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Summary: Part D of the personal auto policy (PAP) has two types of coverages that may be selected to cover physical damage to the insured’s auto. These are other than collision coverage (often called comprehensive because of prior policy language) and collision coverage; the insured may, of course, purchase either or both of these coverages. Conflicts between insurers and insureds may arise when only one of these coverages is purchased, with the dispute centering on whether the cause of loss that resulted in damage to the auto was one for which the insured had coverage. Or, the insured may have both types of coverage, but, say, with a higher collision deductible, leading the insured to seek other than collision coverage for a loss in order to maximize the insurance policy’s coverage.

This article discusses certain loss situations and court decisions in order to shed some light on the meaning of “collision,” or, in other words, just when collision coverage is appropriate as opposed to other than collision coverage. Note that the court cases discussed in this article generally use the term “comprehensive” when analyzing other than collision coverage. The cases span many years but none have been overturned. The current article may be found here

Topics covered:

Policy provisions

What is collision?

Proximate cause

Collision with roadbed or ground

Water loss

Falling objects

Missiles

Malicious mischief or vandalism

Windstorm

Hail damage

Collision following theft

Contact with bird or animal

Glass breakage

Other causes of loss

Shifting of cargo

Is this a comp or collision loss

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