What is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

comprehensive car insurance ontario canada
Comprehensive Car Insurance in Ontario, Canada

What is Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage?

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage refers to optional loss coverage which can be purchased or declined.  It is not mandatory and offers coverage from a wide array of perils that other coverages do not.  Typically, most drivers add comprehensive insurance combined with collision coverage for complete vehicle protection.  When your vehicle is financed or leased, you may be required to have comprehensive coverage on your car. 

What is comprehensive coverage?

There is no such thing as comprehensive insurance! However, there is comprehensive insurance coverage in both auto and property insurance.  The meaning and scope of comprehensive insurance coverage differ between auto and property insurance policy types. 

What is comprehensive coverage in Ontario car insurance?

The OAP 1, Ontario Automobile Policy, section 7.1.2, defines comprehensive insurance coverage as the following perils:

  • Fire
  • Theft or attempted theft
  • Lightening
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Rising water
  • Earthquake
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil disturbance
  • Falling or forced landing of aircraft or parts of aircraft
  • Stranding, sinking, burning, derailment, or collision of any kind of transport in, or upon which a described automobile is being carried on land or water.
  • Falling or flying objects 
  • Missiles
  • Vandalism.

Comprehensive vs Collision Insurance in Ontario

The difference between comprehensive and collision auto insurance coverage in Ontario is that they are two completely different coverages.

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage includes coverage for the following perils: Fire, Theft or attempted theft, Lightening, Windstorm, Hail, Rising water, Earthquake, Explosion, Riot or civil disturbance, Falling or forced landing of aircraft or parts of aircraft, Stranding, sinking, burning, derailment, or collision of any kind of transport in, or upon which a described automobile is being carried on land or water, Falling or flying objects, Missiles and Vandalism.

Collision Coverage includes the following perils: collision with another object or tips over. An object can be defined as another vehicle attached to the described automobile, the surface of the ground or any object in or on the ground. 

Is comprehensive insurance full coverage in Ontario?  

When it comes to auto insurance, comprehensive insurance is NOT full coverage. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is optional loss coverage like collision, specified perils, or all perils.   It’s easy to confuse the word comprehensive, as it implies an all-inclusive and complete insurance coverage, but that is not the case with car insurance in Ontario. 

What does comprehensive auto insurance not cover in Ontario?

Comprehensive car insurance does not cover loss or damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision or upset accident, rollover, or upset.   Comprehensive coverage also excludes compensation for bodily injury, uninsured motorist coverage, accident benefits, and direct compensation for property damage (DCPD).  

The following are also not covered by comprehensive car insurance:

  • Loss or damage caused by explosives or radioactive material
  • Loss or damage when your vehicle is used as a taxicab, bus, or to carry paying passengers. 
  • Loss or damage caused by an excluded driver 
  • Loss or damage if you lease or rent your vehicle 
  • Loss or damage caused by Garage workers (repair shop, mechanics, body repair shop, etc)
  • Loss or damage caused by war activities, including bombardment, invasion, civil war, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, coup, and actions of armed forces

Comprehensive Deductible

Comprehensive deductibles can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on your preference.  The higher the deductible the more cost savings in overall premium, as you share more in covering the loss.  However, in times when your comprehensive deductible applies, you would have to pay more out of pocket, compared to a lower deductible. 

Does comprehensive car insurance cover theft in Ontario?

Yes, comprehensive auto insurance in Ontario, covers theft or attempted theft

Comprehensive car insurance vs Third Party Liability 

Comprehensive car insurance and third-party liability insurance are completely different auto insurance coverages.  Comprehensive car insurance is an optional loss coverage meant to insure your vehicle against a particular set of perils, while third-party liability auto insurance covers you for any loss, damage or injury you or any insured driver causes while in the use or operation of your vehicle. Also, there is no deductible in third-party liability coverage, while there is for comprehensive auto coverage. 

Does comprehensive insurance include third-party liability coverage?

Comprehensive insurance does not include coverage from third-party liability.  Comprehensive and third-party liability insurance is completely different in scope of coverage. 

Comprehensive vs All Perils Coverage in Ontario

Comprehensive car insurance is included in All-Perils coverage.  All perils combine both comprehensive and collision coverage and also add another level of coverage, over and above what is covered by comprehensive and collision auto coverage.  

Comprehensive vs Named or Specified Perils

Comprehensive coverage is similar to Named or Specified perils coverage, but with more range. Comprehensive car insurance includes everything covered under named or specified perils but also covers damage or loss by vandalism and damage or loss from flying objects. 

Is comprehensive auto insurance worth it?

Considering that the bulk of your auto insurance comes from your mandatory coverages, such as liability, accident benefits, uninsured motorist, and direct compensation property damage (DCPD), the cost of comprehensive insurance is minimal and worth buying if eligible. Even if your vehicle is older, it’s still worth having since it’s cheap and provides coverage for a wide range of perils, including theft, attempted theft, and even impact with an animal. 

Is comprehensive auto insurance mandatory in Ontario?

Comprehensive auto insurance in Ontario is NOT mandatory coverage and is also not required by law to have.  It is considered an optional loss coverage but may be required by a lienholder should your vehicle be leased or financed. 

Does comprehensive insurance cover theft?

Yes, comprehensive auto insurance should cover theft or attempted theft. 

Does comprehensive insurance cover engine failure?

Typically, comprehensive insurance does not cover engine failure. However, if the engine failure was a direct result of an insured peril covered by comprehensive insurance, you may have a case.  

Does comprehensive insurance cover windshield replacement?

Yes, comprehensive insurance covers windshield replacement if the damage to the windshield stemmed from an insured peril. 

How much does comprehensive insurance cover?

Comprehensive coverage can cover up to the actual cash value of the entire vehicle, or even replacement cost if the coverage was purchased. 

Example: your vehicle was damaged beyond repair by hail damage.  You would get a total loss settlement for the fair market value of your vehicle, or if you purchased the waiver of depreciation or the 43 endorsement, depreciation would not be deducted from the settlement value. 

Which comprehensive insurance is best in Ontario?

Comprehensive coverage in Ontario is the same coverage across all car insurance companies. The OAP 1, or Ontario Automobile Policy outlines what is covered in comprehensive coverage, so judging the best comprehensive insurance can’t be based on the scope of coverage.  However, a better claim-handling reputation can make one insurance company’s comprehensive coverage better than the competitors, in terms of how the claim is serviced.

Peter Martire, CIP, CRM, RIBO – Executive Editor and Insurance Advisor

Peter has been working in the insurance industry since 2005. He has over 18 years of experience adjudicating complex auto insurance claims and sales and service brokering. In March of 2024, he partnered with Begin Insurance Inc. as a Senior Insurance Advisor. He also serves as Executive Editor of carinsuranceinontario .ca.

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