What is Full Coverage and is it Right for You?

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two insured vehicles in an accident

Key Takeaways:

  • Selecting minimum liability insurance coverage on your car does not provide any coverage for you if you get hurt in the accident or your car if it is damaged.
  • Price out full coverage on your vehicle even if you think you can’t afford it. It may pay off for you to spend a little more out-of-pocket on your auto insurance to make sure that your coverage doesn’t come up short when you need it.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, MedPay, and PIP might be optional coverages in your state, but they can give you a lot of peace of mind if you are in an accident, even one that is not your fault.

When shopping for car insurance, you must decide if you want full auto insurance coverage. Of course, you want to be fully covered, right? So what does “full coverage” even mean?

Full coverage auto insurance is generally defined as car insurance adhering to the state’s minimum liability requirements plus additional coverages or a combination of coverages that could include any of the following:

  • Liability Coverage
  • Collision Coverage
  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Protection
  • Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay)
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Full coverage may also include extra perks, such as rental car reimbursement or roadside assistance. Full coverage does not mean carrying insurance with the maximum limits, although that’s an option.

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Do You Need Full Coverage Insurance?

Having full coverage gives you peace of mind and financial security. However, all these premiums add up, so you might end up paying a lot for coverage you will never use. So how do you know if you need full coverage? Here’s what to consider:

  • The age and value of your car: If you drive a newer vehicle, we highly recommend adding collision and comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy.
  • Your financial situation: If your money always runs out before the end of the month, you may be tempted to reduce your car insurance bill by choosing the state minimum insurance. However, this means that if you have an at-fault collision, you could find yourself in an extra-deep financial hole. You could get sued if your skimpy liability car insurance doesn’t pay for the other driver’s damages.
  • Your driving history: If you’ve had a few accidents in the past, you know the value of having full coverage insurance. Of course, the cost of insurance will go up if you’ve had recent claims.

What is Liability Insurance Coverage?

Liability coverage protects you when you’re at fault in an accident that injures other people and/or causes damage to other motorists’ vehicles and property. State minimum or full coverage insurance policies almost always includes liability coverage.

Do You Need Liability Insurance?

Liability coverage limits establish the amounts paid to the driver or parties involved. Coverage limits appear as three values separated by slashes. For example, 100/300/100 stands for $100,000/$300,000/$100,000.

The first number represents the maximum amount of coverage for bodily injury liability per person. The second represents the maximum coverage for bodily injury for all injuries sustained in a single car accident. Finally, the third number represents the maximum coverage for property damage for a single car accident.

These are all payouts to the other people involved when you’re at fault in an accident. If property damage or bodily injury costs exceed these limits, you will be responsible for covering the remaining balance. If you can’t cover these out-of-pocket costs, all involved parties may file a lawsuit.

What Are Collision and Comprehensive Coverages?

When searching for a reliable full-coverage policy, the two most important coverages you’ll compare are collision and comprehensive.

Collision coverage kicks in if you experience a vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-object, or rollover collision. In turn, comprehensive coverage protects against damages due to non-collision incidents.

With collision and comprehensive coverage, deductibles apply. Deductibles refer to out-of-pocket costs paid before your insurance covers the rest.

Do You Need Collision Coverage?

Collision coverage protects against vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-object, and rollover collisions. The amount of money that an insurance company will pay out for your car’s damages depends on the value of your vehicle and your deductible. You’ll need to determine whether a lower deductible or a higher deductible is right for you.

Do You Need Comprehensive Full Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage covers all non-collision-related damages, including but not limited to the following scenarios:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Floods
  • Vandalism
  • Hurricanes
  • Hitting a deer
  • Falling objects (e.g., tree limbs)

For example, if a flood destroys your car, your insurer will pay out what your vehicle is valued at, minus your deductible. Your deductible amount will directly affect your premium costs, so choose wisely when deciding how much protection you need.

Are Full Comprehensive and Collision Coverage Required by Law?

Carrying full comprehensive insurance or collision insurance is not required by law. However, if you have purchased or leased a new vehicle, your lender or finance company may require that you accept these coverages to protect the vehicle’s residual value.

We always recommend carrying collision and comprehensive coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average collision claim is $3,425, and the average comprehensive claim is $1,817. That’s a lot to pay out-of-pocket if you don’t have full coverage insurance!

How Much Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Cost?

According to AAA, the average full coverage automobile insurance cost for a sedan was $1,251 annually (2019).

However, it is crucial to note that averages are misleading. There are, of course, several factors that go into determining the cost of your car insurance. For instance, if you’re under 25, have past driving violations, or live in an expensive insurance state, expect your insurance rates to be higher.

How Does Your Vehicle Match Up?

We have analyzed rates from 10 of the most popular vehicles in the U.S. to show the price differences between minimum state requirements and full coverage. In addition, we compared customers’ rates from state minimum policies against full coverage policies.

The standard state minimum coverage varies from state to state. Still, for full coverage, we set coverage levels for liability to 100/300/100, comprehensive deductible to $1000, collision deductible to $1000, and $100,000 of uninsured motorist protection.

See how state minimum and full coverage rates compare.

Top 10 Vehicles Compared: State Minimum vs. Full Coverage

Make & Model State Minimum Full Coverage
Ford F150 $1,333 $2,769
Honda Civic $1,573 $3,675
Honda Accord $1,588 $3,300
Dodge Ram 1500 $1,488 $3,453
Ford Ranger $1,327 $2,545
Toyota Prius $1,379 $2,772
Ford Mustang $1,577 $4,798
Chevy Colorado $1,280 $3,003
Ford Explorer $1,442 $2,631
Toyota RAV4 $1,291 $2,595

How to Find and Compare Full Coverage Auto Insurance Quotes

Insurance agent talking to a client

Wondering how to get cheap full coverage auto insurance? The trick is comparing policies with the same coverage levels to see which insurance companies will give you the best deal. Sometimes, your quotes may vary by hundreds of dollars — so it makes a big difference when you choose the lowest-priced plan.

All you have to do is compare personalized quotes on Compare.com. We make it super simple by asking you to choose your coverage level — State Minimum, Basic, Plus, or Premium. From there, Compare.com shows you multiple matching policies.

If you want full coverage car insurance quotes, we suggest picking Plus Coverage. Of course, the exact coverages included will depend on where you live. Still, it will generally consist of everything available in your state: liability, collision/comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, MedPay, PIP, rental car reimbursement, and towing/roadside assistance.

Then, check your rates! Comparing apples to apples will make it easier to see which insurer is giving you the best deal. If you’re having a hard time finding cheap full coverage insurance online, try these tips:

  • Select “Pay in full” instead of “Pay monthly.” You’ll save a bundle on installment fees.
  • To drop your collision and comprehensive costs, increase your deductible from $500 to $1,000
  • Click “Talk to an advisor” and ask what you can do to get cheaper full coverage. Your insurance advisor may offer discounts or drop extras like towing and rental car reimbursement.

Is Full Coverage Auto Insurance Right for You?

We’ve gone through all the options, so the only thing left is figuring out the level of car insurance coverage you need. With so many types of coverage included in a full coverage auto insurance policy, the price can vary significantly from one insurance company to the next.

The best way to find cheap insurance is to get full coverage auto insurance quotes from multiple car insurance companies and compare prices.

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Should You Consider Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

One benefit of full coverage insurance is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, protecting against injuries or damages to your vehicle or property by an uninsured or underinsured driver. In addition, underinsured motorist coverage covers the gaps between the cost of damages and the at-fault drivers’ minimum or non-existent coverage.

Many states make it optional to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. We recommend buying it as part of your full coverage auto insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the estimated percentage of uninsured drivers in the United States was 12.6% (2019). That’s a lot of irresponsible motorists on the road.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits work similarly to liability coverage, establishing maximum dollar values insurers pay for bodily injury and property damage. For example, if your uninsured motorist coverage limits are 25/50/25, you will be protected with $25,000 towards personal bodily injury, $50,000 for total bodily injuries per accident, and $25,000 for property damage liability.

Are Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments Worth It?

PIP and MedPay coverage help drivers cover medical costs for themselves and fellow passengers after an accident. They cover your medical bills up to a limit, regardless of who is at fault.

Both PIP and MedPay work similarly except for medical payments. MedPay covers medical expenses, while PIP helps cover additional documented losses, such as lost wages, funeral costs, rehabilitation, childcare, and transportation to your rehab appointments. Therefore, we highly recommend including PIP or MedPay in a full coverage policy.

Are PIP or MedPay Coverage Required in My State?

Currently, 15 states require PIP or MedPay.

State PIP/MedPay Requirements
Delaware $15,000 PIP per person$30,000 PIP per accident
Florida $10,000 PIP coverage
Hawaii $10,000 PIP coverage
Kansas $4,500 medical expenses$900 per month for loss of income

$25 per day in-home services

$4,500 for rehabilitation

$2,000 for funeral costs

Kentucky $10,000 PIP coverage
Maine $2,000MedPay coverage
Massachusetts $8,000 PIP coverage
Michigan PIP – lifetime of medical expenses and up to 3 years of lost wages
Minnesota $40,000 PIP coverage
New Hampshire $1,000 MedPay coverage
New Jersey $15,000 PIP coverage
New York $50,000 PIP coverage
Pennsylvania $5,000 MedPay coverage
Utah $3,000 PIP coverage

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