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What is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?

February 02, 2016

Full Coverage Car Insurance

Full coverage is thrown around a lot in the world of car insurance, but what does full coverage car insurance mean? Did you know that you can’t buy “full coverage” insurance? Compare.com is here to answer the question what is full coverage auto insurance and maybe help you save some money in the process.

Full coverage auto insurance isn’t an insurance product you go out and buy. It’s a generic term used to describe the combination of several types of coverage that together offer more complete coverage than liability insurance alone. So when people talk about full coverage auto insurance, what coverages are they really talking about?

Liability coverage:

Car Accident ClaimLiability coverage protects you if you cause damage to someone else’s vehicle, property, or person. Liability coverage limits are usually expressed as a combination of three numbers divided by slashes (100/300/100). The first number represents the maximum amount of coverage for bodily injury per person; the second represents the maximum coverage for bodily injury for all injuries related to a single accident; and the third number represents the total coverage for property damage for a single accident.  Liability coverage is required in most states and coverage levels often have mandatory minimums. Higher levels of liability coverage do not cause a large increase in your monthly insurance premiums compared to lower levels, so it’s a good idea to have ample liability insurance.

Collision coverage:

Collision coverage pays for your own car’s repairs in the event of an accident. It also covers you in the event your car is “totaled” – meaning that the cost to repair the damage exceeds more than a certain percentage of the vehicles appraised value. If your car is totaled, then your insurer would pay you the appraised value rather than pay for repairs and your vehicle would be towed to a scrap yard.

Comprehensive coverage:

Comprehensive coverage is an additional coverage that adds to the concept of “full coverage” insurance. This extra coverage protects your vehicle from damage caused by things such as hitting a deer, fires, floods, and damage from strong winds. Most people use their comprehensive coverage to repair cracks in their windshields or mirrors caused by debris on the roads.

MedPay/PIP:

These are two different types of coverages which differ depending on which state you are in. While some states have MedPay as an option, others offer PIP or Personal Injury Protection. 16 US states actually require drivers to carry PIP coverage.  Medpay coverage protects you and your passengers by paying for medical expenses related to injuries sustained in an accident. With this coverage you are also covered if you are driving someone else’s car (as long as you have their permission). PIP does much the same thing, but also covers funeral expenses and lost wages due to absence from work caused by an injury related to the accident. If you have good health insurance coverage, you may not need PIP or if you are required to carry it, you can opt for minimum coverage to save money.

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage:

Fender BenderOne coverage that really makes full coverage insurance worthwhile is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. It protects you from expenses stemming from an accident in which your vehicle was damaged by a collision involving a driver who does not have insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage covers the gaps between what a driver with very low or minimal coverage limits can pay and the cost of the damage to your vehicle. This coverage is mandatory in many states.

Additional coverages that may be included in full coverage auto insurance:

These are some additional coverages that are available to fully protect drivers and make sure that in the event they are involved in an accident, there will be only moderate inconveniences.  These additional coverages include rental reimbursement, gap insurance, towing and roadside assistance.

Get full coverage auto insurance

Because there are so many coverage types included in full coverage auto insurance, the price can vary greatly from insurer to insurer. The best way to make sure you aren’t paying too much is to get quotes from multiple insurance companies for the same amount of coverage each time. We recommend using compare.com, where you input your information just once, receive multiple quotes at once, and can compare them side by side. In the event you want to purchase a policy based on one of the quotes you receive, compare.com allows you to purchase that policy direct from the insurer, no additional fees involved and the quotes themselves are free.

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