they are well-kept and taken care of.

Often, classic car owners will insure their classic car through a regular auto insurance policy, taking on financial risk if the car were to be damaged or totaled. There is collision coverage for a regular policy and collision coverage for a classic car policy, though it can be confusing.

The difference is that a collision coverage for a classic car policy holds to that original agreed-upon “market value.”

So, really, classic car insurance is just another umbrella of insurance, in which collision still works.

Car Insurance Collision Losses Per Vehicle

We’ve all been there. Staring at that fancy sports car in the dealership parking lot wondering if we should take it for a test drive. It’s fast, has 400 horsepower and 1,000-pound feet of torque. It’s built for speed.

Maybe you do and the thought is to buy it. But there’s something you need to know. These types of cars are tough to insure because, well, they cause the insurance industry huge losses. How do we know this?

We looked at the numbers. The next two sections cover which cars from different categories cause the worst financial losses for the insurance industry and are often tougher to insure.

From Bentleys to Dodge Chargers, let’s dig a little deeper.

What were the worst cars for collision insurance from 2012–2014?

The worst cars for collision insurance means one thing. That is, which cars caused the insurance industry the worst losses for that time period. For 2012 to 2014 data, we looked at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association for five categories of cars.

  • Mini cars (two-door)
  • Small cars (station wagons)
  • Midsize cars (sports)
  • Large cars (four-door)
  • Very large cars (luxury)

In many cases, the cars that caused the insurance industry the largest losses were specialty cars with higher quality parts and more expensive features. For this data, anything above 100 equals a loss.

In the case of minicars, two of the three worst cars were actually profitable for the insurance industry.

MakeModelRelative Average Loss Payment
MiniCooper Coupe86
MiniCooper Clubman85
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The small station wagons had some losses but were less costly to insure than other categories.

MakeModelRelative Average Loss Payment
SubaruImpresa WRX 4WD143
NissanVersa Note117
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Of the five categories, midsize sports cars had some of the worst losses for the insurance industry.

MakeModelRelative Average Loss Payment
Ferrari458 Italia two-door655
Ferrari458 convertible374
NissanGT-R two-door 4WD348
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In a trend we’ll see in the next section as well, Dodge Chargers caused some of the worst losses for large four-door vehicles.

MakeModelRelative Average Loss Payment
DodgeCharger HEMI155
FordTaurus SHO 4WD144
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And, of course, there are very large luxury vehicles. Along with sports cars, it was in the two worst categories for insurance losses.

MakeModelRelative Average Loss Payment
BentleyContinental GTC convertible 4WD497
BentleyContinental GT two-door 4WD456
AudiA8L four-door 4WD314
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What were the worst cars for collision insurance from 2015–2017?

For the 2015 to 2017 data, we looked to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Any positive percentage means the insurance industry lost money.

For two-door mini cars, all three of the worst were actually profitable.

MakeModelRelative Loss Compared to Class Average
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For small cars, the three worst cars shifted from 2012 to 2014 to 2015 to 2017. Two of the three cars here were variations of the Ford Focus.

MakeModelRelative Loss Compared to Class Average
FordFocus RS 4WD76%
Scion/ToyotaiM/Corolla iM series13%
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For midsize sports cars, Ferrari is a holdover. However, there are two newcomers.

MakeModelRelative Loss Compared to Class Average
LamborghiniHuracan two-door 4WD462%
Porsche911 Turbo two-door 4WD191%
FerrariCalifornia T convertible177%
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For large four-door cars, there is one car that dominates the list. In fact, it reserves five spots overall from 2012 to 2017. That is the Dodge Charger.

MakeModelRelative Loss Compared to Class Average
DodgeCharger SRT Hellcat120%
DodgeCharger HEMI70%
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For very large luxury cars, it’s familiar names with different models.

MakeModelRelative Loss Compared to Class Average
BentleyBentley Continental GT two-door 4WD586%
BentleyContinental Flying Spur four-dour 4WD412%
AudiS8 four-door 4WD348%
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Car Insurance Collision Coverage Rate Factors

Listen — we know that car insurance is confusing.

On top of all the statistics and explanations, there are all the factors that go into your collision car insurance rates. You may encounter them in the quote process and ask yourself, “How are these being used to set my insurance rates?”

To provide some clarity when it comes to this, in this section we’ll cover three major determinants of your collision car insurance rates and one surprise.

  • Your vehicle make and model
  • Your area
  • Your driving record
  • Your commute rate

Bear with us, we know this is a lot of information. By the end, you’ll know how insurance companies set rates and will be able to use that to your advantage. Let’s get going.

Why does your vehicle matter when it comes to collision insurance?

When it comes to collision insurance, there are a few factors that influence rates more than others. One of those is your vehicle or, in particular, the value of your vehicle.

We’ve seen in the previous section that the cars that take the most losses for the insurance industry are luxury cars and sports cars.

These are expensive cars with expensive parts. In other words, they cost a lot to begin with and are harder to repair if damaged.

When looking at the three cars for each time period that incurred the most losses, four of those six cars had an original MSRP of $200,000 or above.

ModelMakeYearCategoryMSRPLoss for Insurance Industry
Ferrari458 Italia two-door2014sports$233,500655
BentleyBentley Continental GT two-door 4WD2017luxury$235,000586
BentleyContinental GTC convertible 4WD2014luxury$238,000497
LamborghiniHuracan two-door 4WD2017sports$200,000 (+/-)462
AudiS8 four-door 4WD2017luxury$83,500348
AudiA8L four-door 4WD2014luxury$82,500314
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If these cars are totaled, the actual cash value might be around $200,000. This means, likely, that premiums for collision insurance are higher for these cars. In general, insurance rates increase for newer cars and cars with more technological parts.

The following data and the data covering car insurance rates in the next two sections come from our partner, Quadrant. It has the inside track on the insurance industry and creates statistics based on real purchased policies like yours.

Company2015 Ford F-150: Lariat SuperCab with 2WD 6.5-foot bed and 2.7L V62015 Honda Civic Sedan: LX with 2.0L 4cyl and CVT2015 Toyota RAV4: XLE2018 Ford F-150: Lariat SuperCab with 2WD 6.5-foot bed and 2.7L V62018 Honda Civic Sedan: LX with 2.0L 4cyl and CVT2018 Toyota RAV4: XLEAverage
American Family$3,447.30$3,178.82$3,326.18$3,487.91$3,721.32$3,496.99$3,443.09
Liberty Mutual$5,830.16$5,869.32$5,825.33$5,988.85$6,682.63$6,244.44$6,073.46
State Farm$3,204.23$3,024.24$3,226.02$3,497.17$3,189.99$3,418.33$3,260.00
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In this case for the top 10 insurance companies in America, Honda Civics have the most expensive premiums, followed by the Ford F150 and the Toyota RAV4.

When it comes to really expensive cars, the kinds that lead to huge losses for insurance companies, many companies won’t even insure them. Progressive, for instance, has a policy that it can’t insure cars worth over $150,000.

There are smaller insurance companies that specialize in insurance that entails a high risk. While often this refers to high-risk drivers, it can also include vehicles such as Bentleys and Ferraris.

For these customers, premiums on collision insurance are likely to be higher, as the actual cash value of the vehicle is much higher than the norm.

Why does the area matter when it comes to collision insurance?

In general, the area you live in influences your insurance rates.

Different states can have different average rates for factors like court systems, driving hazards, and the skills of the drivers. Even within a state, rates can differ. And rates can differ within ZIP codes due to numerous factors, as well.

The difference in a low-cost state such as New Hampshire and a high-cost state in Michigan is in the hundreds.

  • On the low end – New Hampshire with $818.75
  • On the high end – Michigan with $1,364

Within a state, like in this example about Michigan, rates differ in the thousands.

  • Cheapest – St. Louis at $7,916.29
  • Most expensive – Detroit at $26,966.81

Even within ZIP codes, like these two in New Hampshire, rates can vary.

  • Cheapest – 03109 at $3,720.88
  • Most expensive – 03104 (Manchester) at $3,845.88

For collision insurance, a good predictor of how high or low your premium will be compared to the averages in other states is population density.

For population density, we cross-referenced U.S. Census Bureau population data from 2015 with the landmasses of the U.S. states. From there, we compared density with average premiums from 2015.

StatesAverage Population DensityAverage Collision Rate
Top 25 Above765$330.56
Bottom 25 Below45$277.03
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The top 25 most densely populated states with an average of 765 people per square mile had an average collision premium that was almost $67 higher than the average premium for the 25 least densely populated states.

However, there are some exceptions, such as Alaska, with the lowest population density having a higher premium than average, and vice versa for Ohio.

These cases show there are other factors influencing collision premiums and that two-car accidents aren’t the end-all, be-all. Other factors that influence single-vehicle crashes, such as driving conditions, must be considered as well.

Why does your driving record matter when it comes to collision insurance?

When it comes to insurance premiums, one of the biggest factors influencing them is your driving record. Whether you get a DUI, a speeding ticket, or get into an accident, your rates can jump up hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

For the top 10 companies, the largest jump from a clean record is with one DUI at about $1,800. Getting into one accident is second at about $1,000.

CompanyClean recordWith one accidentWith one DUIWith one speeding violationAverage
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74$3,443.09
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26$6,073.46
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01$3,260.00
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For collision insurance, it makes sense that the part of your driving record that most influences your premiums is with an accident.

If you’re in an accident, you might need to file a collision claim, which can cause collision rates (and your rates overall) to increase.

In the United States for 2014, drivers in the top 25 states with the most collision claims paid a slightly higher average premium than the bottom 25.

Median (Above/Below)Incurred Claims (2014)Average Collision Premiums
Top 25 Above6,876,525$299.26
Bottom 25 Below1,077,542$287.04
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The difference is slight, but it’s still there.

Why do age, gender, and other factors matter when it comes to collision insurance?

When it comes to car insurance, there are demographics that influence your rates, and likely your collision rates along with them. These range from gender and other demographic factors to your credit history.

Insurance companies generally like to determine how likely you are to file a claim when setting rates. The logic goes that the higher the likelihood you have to cost them money, the higher they will set your premium.

For instance, males engage in riskier driving behavior than females and as such have higher rates (at least in most past years) than women. Someone who is married is likely to be a more responsible driver.

And your credit history can predict, at least according to car insurance companies, your likelihood of filing a claim. These can all affect your collision insurance rate, along with liability, comprehensive, and more.

Should you add collision coverage to your auto insurance policy?

It begins with a feeling of dread. You’ve hit another car and are filing a collision claim with your insurance company. They want information but you don’t have it. And you know it will spike your rates. What should you do?

If you’ve been in this situation before, you’re likely getting anxious right now just thinking about it. Dealing with insurance companies is something no one ever wakes up saying they want to do.

And yet we have to sometimes. So how does this all work with collision insurance? We put this section in mind for those who want the nuts and bolts: how to make a claim, how to get the best rate, even how to drop collision coverage if you don’t want it.

All that you need to get things done. Let’s fire away.

How do you file a claim with collision coverage?

We know that filing a claim is stressful. Here are four steps to make it easier.

Gather All Necessary Information

The first step after you’ve gotten into an accident or been the victim of an incident is to gather all the necessary information. This means the contact information of the other parties and any witness statements.

Take all the pictures you can of the damage. This includes damage to your car, any of the other vehicles involved, or any property damage. Call your agent right away to get all the necessary services, such as towing or anything else you need.

Submit Your Claim to Your Insurance Company

Next, you’ll submit your claim to your insurance company. Generally, there are a few ways you can do this.

  • By phone – Some companies will allow you to talk to a claims representative so you can submit your claim over the phone.
  • By website – If you have an online account with your company, you can often submit claims through its web portal.
  • By mobile app – If your company has a mobile app, often you can submit a claim through it.

In the claim, make sure to detail all the information necessary and submit any pictures you have. This isn’t an option over the phone, making it a method that can slow down the claims process.

Deal With Adjusters

Because you’re dealing with a collision claim and one that has damage to your vehicle, often your insurance company will send out an adjuster.

An adjuster is someone who analyzes the damage to your vehicle and suggests to the insurance company how much it’ll cost to repair it.

The important thing to note about the claims adjuster is that he or she works for the insurance company. Getting your own quotes from repair shops you trust is one way to provide balance and make sure you aren’t being cheated.

If you feel the claims adjuster’s quote is too low, you can argue directly with that adjuster or provide information from your own shops.

File an Appeal

If you’ve gone through all the steps and you feel that the insurance company is still low-balling you, then it’s possible with some companies to file an appeal. In some cases, this goes through an internal appeals department in an insurance company.

This is to ensure that your case will be handled impartially.

If Your Car is Totaled

When your car is totaled, the money needed to repair the car is more than the actual cash value of the car. Another term for this is when your car is deemed a total loss.

In this case, your insurance company will likely pay you the actual cash value for the vehicle if you have a collision insurance policy. However, if you still owe money on the car, you’ll be responsible for it, unless you have GAP coverage.

How do you get the best rate with collision coverage?

In all of this, you might be wondering how to get the best rate. After all, car insurance is expensive and every dollar can be saved for your next big vacation or purchase. There are a few ways to get the best rate.

The first trick you can use is raising your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you have to pay before your payout from the car insurance company. Take, for instance, the situation of rear-ending another car and the front of your car is damaged.

You might think, “Hey, look, I have collision coverage. I won’t have to pay a dime.”

The truth is, though, you’ll have to pay something. If there’s $2,000 worth of damage to the front of your car and you have a $500 deductible on your collision policy, you pay $500 worth of the repairs and your insurance company pays $1,500.

You can lower your premium overall by raising the deductible. It’s a risk, as you’ll have to pay out more if your car is damaged, but it can save you some money from month to month.

The second trick you can do is to ask your insurance agent or company for more discounts.

While there are some standard discounts, such as the good driver discount that most people know about, there are plenty more that are not as discussed or advertised.

In fact, most top companies have 20 to 30 or more.

DiscountsAllstateAmerican FamilyFarmersGeicoLiberty MutualNationwideProgressiveState FarmTravelersUSAA
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive Headlights
Anti-lock Brakes
Claim Free
Continuous Coverage
Daytime Running Lights
Defensive Driver
Distant Student
Driver's Ed
Driving Device/App
Early Signing
Electronic Stability Control
Emergency Deployment
Family Legacy
Family Plan
Farm Vehicle
Federal Employee
Forward Collision Warning
Full Payment
Further Education
Good Credit
Good Student
Green Vehicle
Lane Departure Warning
Life Insurance
Low Mileage
Military Garaging
Multiple Policies
Multiple Vehicles
New Address
New Customer/New Plan
New Graduate
Newer Vehicle
Newly Licensed
Occasional Operator
On-time Payments
Online Shopper
Paperless Documents
Paperless/Auto Billing
Passive Restraint
Recent Retirees
Safe Driver
Seat Belt Use
Senior Driver
Stable Residence
Students and Alumni
Switching Provider
Utility Vehicle
Vehicle Recovery
VIN Etching
Young Driver
Discounts Provided #28273432383536202828
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Asking for more discounts can lower your rate and save you money, which is sometimes a great deal.

The third trick you can use is your company’s telematics system, which most companies have to get discounts on your rates — sometimes up to 35 percent.

What is a telematics system?

It’s a system that monitors your driving, usually through an app. It looks out for factors like sharp turning, hard-braking, and distracted driving. Some provide feedback on driving performance and all provide discounts to qualified drivers.

Check out your insurance company’s website for more information.

How do you drop collision coverage from your policy?

Much like adding or dropping any particular policy, talk to your agent or call the company.

Car Insurance Collision Coverage Scenarios

We know you’re wondering, “Well, I know that collision insurance covers collisions. But what about certain situations?”

And that’s true. Collision is a very broad term that can cover quite a bit but might leave some gray areas. Fortunately, we cover four areas you might have questions about.

  • Rollovers
  • Fixed-object crashes
  • Hitting a pothole
  • Hit-and-runs

Let’s rock and roll.

How do rollovers relate to collision coverage?

Using the NHTSA’s Crash Sampling System, we found that 23.5 percent of fatal crashes from 2014 to 2018 involved a rollover — though rollovers accounted for just 3.6 percent of total crashes.

As the noted in 2010, there are three major contributing factors to rollovers and rollover fatalities.

  • Speeding
  • Alcohol use
  • Rural areas

They are very dangerous crashes. However, they are also covered under collision coverage.

How does hitting a fixed object relate to collision coverage?

Fixed object crashes are dangerous, especially when a car leaves the road. These situations account for 20 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities.

As the IIHS notes: A total of 7,422 people died in fixed-object crashes in 2018, 6 percent fewer than in 2017 and 30 percent fewer than in 1979. The proportion of motor vehicle crash deaths involving collisions with fixed objects has remained between 19 and 23 percent since 1979.

Fortunately, from the insurance standpoint, hitting a fixed object is covered under collision insurance.

However, as always, this varies on circumstances. If someone has been found to have been breaking the law, such as texting and driving or drinking and driving, they may have their claim denied.

How does hitting a pothole relate to collision coverage?

According to, citing AAA, “[P]othole damages to U.S. motorists total about $3 billion per year.” On a per-pothole-incident basis, that works out to about $300 per driver.

If you hit a pothole and sustain damage, there are a few courses of action you can take.

You can talk to your insurance company and file a claim. It’s covered under collision insurance. Even if the damage is slight, paying for it will go to your deductible.

You can talk to the city or municipality and ask for reimbursement for your car repairs. This rarely works, however, as you or a lawyer would need to prove that the city knew about the pothole and didn’t repair it in adequate time.

How do hit-and-runs relate to collision coverage?

AAA writes that “in 2016, there were 1,980 fatal hit-and-run crashes resulting in 2,049 fatalities.” Hit-and-runs are dangerous instances and frustrating, as well. However, are they covered under collision insurance?

The quick answer is yes. The long answer is maybe. The reason is that insurance companies are reticent to fulfill claims for hit-and-run accidents under collision insurance. The reason?

Fraud. Without another driver to confirm that there has been an accident, an insurance company is relying on your word or any evidence. This can lead to denial.

The best advice? Find any witnesses around, file a police report, and talk to the police department about pulling any video evidence from a camera.

Is collision coverage right for you?

We know it all boils down to a decision — should you get it? You’ve got all the premium data, the loss ratios, all those factors, how it contrasts with all the other coverages, and more.

Now, it’s at that point. So what do you do when you have all the information? You might still be wondering if you need this coverage on your policy, so we’re going to wrap up with three situations that might help you come to a decision.

  • When you might need it
  • When you might want it
  • When you might not need it

Let’s go.

When might you need collision coverage?

Often, especially if you’re leasing the vehicle, your lender or other parties will require you to have collision insurance. It’s there to protect their investment, even if you have a sterling driving record and a good credit history.

In these cases, collision insurance is required.

You might also want to think about GAP insurance if you have a loan on your vehicle. This type of coverage will pay for the difference between what you still owe on your loan and the cash value of your vehicle after it’s totaled.

You don’t want to end up paying for a loan on a vehicle you can no longer drive.

When might you want collision coverage?

The list for when you might want collision insurance is fairly lengthy.

  • When you have a new car
  • When you have a car with a lot of value
  • When you don’t have cash reserves to pay for a new car
  • When you want peace of mind at night in the event you are involved in an accident
  • When your streets are filled with potholes
  • When the drivers in your city are not very good

Ultimately, it’s there for your financial protection. If you’re in a circumstance where damage to your car would cause financial hardship, it’s not a bad idea.

When might you not need collision coverage?

In this case, the answer is fairly simple. It all comes down to the actual cash value of your car. There comes a certain point where the money you’re paying on collision premiums will exceed the value of a car.

Generally, for a car that’s worth a significant amount, this point is well-off in the future. However, if you have a car that’s worth $3,000 and in one year you’d pay $1,500 in collision premiums, you’d have paid half of what the car’s worth.

The general rule is that if you’re paying 25 percent of your car’s value in collision premiums each month, it might be time to rethink it. After all, that money could go to a new car or another form of transportation.

What’s the bottom line on collision coverage?

The bottom line is this: Collision insurance can protect your car (and more importantly, your finances). If you’re in an accident that was your fault, your repair bills will be covered. This can keep you from huge financial losses.

It’s roughly around $300 across the board, more or less, per premium. This makes it relatively affordable. It can even help with situations when you’re hit by an uninsured motorist, or basic situations, such as hitting a pothole.

However, there are certain situations where you might not need it. These situations involve numbers — essentially, how much your car is worth and whether your premiums will eventually amount to more than the actual cash value of your car.

Then, it’s a judgment call. If you’re looking for protection and the actual cash value of your car is worth far more than your premium, then it might be for you.

But if your car has little value, you might be better saving the money you’d pay on a premium and put it toward a new car or other purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions: Collision Car Insurance Coverage

With insurance coverages, there are always frequently asked questions. Here are five for collision insurance.

#1 – What is collision insurance?

Collision is a type of insurance that protects your car after it’s collided with something. In most conditions, if you’re in an accident and have collision insurance, your insurance company will reimburse you for repair bills.

It’s not exact. If you’re found to have been breaking the law at the time of the accident, you might have trouble getting your claim paid. But it includes most situations with collisions except for hitting an animal.

#2 – When should you drop collision insurance?

You should drop collision when your premiums over the course of two years exceed or will exceed the actual cash value of your car. For instance, if your car is worth $2,400 and you pay $100 per month on an insurance premium, you’d pay $2,400 in two years for a car worth that much. In that case, you might consider saving the money and putting it to something else.

#3 – Why is collision insurance so expensive?

Out of all the core coverages, collision is the second-most expensive behind liability insurance. Premiums can vary due to numerous factors, including the actual cash value of your car, your driving record, the number of crashes in your area, and demographic factors, such as age and gender.

#4 – How does collision insurance work?

Collision insurance works by reimbursing you for repair bills when you’re in an accident. After you submit your claim, you work with a claims adjuster and receive independent assessments for the cost of repairs before coming to a decision with your insurance company over the amount of the reimbursement.

#5 – Who needs collision insurance?

Although there are certain situations where you might want to say someone needs collision insurance, such as when someone has a new expensive car, the only time you really need it is when your lender requires it. In those cases (and only in those cases), it’s legally required to have collision insurance.

Well, you made it. Congratulations. We know that was a lot of information. We want to hear from you. Did we miss anything?

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