What Is Comprehensive Medical Insurance?
Shopping for good health insurance can be confusing. It’s tough trying to decide what type of policy offers the best coverage for the price. The insurance industry has its own jargon, and “comprehensive medical insurance” is one such term. To make informed decisions, consumers need to know what this type of health insurance provides.
The word “comprehensive” suggests wide coverage. Comprehensive medical insurance covers a spectrum of services such as X-rays, emergency room visits, lab work and physician visits. Some policies also cover the cost of prescription drugs. Not all comprehensive health insurance policies are the same. For example, one comprehensive policy might cover the cost of preventive care while another doesn’t. And costs associated with comprehensive medical insurance vary from policy to policy.
Deductibles and Co-Payments
A comprehensive health insurance policy often requires the person who’s insured to pay a deductible or a co-payment, or both. After the person fulfills the deductible or co-pay obligation, the coverage extends to a certain percentage of the expenses. For example, one comprehensive medical insurance policy might pay 100 percent of all charges after the deductible is met, whereas a different policy might pay only 50 percent.
Managed Care Plans
One type of comprehensive health insurance is the managed care plan. With this type of health insurance, participating providers manage the health care of the person who’s covered. The three main types of managed care plans involve health maintenance organizations, known as HMOs; preferred-provider organizations, or PPOs; and point-of-service plans, or POSs. Although their specifics vary, the three are considered comprehensive medical insurance because they cover a wide array of services.
Traditional Health Insurance
Traditional health insurance, in which the policyholder chooses physicians and hospitals, is another form of comprehensive health insurance. Traditional plans have a deductible, co-insurance and regular premiums. Covered services vary by policy from provider to provider.
Comprehensive vs. Limited-Benefit Policies
Comparing comprehensive medical insurance with limited-benefit policies shows the extent of a comprehensive plan. Limited-benefit plans are intended to fill any gaps a comprehensive policy may have. For example, one limited-benefit policy might cover only accidents. If the comprehensive plan covered emergencies, that limited-benefit plan would be redundant. With a major illness that requires hospitalization, there can be a big difference. The comprehensive plan might pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits on that claim, but a limited-benefit policy might pay no more than a couple of thousand dollars.
About the Author
Vicki A Benge began writing professionally in 1984 as a newspaper reporter. A small-business owner since 1999, Benge has worked as a licensed insurance agent and has more than 20 years experience in income tax preparation for businesses and individuals. Her business and finance articles can be found on the websites of “The Arizona Republic,” “Houston Chronicle,” The Motley Fool, “San Francisco Chronicle,” and Zacks, among others.
What does comprehensive coverage do?
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car from incidents other than collisions. This normally includes coverage for:
- Glass damage (such as a broken windshield)
- Damage sustained from hitting an animal or bird
- Damage from falling objects or missiles
- Severe weather damage
To file a hail damage claim, hurricane damage claim or tornado damage claim for your car, you must have comprehensive coverage.
You need to obtain not only comprehensive but also collision coverage to have physical damage or “full coverage” on your car. Collision will cover you if your car hits, or is hit by, another vehicle or object. Some insurance companies will not offer you comprehensive coverage unless you also carry collision coverage as part of your car insurance policy.
When obtaining a quote for comprehensive coverage, you will need to choose a deductible amount. A deductible is the portion of a claim that you’re responsible for paying before your insurance benefits start to pay out.
The value of the car, your driving record, the deductible you choose and repair costs determine the cost of comprehensive coverage, but it is usually very affordable. The average annual cost nationwide for comprehensive coverage is just $192, according to a rate analysis by CarInsurance.com. That’s not much to pay to ensure you get the actual cash value (ACV) for your car, minus the deductible, if your car is totaled. ACV is how much your car is worth on the market before it sustained damages.
Comprehensive claims will not raise your rates unless you file multiple claims in a short period.
How much does comprehensive coverage cost?
Enter your state in the search field in the table below to see the average comprehensive insurance cost, per year, for your location. You’ll see the following states are the cheapest, coming in at $100 or below, or about $90 less than the national average:
The following states are the most expensive, coming in around $400, or about $200 more than the national average:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
Is comprehensive coverage mandatory?
Comprehensive insurance is not legally required by any state. Most states require property damage liability so that your insurer will pay (up to your limits) if you damage other people’s vehicles or property, but states do not require that you carry coverage to pay for damages to your own car.
However, if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, then your lienholder can (and usually will) require that you carry this coverage and may mandate the specific deductible amount you have to select.
If want to lower your insurance premium by raising your deductible while your car is still financed, be sure to check with your lienholder to see if they will allow a higher deductible than what you are currently carrying.
What is the recommended deductible?
Usually, you can choose for your comprehensive deductible an amount anywhere from $100 to $2,500 (deductible choices vary according to state laws and insurance company guidelines). Most car owners choose a deductible of between $250 and $1,000.
The higher the deductible the less expensive your premium will be, because the insurer is taking less risk of paying out for claims.
Take your own finances into account when choosing a deductible. Saving money on your premium is nice, but do you have the ability to take on a larger out-of-pocket expense when making a claim? For example, if you set your deductible at $1,000 and your car sustains damages totaling $1,800, you will pay $1,000 and your insurance company will pay $800.
Deductibles are normally due per incident, so you will have to pay your deductible amount out every time you make a comprehensive claim. The exception being if you live in a state where laws require the deducible to be waived for windshield claims.
What happens if I don’t have comprehensive coverage?
Without comprehensive coverage, you cannot make a car insurance claim if your vehicle receives damage that is considered “other than collision” damage by your insurer. This leaves you personally responsible to pay for the repairs, unless there is someone else found liable for the damages (such as a vandal or car thief) that is known and available for you to go after for the repair costs.
With a newer, high valued car, you will usually want this added protection for your vehicle, whether you have financed it or not. If your car is stolen soon after you buy it, you don’t want to be out the full cost of a replacement vehicle.
If you have an older car with a low value (without a lease or loan on it), you may not want to pay for this coverage since if the car is damaged, or totaled, the low insurance compensation amount may not be worth the premium paid out.
Knowing how much your vehicle is worth can help you decide if comprehensive coverage is worth the extra cost. Find out the current value of your car by using appraisal tools offered on sites such as Kelley Blue Book (KBB), NADAguides, and Edmunds.
What is comprehensive car insurance?
Comprehensive insurance is a core auto insurance coverage that helps you prepare for the unexpected by covering events other than a collision with another vehicle. It is typically purchased in addition to liability insurance, which is required by most states to drive legally, and collision insurance, which only applies to an accident involving another vehicle.
Avoiding car accidents is one way to stay safe in your car – but what about accidents other than those involving another vehicle? Comprehensive insurance can provide you with an extra level of coverage against these types of mishaps.
What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?
Comprehensive car insurance coverage is a type of auto coverage that pays for damage caused by covered events other than a collision with another vehicle, such as vandalism or hail damage. Without comprehensive insurance, you may have to pay to repair these kinds of damages to your car, which can outweigh the price of your policy. Learn more about the difference between comprehensive and collision coverages.
A comprehensive car insurance policy may include coverage for:
- A cracked or broken windshield, depending on the state in which you live
- Damage from hitting a deer or other animal
- Car theft insurance in the event your vehicle is stolen or damaged by covered car vandalism
- Damages caused by some events outside of human control, such as hail or other natural disasters
- Damage caused by certain falling objects, such as tree branches or debris
- Damages resulting from fires, civil commotions or explosions
A standard auto policy will not cover vintage or collector vehicles. If you own a classic car, learn more about Nationwide classic car insurance today.
Add endorsements to your comprehensive auto insurance for even more protection
It’s easy to customize your comprehensive insurance policy with a variety of endorsements, all designed to make your life easier, such as:
Adjust your comprehensive car insurance policy to fit your needs
Some policies will insure your vehicle for its actual cash value rather than for the replacement cost. That reflects the current value of the vehicle, not what you paid for it. In some states, you can purchase extra coverage, such as gap coverage, new car replacement coverage or vehicle value upgrade. These coverages offer extra protection for newer cars.
You have more options when selecting your comprehensive coverage deductible amount, which is the amount of money you pay before insurance kicks in. To lower your comprehensive car insurance rate, you can choose to have a high deductible, such as $1,000. However, you need to make sure you can pay that amount out of pocket if you have to file a claim. A lower deductible might increase your rate, but it will cover more of your costs in the event of a covered accident.
Learn more about the definition of comprehensive coverage or start a comprehensive auto insurance quote above.
Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which control coverage determinations. Such terms may vary by state, and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.