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Calculating General Damages Car Insurance

Here's what you need to know...
  • General damages car insurance is comprehensive car insurance
  • If your car is a total loss following an accident, the insurance company will examine several factors including medical costs and quality of life in order to determine your settlement
  • You should decide if comprehensive insurance is a wise choice for your situation. If you have a very cheap vehicle, you can probably skip it
General damages car insurance is another term for comprehensive car insurance coverage. To calculate the cost of general damages car insurance, you will need to know the differences in coverage types.

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There are several types of car insurance coverage you can buy for your car:

  • Liability insurance – This is required by law, but comprehensive and collision policies are optional. This covers the other vehicle when you are responsible for a crash.
  • Collision insurance – This addresses damage to your car that occurs in a collision if you are at fault.
  • Comprehensive insurance – This takes care of general damages to your car, so to calculate general damages car insurance you need to evaluate the cost of comprehensive car insurance by itself.

Frequently bundled together, comprehensive and collision insurance are usually referred to as total car insurance when combined with liability.

The Benefits of General Damages Car Insurance

Injured man with leg cast lays on couch talking on phone.

Comprehensive car insurance is sort of the catch-all insurance coverage for your car. If you are at fault for an accident, then your liability insurance will pay for bodily injury or property damage incurred by the other party.

If you have collision insurance then your insurance will pay for the damages to your car resulting from that same accident. However, general damages to your car are only covered by comprehensive insurance.

If a car is financed or leased then you will most likely be required to carry comprehensive car insurance by your lender or lessor.

However, even if your car is bought outright or your car has since been paid off, if your car has a decent blue book value to it at all then comprehensive car insurance is probably worth keeping on your policy.

Many random things can happen to damage your car and leave you with a repair bill or even worse, the need for total replacement. Comprehensive insurance helps cover those types of incidents.

Hail damage, shopping cart damage, and deer damage are all possible things that can happen to anyone at almost any time and they can all do some substantial damage to your car.

Without comprehensive car insurance, you would either have to leave the car unrepaired or pay for the repairs on your own.

With comprehensive car insurance, you only have to pay your deductible and your car insurance company will pay for the repairs needed to bring your car back to its pre-damaged condition.

In worst-case scenarios, if your car gets vandalized, stolen, or destroyed in a fire, comprehensive car insurance will pay you for the total loss of your car based on its current market value so you won’t be at a complete financial loss if your car is unrecoverable or beyond repair.

Since your car insurance company will only pay you for the current value of your car based on its age, model, mileage, and other incidentals, determining the value of your car can help you decide if the cost of general damages car insurance is of real value to you.

How does the insurance company calculate general damages?

Man writing notes next to computer

The insurance company calculates general damages by first reviewing the accident claim.

-Medical expenses

Medical expenses are the first to be calculated and reviewed. The insurance company will take these costs into account when calculating general damages, depending on the severity and amount of expenses.

The insurance company will take these costs into account when calculating general damages, depending on the severity and amount of expenses.

The cost of medical treatment will correlate directly with the general damages settlement. Claims can be settled anywhere from double the medical costs up to ten times the medical costs depending on the severity of injuries and suffering.

Certain injuries are also awarded greater general damage amounts than other types of injuries.

-Quality of life

This is then looked at and thrown into the calculation.

-Your fault in the accident

Lastly, the insurance company will figure in your contribution of fault in the accident. The amount that they calculate as a percentage will then be subtracted from the proposed settlement amount.

Negotiations on the proposed amount will continue until there is an agreed upon amount.

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Determining Whether to Buy General Damages Car Insurance

General damages car insurance, also known as comprehensive car insurance, is not beneficial to everyone.

Since comprehensive car insurance pays for general damages to your car you need to decide if your car is worth the cost of the optional car insurance.

Newer cars, sporty cars, antique cars, and other cars with significant value need to have comprehensive car insurance or else risk being financially out of pocket if anything damaging should happen to the car.

However, if you have a rundown car with a rust-eaten exterior, a shabby interior, and on most days you are just grateful to make it to your destination, then you may not need to pay for comprehensive car insurance.

Comprehensive car insurance will not pay for any mechanical repairs unless they are a direct result of a comprehensive insurance claim. Since that is unlikely, the insurance will only pay you for certain cosmetic repairs to your car or, at most, the cost to replace it if is damaged beyond repair.

Since that is unlikely, the insurance will only pay you for certain cosmetic repairs to your car or, at most, the cost to replace it if is damaged beyond repair.

If your car’s market value is $1,000 and you pay $100 per year for comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible, you will only receive a $400 net benefit if you submit a claim within the first year of your policy.

If your car is worth less than $2,000 then you may be better off by putting that insurance premium money aside in a savings account instead and building your own emergency fund.

That way the money will be there when you need it and if you don’t have any incidents then you won’t be regretting your spent premium dollars.

Buying General Damages Car Insurance

A laptop next to a notebook and cup of tea

Buying general damages car insurance can be tricky because it is usually bundled with collision insurance.

Since most people choose to buy collision and comprehensive insurance based on the value of their car, it makes sense that these two policies can be bought together to offer a complete protection plan.

Whether you buy the insurance as a package deal or not, you should be able to carry different deductible amounts on each part of the policy. However, most people choose the same deductible for collision as they do for general damages.

To calculate general damages car insurance, try to get a quote for just comprehensive car insurance.

If you can only get quotes for bundled deals, then be sure when you compare prices you compare rates for both comprehensive and collision insurance combined to get a fair comparison. Also, be sure the deductible amounts are the same.

What is the first step in calculating general damages car insurance?


The first step in calculating general damages car insurance is to write down how the accident is going to affect your daily life. Will it affect:

  • How you work?
  • How you take care of your kids?
  • How you perform everyday tasks?
  • Your general quality of life?

You should also include the costs that you are going to incur because of your current state of mind. Not being able to work, take care of your kids, perform everyday tasks, or live a regular life can all add up.

You may have to hire people to help you meet these needs.

You may need to see doctors on a regular basis, which can cause extra medical or psychological bills. Be sure and include the costs of extra prescriptions that you did not have before the accident.

Write down any additional expenses you are going to have in the future to help yourself heal physically and mentally.

According to Free Advice, which provides legal advice on the worth of accident claims, you should also take into account what is known as Loss of Consortium.

Loss of Consortium is the difficulties that are incurred when a spouse dies in a car accident or is no longer able to perform the same job prior to the accident.

Be sure and include this when calculating general damages to make sure you are provided for after losing a loved one or after the loved one has lost the ability to provide for his family.

What is the second step in calculating general damages car insurance?

The next step in calculating general damages car insurance is to contact your state insurance bureau. Each state establishes an amount that cannot be exceeded for “pain and suffering” claims.

You need to be aware of this dollar amount so you know what to ask for in your calculation of general damages.

What is the next step in calculating general damages car insurance?

The next step in calculating general damages car insurance is to contact your insurance company. You should check with them to see how they handle the payment of claims for general damages.

The insurance company can also educate you on how they calculate general damages.

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