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What is comprehensive insurance and what does it cover? – MoneySense


Since both coverages are optional, you have the option of opting out of one or the other. For example, some drivers choose to drop collision coverage on an aging vehicle, while keeping comprehensive. If the cost of your collision insurance is 10% or more of the value of the car—say, your car is worth $4,000 and you pay $400 per year for collision coverage—then you are likely to save money by opting out of it. As a rule, comprehensive insurance typically costs less than collision, giving drivers more incentive to hang onto it, even as their car depreciates in value. 

Do I need comprehensive insurance?

In many cases, comprehensive coverage is optional. However, it is mandatory in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan—much like collision coverage. 

“Auto insurance is regulated by each province or territory. Each sets up their own automobile insurance framework,” de Pruis says. Some provinces have private insurers. But the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have government insurance. And the latter two have simply decided to make comprehensive mandatory for all drivers, de Pruis says. 

Comprehensive will also likely be required if you have leased or financed your vehicle. It’s the same with collision coverage. “We have to remember in a lease situation, you don’t own the vehicle—someone else owns the vehicle, you’re just leasing it from them,” adds de Pruis. It’s not surprising, then, that they would ask for your vehicle to be covered for common types of damages. 

Even if comprehensive coverage is not required for your car, there are still many reasons to consider it. Repairs to vehicles can add up quickly; whether you have a small dent in a bumper or need an entire new windshield after hail damage, estimates can easily be in the thousands. Those unexpected expenses aren’t always budgeted for, and having comprehensive coverage can mean only being out-of-pocket for your deductible (the portion of the costs you’re required to pay when making a claim). Bear in mind that risks of theft and weather damage can vary from one province to another—or even from one neighbourhood to another—due to regional weather conditions and crime rates. 

How much does comprehensive insurance cost in Canada? 

Car insurance quotes are based on many factors, including your driving record and the specific car you drive. For this reason, when thinking about the cost of a particular coverage, it’s often easier to consider the average cost of overall premiums for drivers in your province. You can find that information in our guide to the best auto insurance

On its website, IBC publishes insurance claims data, collected from multiple insurance companies in Canada, that is sorted by make, model and year of the vehicle. You can reference it to learn about your vehicle type’s history of insurance claims. That will help you determine if you are likely to pay above or below the average for coverage. The more claims are associated with a type of vehicle, the more its owners are likely to pay in premiums.

On top of your premiums, there’s also the deductible to think about. Deductibles vary for comprehensive insurance, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $300 on top of your base insurance package. When shopping for an auto insurance quote, either online or with your insurance broker over the phone, make sure to request a detailed breakdown of the premium and included coverages. 

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