Do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?

Many drivers today find themselves asking, "If I want affordable car insurance, do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?" The answer is no. If you own a car that is over 10 years old and have thought, "Do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?" you should look into reducing your coverage to liability insurance. Liability insurance helps you cover property damage and bodily injury that you may cause others in an accident but lowers your insurance rates and keeps you street legal.

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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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Written by D. Gilson, PhD
Professor & Published Author D. Gilson, PhD

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Buying comprehensive insurance can be more expensive than just liability insurance
  • Comprehensive coverage will reimburse you for damages to your vehicle
  • You can request free quotes online to compare the costs of comprehensive and liability insurance

While reviewing your insurance policy, you may have found yourself wondering, “If I want more affordable car insurance, do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?”

It’s natural to want to make sure that you are fully protected whenever you’re driving out on the road, but do you really need comprehensive car insurance on an older vehicle? In many cases, but not all, you may find that you don’t need it.

Of course, before you start rearranging your insurance coverage, you must be sure that you can answer the question, “What does comprehensive insurance cover?”

Understanding how your insurance coverage works is vital, as not only will you know what you’re paying for every month, but you’ll be able to decide what types of coverage you need and what you don’t.

If you think that you don’t need comprehensive coverage, you could save money by switching from that more intensive package to just liability.

Now, the idea of shopping for and customizing insurance can send some individuals into a tailspin of anxiety, leaving their minds swirling with questions like:

“I want car insurance quotes, but do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car? I need better car insurance rates, but do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?”

Thankfully, in today’s world, shopping for insurance is anything but stressful. You can shop for quotes online from the comfort of your home and look up quality insurance reviews to find the best company that can help you with your insurance needs.

Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes today that will answer that burning question, “Do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?”

Should I have comprehensive coverage on an old car?

Before you decide if your old, faithful set of wheels no longer needs to be covered by comprehensive insurance, you must know what exactly comprehensive coverage protects you from.

So, what is comprehensive car insurance? Well, according to the description provided by the Insurance Information Institute, when you buy comprehensive coverage, you’re covered for:

  • Fire
  • Falling objects
  • Missiles
  • Explosion
  • Earthquake
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Flood
  • Vandalism
  • Riots
  • Contact with animals, such as birds or deer
  • A cracked or shattered windshield

This type of coverage will also reimburse you if your car is stolen.

In short, comprehensive car insurance empowers a driver to be able to replace their vehicle after being in an accident without having to shoulder the burden of paying the whole cost of a new vehicle.

However, if your ride is well over 10 years old, you should consider switching to just liability coverage. This is because a car’s value tends to decrease over time.

The gears wear down and break, and replacement parts can become harder to find as new models hit the streets.

It’s not shocking to learn that carrying full coverage on an older car could mean that you’re paying for more insurance than the car is actually worth. And that’s not even taking into consideration your deductible levels.

If you want to save money and have found yourself asking, “I need a cheaper car insurance company, but do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?” then switching to liability-only coverage may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

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What does liability insurance cover?

We’ve covered what comprehensive is, so now it’s time take a look at liability insurance.

Most states require you to at the very least carry liability insurance. This is because it would allow you to cover any property damage or bodily injuries that you caused other people to suffer in a crash.

These two components of liability coverage, bodily injury liability and property damage liability, serve very important functions.

You see, if you were to hurt someone in an accident, your bodily injury coverage will cover the cost of that person’s medical bills if you are at fault, up to the limits stipulated by your policy. You can deduce what your limits are by looking at two figures on your policy:

  • The maximum amount of money paid per injured person
  • The maximum amount of money paid for the entire accident

Usually, the maximum amount of money paid out for an accident will be double that of the per-person limit. For example, a policy might pay up to $25,000 per person injured, but only $50,000 for all parties that were injured.

Now, your property damage liability covers any damage to vehicles or property, like fences, that you caused. There will be a single limit to this coverage; it won’t be broken down like your bodily injury coverage.

It is important to note that when carrying only liability insurance, any damage to your vehicle or any injuries you incur due to an accident that you cause will not be covered by your insurance.

But while liability insurance may not protect your car, it does protect you. It protects you from being taken to court for not having insurance.

However, if you don’t have enough insurance to pay someone’s medical bills, you could still find yourself in hot water.

Even if you were to raise your liability limits though, when working with the best insurance companies, you could still save quite a bit of money.

Is liability insurance cheaper than comprehensive coverage?

Liability is usually much cheaper than comprehensive coverage. Take a look at the chart below which shows how drastically your rates can change between levels of coverage.

NAIC's Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
StatesAverage Monthly Liability RatesAverage Monthly Collision RatesAverage Monthly Comprehensive RatesAverage Monthly Full Coverage Rates
District of Columbia$58$41$19$118
New Hampshire$35$26$9$70
New Jersey$76$33$11$119
New Mexico$44$24$15$84
New York$71$34$15$120
North Carolina$31$26$11$67
North Dakota$25$22$20$67
Rhode Island$68$36$11$116
South Carolina$50$24$16$89
South Dakota$26$19$24$69
West Virginia$43$28$18$88
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As you can see, while you won’t find any companies who will comp insurance, car insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. You can keep your bank account pleasantly plump when only purchasing liability insurance, no matter where you live.

Comprehensive Insurance on Older Cars: What You Need to Know

What is comprehensive coverage? It’s a great way to protect your car from any damage caused by something other than another vehicle.

So, if I want to buy car insurance, do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car? Absolutely not.

If you think your car may not be worth protecting with comprehensive auto insurance, you can look up your car’s value with a free, reliable resource like Kelley Blue Book.

If your car’s value is less than what you’re paying for insurance every year, dropping down to just liability insurance may be the best step for you. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should drastically reduce your liability limits too.

Make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself from any legal trouble if you were to be in an accident while still maintaining rates that work with your budget.

Not sure what liability levels you should choose? You can request free quotes that will show you just how much coverage you can afford.

If you’ve ever thought, “Do I need comprehensive insurance on an old car?” then enter your ZIP code and start comparing quotes from great insurance companies near you.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

Your one-stop online insurance guide. Get free quotes now!

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