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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.

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