How do I file a comprehensive damage car insurance claim?

You can file a comprehensive car insurance claim for damage from hail, flooding, or theft. If your car was vandalized or stolen, you must have a police report accompanying the comprehensive car insurance claim.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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: May 26, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You must first understand what comprehensive coverage protects to make sure your potential claim is appropriate
  • You must then decide if your claim requires a police report to accompany it
  • Decide if the cost to fix your vehicle is worth making a claim

Filing a comprehensive damage auto insurance claim with your car insurance company should be a fairly simple process. Depending on the company, however, the follow-up may require some more management.

Not all claims are processed as quickly as the consumer would like, so you may need to stay in regular contact with your agent until you receive your insurance check or your vehicle is repaired accordingly.

Read on to learn all about how to file a comprehensive damage auto insurance claim and then enter your ZIP code above to start comparing FREE car insurance quotes!

What’s covered in comprehensive car insurance?


Comprehensive damage is an optional insurance policy for your vehicle that covers various incidents that are not related to an accident. This coverage could include damage to your car from:

  • Hail storms
  • Flying debris on the highway
  • Vandalism
  • Car theft
  • Fire

If your car is financed or leased, most banks or dealers require you to carry comprehensive damage, but when you own the car outright it is up to you if you want this type of coverage.

Some people choose to carry this coverage until their cars are older and have depreciated significantly in value. Some people also choose to keep this coverage but may increase the deductible to lower the premium.

As shown in our article, 15 Shocking Car Insurance Claim Statistics, comprehensive car insurance claims can be some of the most expensive, as they sometimes deal with cars labeled a “total loss.”

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Filing a Comprehensive Damage Car Insurance Claim

Depending on the type of comprehensive damage auto insurance claim you need to file, you may need a police report. This is the case if your car is vandalized, stolen, or sometimes even if the car was subject to fire.

If your car was the victim of a natural disaster or some other mishap, such as a broken window from a rock on the highway, you will most likely not need a police report.

If you need to file a claim with your car insurance company, you should follow their specific procedures. Typically this involves calling your agent or in some cases completing a claim request form online.

Once you have filed the claim, you will most likely be given an appointment to meet with the claims adjuster. Sometimes they will come to your home or place of work, but other times you may need to bring your car to a predetermined body shop.

After your claim is processed, you will either be approved or denied.

If your comprehensive damage auto insurance claim is denied and you believe that decision to be erroneous, contact your agent for dispute assistance. If you are approved, then you will either be issued a check or a body shop will be paid to perform the necessary repairs.

If your vehicle is stolen, you may need to wait out a certain “recovery period” before you are able to receive compensation.

For your convenience, you should always keep a copy of your insurance agent information on your being and in your car at all times.

You may also find it useful to keep a pad of paper and a pen in the glove box so that you can record details of any insurance claim related events as they occur.

For example, if your window gets hit with a rock on a highway, recording the date, time, and approximate location of the incident can help substantiate your claim. This can be especially useful in speeding up the claims process and assisting with approval.

Saving Money on Comprehensive Damage Car Insurance Policies

Most car insurance companies offer comprehensive damage as an optional policy. The common deductibles are:

  • $250 per incident
  • $500 per incident
  • $1000 per incident

The lower the deductible, the higher the premium.

If you are able to afford the higher deductible, it may be a good way to save some money on your car insurance.

Also, beware of filing comprehensive claims for smaller dollar incidents. If the repair is under your deductible amount it does not warrant a phone call to the insurance company.

Sometimes, though, even if the repair goes over the deductible you may not want to put in a claim for it because the cost savings may not outweigh the possible insurance increase that is common whenever a claim is processed.

For example, if you have a broken windshield that costs $300 to repair and your deductible is $250, then you may just want to pay for the windshield completely out of pocket and not go through your insurance company.

The only true out of pocket difference is $50 and that may not be worth risking an increase in your insurance premium.

As is the case with all insurance policies, the best way to save money on car insurance is to shop around.

Comprehensive insurance is a standard option with most companies, so you can compare rates from different insurance carriers to find the best rates available for you.

Be sure to request quotes for the same deductible so that you are doing a fair comparison and make sure the benefits are the same or at least similar.

To get started receiving free quotes now with no obligation, enter your ZIP code below!

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