Partial or comprehensive cover: how to choose?


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Collision insurance can be useful in the event of an accident caused by the owner of the car. Among the various levels of insurance available in Switzerland, the importance of this is often overlooked by private individuals. Our team invites you to discover the advantages of this level of coverage. You'll also find out when it's compulsory.

What is collision damage waiver?

Collision damage waiver is a form of cover, which can nevertheless be very useful in the event of a car accident.

Definition of collision damage waiver

Collision damage waiver is a level of car insurance that protects the car owner in the event of a collision. When a collision is triggered by another road user, and is not the fault of the car owner, it is the other driver's civil liability that will be engaged.
On the other hand, when the owner of the car is responsible for the collision, it is imperative to have collision damage waiver, so that the damage caused to the car is covered by the insurance.
As you will have understood, it is therefore a question of insuring the owner of a car for a very specific risk. Depending on the amounts insured, repairs may be covered. When the car is no longer in working order, a refund of its price can be provided on a pro rata basis.

Partial casco

Collision insurance is often mistakenly confused with partial casco. Partial casco is an optional insurance, which covers against risks such as:
  • Collisions with animals,
  • Damage to windows such as broken glass,
  • Vehicle theft,
  • Theft of personal belongings from inside the vehicle,
  • Natural damage such as hail, landslides or floods.
This insurance is therefore also essential to guarantee the owner of a car, against external risks. These include risks that cannot be taken into account by the civil liability of a third party's insurance, since they do not involve another motorist.

Complete collision coverage

We speak of complete collision coverage, when a contract combines collision and partial coverage. The driver will have the uncertainty of being covered against all scenarios not being dragged along by another driver and covered by civil liability.
For French nationals, this type of insurance can be compared to comprehensive insurance in France.

Is collision damage waiver compulsory in Switzerland?

But then, it may be worth asking what obligations the Swiss have when it comes to car insurance.

What the law says

It's not compulsory to take out partial or full collision damage waiver. These are supplementary coverages, which come to reassure the insured, wishing to be compensated in the face of other scenarios than those caused by third parties.
For individuals making quotations, it is therefore perfectly possible to find out about Swiss car insurance rates without coverage of this type.

The case of leased cars

The only obligation to take out collision and partial coverage is in the case of car rental. Whether it's a one-off rental, or taking out a lease, it's essential to have this cover.
Here, the car lessee will be making sure to protect the asset made available to him by the owner. It is therefore absolutely essential to benefit from sufficient guarantees, with regard to external elements, or collisions directly caused by the driver.
It will therefore not be possible to make savings on the amount of insurance, when a car is taken on lease.

Collision damage waiver for new cars

It was important for us to zoom in on the relevance of partial or full collision damage waiver for new cars. There is no legal obligation to take out this type of cover when buying a new car.
In reality, however, it is strongly recommended to opt for this type of option when buying a new vehicle. In particular, in the event of a collision caused by the owner, or damage from the outside, this can enable the vehicle to be reimbursed.
Furthermore, insurance is all the more important when the vehicle has been bought on credit. In the event of the latter breaking down, the owner may effectively have to finance the payment of the vehicle without being able to dispose of it, if it is no longer in working order. With this kind of insurance, it will be possible to repair or replace it.

Are claims caused by gross negligence covered by collision damage waiver?

There are certain exclusions, concerning collision damage waiver, when the collision is caused by the driver.

What is gross negligence?

Most insurers provide that collision damage waiver does not cover the vehicle owner, in the event of gross negligence or gross negligence. Thus, when a person fails to meet his or her duty of care, the insurer may be exempted from covering the risk of collision.
Taking a concrete example, a motorist having a collision accident will not be eligible for coverage, if it is established that the latter had drunk too much alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

The need for supplementary collision coverage

Some insurers offer supplementary insurance, enabling the car owner to be covered even in the event of gross negligence. However, this type of additional cover is generally quite expensive. As a result, motorists rarely opt for this option.

What other coverages are available under Swiss car insurance?

To better understand how car insurance works, it's important to understand that collision and partial coverage are not the only coverages available.


First of all, it's essential to offer you a closer look at what is known as civil liability. This is the part of automobile insurance that is absolutely compulsory. It guarantees against damage that may be caused by the owner of a vehicle to third parties.
In a very synthetic way, in the event of a collision, if a third party's vehicle is damaged, or damages have to be paid, the insurance will stand in for the owner of the vehicle.
The obligation to have civil liability when it comes to automobiles ensures payment of damages to third parties on the road. Whatever the income of the driver involved, victims will be able to benefit from compensation worthy of the name.

Occupant insurance

Finally, many insurers offer to match a contract with what is known as occupant insurance. In the event of an accident, this is designed to compensate passengers in the vehicle who are not the driver. However, in Switzerland, all residents are already insured against the risk of accident. This optional coverage is therefore not useful for someone carrying only Swiss passengers.
On the other hand, for drivers needing to carry foreign passengers, who have no cover in Switzerland, occupant insurance can be useful. This is particularly the case for cabs, public transport services, or companies transporting cross-border workers.

What happens when collision coverage is used?

When an insured with collision coverage has an accident, he or she will therefore be compensated up to the amounts proposed in his or her contract. For example, if the vehicle no longer functions, the contract may provide for partial or total reimbursement of its current value.
Furthermore, it's important to consider that the Swiss motor insurance system is based on a bonus and malus system. The use of this coverage therefore entails a malus, and therefore an increase in the price of the insured's premiums. In general, in the event of an accident, the increase noted is 10%.

How to choose the cheapest collision damage waiver insurance?

It's possible to take advantage of collision damage waiver insurance for a reasonable rate. Still, you need to know how to choose.

Factors that influence price

Here are the criteria that can help you find cheap collision insurance:
  • The level of coverage can greatly vary the amount of premium to be paid,
  • An annual payment of insurance can allow for discounts,
  • The increase in the excess cost can also influence the price,
  • The value of the car is directly related to the amount of insurance to be paid.
It's also worth noting that some insurers offer discounts for people with environmentally-friendly cars.

Comparing insurance contracts

You can also simply choose to compare car insurance contracts. Be careful, it's not enough just to compare insurance prices. It's imperative to do so with equal guarantees.
Antoine Léger
Updated on: 30.01.2024Written by Antoine LégerHead of non-life insurance department at Comparea.
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