Cars and trucks can be damaged in a wide variety of ways and by a wide variety of instrumentalities, both while they are in operation and while they are parked and at rest. Comprehensive coverage under motor vehicle insurance policies has been devised in order to provide owners and operators of vehicles with protection against the risk that such damage to a vehicle will occur.
As its name suggests, comprehensive coverage is broad insurance coverage under which an insurer agrees that it will pay an insured for damage to a covered vehicle arising from such causes as vandalism or malicious mischief, windstorm, hail, fire, flood, falling objects, contact with animals or birds, or similar types of mishap. Comprehensive coverage provisions often specifically exclude damage resulting from collisions, a risk against which an insured can obtain protection under a policy’s collision coverage, and issues sometimes arise in particular cases as to whether an incident has in fact involved a collision so as to cause the exclusion to come into play.
Because the business of insurance in the United States, including motor vehicle insurance, has historically been regulated by the laws of each of the states rather than by a single unified body of federal law, the legal standards governing the nature and extent of comprehensive coverage under motor vehicle insurance policies vary from state to state. These legal principles will be found in the state statutes regulating the business of insurance and in the decisions of courts dealing with matters of insurance law.
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