Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • Collision insurance coverage is designed to pay for damages drivers inflict on their own vehicles
  • The circumstances surrounding a collision insurance claim positively do vary
  • Comparison shopping helps the process of getting a deal on collision insurance
  • Drivers without collision insurance take a huge risk since they would be solely responsible for the costs of damage they cause to their vehicles

Imagine an experiment in which numerous car owners and frequent drivers were placed in a room.

Moderators hand the group slips of paper and requests each person write about a vehicle collision scenario. In addition to drafting the scenario, the group must detail several steps required to file an insurance claim.

Likely, a significant percentage of the group would write creative scenarios involving being hit by another driver. The other driver would be totally at fault for the accident.

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Collision Coverage to the Rescue


The trouble with the average person’s likely visualization about a car accident centers on the projection of fault. The other person is always the reason behind the accident. Such magical thinking can be comforting, but the thoughts may be a bit too overly positive.

Everyone runs the risk of causing an accident at one point or another.

Those who complain about mandatory auto insurance coverage may discover how wonderful these laws are when they cause an accident and the insurance company throws a six-figure financial safety net in the direction of the at-fault driver.

Liability insurance, however, only covers damage inflicted on others. Who is going to pay for the damage a driver causes to his/her own car? The insurance company may provide coverage after all as long as the necessary coverage is in place.

Collision coverage pays for losses and damages a driver inflicts on his/her own car. This is true whether the driver was directly responsible for an accident due to negligence or strange circumstances surrounding the collision.

Being negligent in an accident includes scenarios such as:

  • Running a red light and crashing into another vehicle.
  • Hitting a turn on an exit far above the recommended speed limit and flipping the car over.
  • Weaving in and out of traffic lanes in rainy conditions and hitting a highway divider.

Hopefully, in the above scenarios, no one ends up being hurt and no other person’s property suffers damage. If so, then the driver must rely on his/her liability coverage for protection.

The damage the driver inflicts upon his/her car could be paid for through collision coverage. Receiving a settlement on a collision claim may be complicated or uncomplicated based on the results of the insurance adjuster’s investigation.

That said, with collision insurance in place, the possibility of a settlement exists.

And accidents involving a driver damaging his/her own vehicle do not always entail total negligence and fault on behalf of the driver.

Illustrations of collision incidents also include:

  • A tire punctured by something on the road leads to hitting the curb hard.
  • A major pothole on the highway damages the underside of a vehicle.
  • Debris on the road smashes a headlight upon impact.

The driver might not be all or partially responsible for the collision. No other driver factors into the collision. Regardless, with collision insurance in place, the insured does have an option to approach.

Of course, the driver must purchase collision insurance in the first place. Buying the insurance after an accident occurs is obviously not an option.

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Purchasing Collision Insurance

How does a driver purchase collision insurance? Simply calling a current insurance provider and asking to add the coverage to a policy basically works. An even easier path to adding collision coverage can be taken.

Those with online access to a current policy could sign into their account and, with a few mouse clicks, may add collision coverage. Making an immediate payment may or may not be required at the time the coverage is added.

Adding collision coverage from a current auto insurance provider can be done. However, taking part in comparison shopping to locate a solid price on collision insurance would be a worthwhile pursuit as well.

Comparison shopping involves looking over a variety of individual quotes from a host of insurance providers.

The goal of reviewing quotes should be to find the best policy with the most appropriate levels of coverage. Accessing a fantastic premium price would be another nice plus.

Just as drivers often imagine others on the road as being the source of accidents, drivers maintain a somewhat limited perspective about available insurance.

Reviewing auto insurance premiums quotes on a periodic basis makes perfect sense.

The right coverage definitely is necessary to possess. Otherwise, the financial losses associated with an accident are suffered by the driver and/or owner.

Unfortunate Scenarios Play Out


Without the right insurance coverage, a simple drive to work or a trip to the store might yield a complete financial mess.

A driver who doesn’t wish to pay for collision insurance might prefer to play the proverbial odds. He/she assumes the chances of getting into an accident are too low to care about paying for collision insurance.

The driver might be willing to pay the costs of the damage in the event of a minor accident. Why pay the premiums?

All this assumes way too much. Consider the assessments to be another form of magical thinking. The results of the accident are being crafted in the mind of the driver.

No driver knows what can happen when a disastrous accident occurs. Namely, a vehicle could be completely totaled in a collision.

Crashing into a tree and destroying a $35,000 new car means the $35,000 is completely absorbed as a loss by someone who fails to carry collision insurance. Yes, the possibility of a vehicle being totaled exists.

Car owners wisely worry about other drivers on the road. Worrying motivates the purchase of uninsured motorist protection. Some might worry about their own performance, which leads to procuring very high auto liability limits.

Comparison shopping does help with putting financial safety nets in place. Why not employ comparison shopping and good judgment to add decent collision coverage to a policy?

Parting Words


Collision insurance benefits those who crash their car — in part. Auto liability insurance’s protections may only partially assist in a crash scenario. Other consequences may be unavoidable when an accident takes place.

  • The driver could receive one or more traffic citations which, in addition to costing money on their own, drive up insurance premiums.
  • The possibility of facing criminal charges exists after causing an accident.

So, while purchase excellent collision insurance coverage can be a good thing, no driver should dismiss the importance of the careful operation of a vehicle.

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