What is Comprehensive Car Insurance in Canada?

Comprehensive car insurance is a form of coverage that can help you repair or replace your vehicle in certain circumstances which include events that are beyond your control and do not involve a collision.

For instance, it can protect you from the financial implications of fire and hail damage, vandalism, hitting an animal, damage or destruction caused by falling objects, and other perils.

If you own your vehicle outright, comprehensive insurance is usually optional coverage.

The exception is Manitoba, where all perils coverage is mandatory and includes comprehensive and collision.

Nonetheless, you may want to consider this coverage even if it isn’t mandated in your area as mandatory provincial and territorial insurance requirements offer no protection for your vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance coverage is usually required if you’ve financed or leased a vehicle as these companies want to protect their interests against as many risks as possible.

What does Comprehensive Insurance Cover?

As aforementioned, comprehensive insurance helps you replace or repair your vehicle if you experience a loss due to an event, other than a collision.

Examples include:

  • Theft – provincial and territorial mandatory insurance requirements usually only address liability, accident benefits, and bodily injury, not vehicle damage or loss. Unless you have comprehensive coverage, you’re out of luck if someone steals your vehicle.
  • Vandalism – if someone keys or spray paints your car, or slashes your tires, comprehensive coverage can offer compensation.
  • Fire – comprehensive coverage usually isn’t mandatory if you own your vehicle outright, but you will not have protection against fire without it. If you experience a total loss, you’ll pay out-of-pocket for another vehicle.
  • Weather-related events – mandatory coverage usually does not protect your vehicle from hail, hurricane winds, or debris from a tornado that causes damage or a write off, unless it includes comprehensive too. Comprehensive offers compensation up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.
  • Falling objects – if a tree, telephone pole, or another object falls on your car, comprehensive insurance can compensate you for the damage or loss, up to the cash value of your vehicle.
  • Animal damage – should you hit a deer on your daily commute or find a rodent destroyed your upholstery and vehicle wiring, comprehensive insurance could help you recoup your losses.
  • Civil disturbance – if an unruly crowd decides to upturn or destroy your vehicle during a riot or demonstration, you can file a claim if you have comprehensive coverage.
Lady calling insurance company

What’s Not Covered with Comprehensive Insurance?

Any damage or loss to your vehicle or someone else’s vehicle caused by a collision is not covered under comprehensive insurance.

Comprehensive insurance does not cover medical expenses for you or your passengers either.

Moreover, it does not cover liability lawsuits, legal fees, or settlement costs.

Additionally, comprehensive insurance does not include your deductible.

You usually need to pay this when you file a claim.

However, some policies allow repairs for a stone chip in your windshield or damage caused by lightning or fire repairs without a deductible.

Check your policy carefully or talk to your insurance agent.

Every comprehensive insurance policy also has a maximum limit.

Generally, this is the actual cash value of your vehicle.

Insurers determine this amount by comparing your vehicle to others of a similar make, model, age, condition, and mileage.

As a result, whether you experience a total loss or significant damage to your vehicle, the most your policy will pay is your vehicle’s assessed current value, which includes depreciation.

Your deductible will also reduce your overall compensation.

In some cases, this makes comprehensive insurance impractical.

If the cost of this coverage exceeds your potential pay back, you may not want to buy it.

However, if you own a more valuable vehicle, you may want this coverage.

If your vehicle is stolen or written off, you could replace it without paying a significant amount out-of-pocket.

The reimbursement from your insurer would cover the majority of your loss.

Comprehensive vs. Collision Insurance

Comprehensive and Collision insurance are not the same.

They’re meant to cover different scenarios.

Basically, collision covers you if you are in an accident or if you hit an object such as a rock or fence.

Comprehensive covers you when your vehicle is damaged by an event other than a collision.

However, they do have some similarities.

Comprehensive
Insurance
Collision
Insurance
Coverage Limit Actual cash value Actual cash value
Covers damage to your car If caused by a covered peril, other than a collision If caused by a collision
Covers damage to another vehicle No No
Deductible Yes Yes
Cost Less expensive More expensive

Did You Know?

Some insurers offer all perils coverage that bundles comprehensive and collision together. It covers all risks, unless they are specifically excluded within the policy. This provides additional protection for unforeseen events such as when your car is stolen or damaged by another driver or someone in your household. This option is often more affordable than buying the two coverages separately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an example of comprehensive insurance?
  • Is comprehensive full coverage?

Charlene Royston has written extensively for the private, public, and non-profit sectors for over ten years. Her experience working with a trust company led to a special interest in personal finance, including mortgages, investments, and retirement options. By simplifying the complex, she hopes to empower others to make more informed decisions.