D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Collision coverage is often required if your vehicle is leased or financed.
  • If you own an older vehicle outright, it may not be as cost-effective to have collision coverage.
  • If an underinsured motorist hits you, collision coverage could come in handy.

Before choosing a car insurance policy, it’s essential to know about all the coverage options available to you. Collision insurance is an add-on that can save you money if you have an accident. The following article will explore the collision insurance definition, how it works, and how it is part of what to look for in a good policy if you want full coverage.

Choosing between car insurance companies may seem like a tough task, but we can help you learn which company might be best for you.  You can also start comparing collision car insurance quotes right now by using our free quote tool.

What is collision insurance?

Collision insurance is an optional coverage that protects you and your vehicle if you’re in an accident. Unlike liability insurance, which covers the other driver’s car if an accident is your fault, collision insurance will cover your car even if the crash is your fault.

Collision insurance is also important if the person who hit you doesn’t have much liability insurance. If they only carry $5,000 in property damage liability insurance but the damage to your car was $10,000, your collision insurance would cover the remaining $5,000 in damages.

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What does collision insurance cover?

Collision insurance covers what it costs to fix your car if you hit another vehicle and you’re found at fault. It will also pay if you roll or total your car and if you hit something like a telephone pole or mailbox.

If another driver hits you and they don’t have insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover the total cost of repairing your car, collision insurance would take over. It also might be worth considering adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy to avoid that particular circumstance.

How much is collision insurance?

Collision insurance rates can vary by state, vehicle type, and driving history. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average annual collision car insurance rate is $363, or about $30/month.

StatesAverage Annual Collision Rates
South Dakota$208.58
North Dakota$244.09
South Carolina$265.07
New Mexico$276.98
North Carolina$293.59
New Hampshire$307.42
West Virginia$329.67
New Jersey$381.86
New York$385.02
Rhode Island$411.51
District of Columbia$468.67
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Keep in mind that you may need to consider the total worth of your vehicle when deciding whether or not to purchase collision insurance. In most cases, it’s possible to find affordable collision car insurance easily.

What is a collision insurance deductible?

A collision insurance deductible is an out-of-pocket cost that you contribute before your insurance kicks in. Another way to think of a collision insurance deductible is what you have to contribute to repairing your vehicle.

If the deductible on your collision car insurance is $500 and the total damage amount is $1,500, that means you have to pay $500 towards repairs and your collision car insurance company will pay the remaining $1000.

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Do I need collision insurance?

Officially, no state requires you to carry collision coverage on your policy. However, if your car is financed in any way it’s likely that your lender will require you to have collision insurance.

If you caused an accident and you have a newer vehicle that you could not pay out of pocket to fix or replace, having a policy that includes collision coverage is recommended.

If you have an old car, choosing whether or not to have collision coverage is a little trickier. You’ll want to weigh your collision insurance rates against the total value of your car. If insuring your car costs more than what your car is worth, you might be able to skip adding collision to your policy.

All policies are not created equal, so make sure to research enough to find exactly what kind of coverage makes the most sense.

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According to the RMIIA, the average collision insurance claims are above $3,000. Consider whether or not you could afford to pay that cost yourself if you had to. Though thinking about worst case scenarios isn’t ideal, adding collision insurance to your policy may be beneficial in the long run.

Are you ready to buy collision car insurance? Start comparing quotes from collision car insurance companies today by entering your ZIP code into our free quote tool.