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What's the difference between collision and comprehensive auto coverage?

The collision portion of an automobile insurance policy pays for damage to your car in an accident, while the comprehensive portion covers damage caused by other factors. According to "Get a Financial Life" by Beth Kobliner (Simon & Schuster), "Comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by fire, flood, theft, tornado, and just about any other physical damage that is not covered by collision. In all states both of these coverages are optional. However, if you took out a loan to buy your car or if you're leasing, the lender or dealer will require that you purchase collision and comprehensive coverage."