The comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy includes coverage for specified “other than collision” damages including theft, vandalism, weather, fire, falling objects, animal damage, and glass breakage. By far the most frequently reported comprehensive loss at our office involves glass damage.

With comprehensive coverage you will have a deductible. As a reminder, a deductible is the amount you pay for any covered loss before your insurance kicks in. Deductibles for comprehensive coverage typically range from as little as $100 up to $1,000.

Historically individuals have maintained low deductibles on comprehensive coverage. Given glass damage is the most frequent type of comprehensive loss and replacing a windshield typically costs several hundred dollars this made sense – if you carried a $500 or $1,000 comprehensive deductible you were going to be stuck with the entire cost of replacing a damaged windshield.

Many insurance companies now offer a full glass benefit. With this benefit the comprehensive deductible is waived for any glass repair or replacement. This provides a tremendous opportunity for taking advantage of savings for a higher deductible while still avoiding any out-of-pocket expense for the most common type of comprehensive loss.

Here is a real-life example comparing comprehensive deductibles with the annual cost of insurance with a full glass benefit:

$100 Deductible: $324
$250 Deductible: $234
Full Glass Benefit: $36
Total Cost: $270

$500 Deductible: $191
Full Glass Benefit: $36
Total Cost: $227

In this example the policy owner would save $97 a year by increasing their comprehensive deductible from $100 to $500 while adding a full glass benefit.

The type of car and driver assigned affects the cost of comprehensive coverage, so there is always going to be a calculation to know whether a higher deductible and full glass benefit will be a good value. You also need to weigh any upfront savings with your risk of loss and higher potential expense on the back end for any other comprehensive losses. It would be worthwhile to ask your agent for a cost comparison, similar to the one above, to help you make an informed decision.

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