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If I only carry liability insurance and someone hits me and totals my car, can my car be fixed as long as they carry full coverage or collision?

Since you only have liability, your insurer will not pay for damages to your car. Liability coverage only pays for the damage you do to others. If the other driver doesn't have liability insurance or is underinsured, you're out of luck. If he does, his insurance company should cover your damages -- up to his liability limits. If your car is totaled, the insurance company will pay for the value of the vehicle, rather than for repairs. Of course, that's assuming the other driver is found at fault. If you're at fault or no one is determined at fault, then you will not be reimbursed for your loss because you don’t carry collision coverage.

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Auto insurance has several components, including liability and comprehensive and collision coverage. In most states, you are legally required to buy liability insurance because it protects others in the event that you cause an accident. Comprehensive and collision coverage is optional. Some drivers forego collision and comprehensive to save money on premiums, particularly if their cars are older and aren't worth a lot of money.

Collision coverage pays for repairs of your car if it gets damaged in an accident, and comprehensive coverage pays for repairs if your car is damaged by something other than an accident, such as natural disasters, theft, fire, vandalism or collision with an animal.

If you decide that collision and comprehensive are worth the cost, you can lower your car insurance rates by raising the deductible. Remember, though, you pay the deductible out of your own pocket, and coverage doesn't kick in until damages have exceeded that amount.

To learn more, read about car insurance basics and minimum levels of car insurance you are required to buy.

Last updated: Oct. 24, 2010
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