Marissa Hayes

Insurance Writer & Expert

Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

Insurance Writer & Expert

Daniel Walker

Licensed Insurance Agent

Daniel Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has run his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for over 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an insurance agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, life, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. To ensure our content is accura...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 4, 2023

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

What is collision coverage?

Collision coverage is an optional addition to an auto insurance policy. This type of coverage works by allowing the insured to collect money for any physical damages incurred in a collision. This policy add-on will cover the damages made to your vehicle regardless of who hit it, who is at fault, or if the other individuals in the accident have car insurance.

Collision vs. Liability Insurance Coverage

Collision coverage is better protection than just property damage liability coverage because it covers your property in an accident and not just the damages you may have done to someone else’s property. This is a lifesaver for those that get into a crash with uninsured drivers who cannot afford to pay for the damages done your vehicle or personal property.

The catch with collision coverage is that there is almost always a deductible that must be met before the insurance can be used. Insurance policies with small deductibles tend to cost more per month since it is the insurance company taking on the majority of the risk. The larger a deductible that you have, the less you will pay in monthly premiums since you are required to pay up to the deductible amount out of pocket before the insurance company pays you anything.

Do I have to purchase collision coverage?

None of the 50 states currently requires drivers to purchase collision auto insurance coverage. Many states mandate car insurance as a protection against damages they may incur and be liable for towards other individuals. However, if the damages are to your personal property the government forces you to be responsible for your own protection.

Collision coverage is a great idea to protect yourself and your property but is not required by any legal entity.

The only possible exception would be if the financier of the vehicle requires the driver to purchase collision coverage will the vehicle is being financed as protection for their property. If this is applicable, the lienholder may also demand a certain deductible amount as well. A driver would have to meet these obligations until the loan was paid in full. Full Coverage

Learn more about full coverage car insurance and if it is right for the type of vehicle you drive. Liability Insurance

Learn more about liability insurance coverage. Every state requires some form of coverage. Do you have the right limits? High risk car insurance

Are you paying high rates? DUIs, accidents, filing claims, poor credit, and multiple tickets are examples of what can put you into the high-risk category. Uninsured Motorists FAQ

Are you driving without insurance? Were you struck by an insured motorist? Learn more on Insurantly’s UM page.
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How much collision coverage should I buy?

This depends on the worth of your vehicle. Older vehicles that are not highly valued will not need much, if any, collision coverage since the property damage costs will be less. If it costs more to repair the car then the car is worth, the insurance company will simply total the car and send you a check for what the car is worth. This may not be enough to cover the damages anyway. It will not matter how much collision coverage you have.

However, if you own a newer vehicle with a higher value it is worth it to purchase collision coverage to protect the vehicle. If the car’s parts are hard to find and have to be special ordered, this will cost more and the auto insurance coverage could really be of assistance.

The first step to answering this questions is to determine how much the car is worth, how much it would cost to make major repairs and how easy it will be to find parts for the vehicle if it does need to be repaired.
What if I decide not to purchase collision coverage?

If you choose not to purchase collision coverage, then you run the risk of paying out of pocket for damages on your own car. If you get into an accident where you are at fault, you will be responsible for everyone’s damaged costs in an at-fault state.

If you are in a no-fault state, everyone is responsible for their own damages. If you only have property damage liability coverage, your insurance company will only pay for the damage you have done to someone else’s property.

Those struck by an uninsured driver, unless they have uninsured motorist coverage, may not be able to recoup the damage expenses from the at-fault driver. If the other driver is at fault, you may get lucky and their insurance company may be responsible for paying for your damages. It all depends on the situation.
What is eligible under collision coverage?

Collision coverage does more than just protect you from getting into an accident with other vehicles. It protects you from shopping carts at the grocery store.

Bumping into things like posts, poles, curbs or walls are also covered. Hit a big pot hole? Yes, that applies too. If you are unfortunate enough to flip or turn your vehicle, you collision coverage will kick in.

Hitting an animal with your vehicle is not covered under collision policies as it is lumped in under comprehensive coverage instead.