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Collision Coverage in an Automobile Insurance Policy

The majority of insurance companies that write auto insurance define collision coverage as “the upset of the covered auto or its impact with another vehicle or object.” Most folks find this language difficult to understand, not unlike most of the writing in any insurance policies. In layman’s terms, the line means that collision coverage covers any type of physical contact between the covered vehicle and another vehicle or object that causes damage to the covered vehicle. Minus any deductible on the policy, collision auto insurance coverage covers:

  • Any damage that results from the upset of the covered vehicle
  • Any damage caused by the impact of the covered vehicle with another vehicle or an object

Unlike other types of insurance, collision coverage and recompense is not dependent on who was at fault for causing the collision. The policy’s insured is entitled to collision benefits whether they caused the accident or not. Under most circumstances, the insurance company that wrote the policy gets to choose how it will pay the claim and this is usually one of the following ways:

  • They can choose to issue the policyholder compensation that covers the cost of repairing their vehicle and/or replace the property that was lost.
  • They can issue the policyholder a payment representing the actual cash value of the damaged property. This approach is less popular with policyholders as the insurance company frequently deducts for depreciation and damage such as preexisting dents, rust, missing rearview mirrors, etc.

Collision benefits can also be paid on vehicles damaged in a collision that the policyholder does not own. Few of us with collision coverage on our insurance policy or collision coverage that is included in ‘full coverage auto insurance’ think about what, precisely, our insurance covers until we’ve been in an accident and discover that we’re on the hook for expenses we thought our insurance policy covered. Since you never know when you might need your policy’s collision coverage, it might be a good time to read over your policy soon and contact your insurance agent about any aspects of the policy for which you need clarification.

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