The term “full coverage car insurance” might be one of the most misunderstood in the auto insurance industry. That’s likely because there is no such thing as a “full coverage policy.”
No policy can account for every possible circumstance for every consumer.
Instead, full coverage car insurance is the best choice if you’re looking for maximum protection. It’s a wise financial decision not only for people with a new car and those who park their vehicle in a high-crime area but those who want their vehicle covered for collisions or natural disasters.
What is full coverage auto insurance?
Full coverage auto insurance is designed to ensure you’re adequately covered, according to your individual needs. It goes beyond state minimum liability insurance. States require a baseline level of coverage. That level isn’t usually enough in most situations.
For instances, a state may require only $25,000 worth of liability coverage per person injured in an at-fault accident, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage. That coverage, often listed as 25/50/25, won’t be enough in many cases.
Other states, such as California and Pennsylvania, demand even less for drivers. Those states only require 15/30/5. New Hampshire, meanwhile, doesn’t require auto insurance.
Rather than minimum coverage, full coverage auto insurance usually features liability coverages as well as physical damage coverages of collision and comprehensive. When purchasing a full coverage car insurance policy it’s wise to bump up your liability limits to at least $100,000 per person injured in an at-fault accident, $300,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage. That’s 100/300/100. Remember liability only covers those who you harm in an auto accident, not your own vehicle.
Car insurance is intended to serve two purposes. Collision and comprehensive protect you and your vehicle from damages. Liability covers you for damage to others and their property.
Let’s take a look at what each of these terms means and then take a look at how much this type of insurance costs, state-by-state.
What is comprehensive and collision coverage?
Some people have called comprehensive coverage the “Act of God” coverage because of the types of events that fall under its umbrella. Flood, wind damage or hail damaging your vehicle is all covered by comprehensive.
Comprehensive will pay to repair or replace your vehicle should it be stolen or sustain damage by a “covered cause.” These causes also include striking animals, a falling object, fire, or vandalism.
Collision coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle due to an auto accident, regardless of fault. You may have crashed into another car or object, such as a tree or utility pole. It will also cover your vehicle if it is overturned.
Comprehensive and collision coverage come with deductibles. You choose the deductible at the inception of your policy. Generally, $500 is the deductible amount most drivers pick. However, you can choose a lower deductible, such as $250 or a higher one of $1,000 or more. If you choose a higher deductible you will save on the cost of your policy since your car insurance company would have to pay out less if you made a claim. You can choose different deductibles for comprehensive and collision. Many insurance companies require you to carry both comprehensive and collision on your vehicle, not just one or the other.
What is liability coverage?
Liability coverage is what it sounds like. This covers your liability for damage done to other vehicles/properties (property damage liability) or persons (bodily injury liability) in accidents deemed to be your fault.
Combining both types of liability coverage can effectively protect your assets. The highest liability limits are generally $250,000 per person bodily injury, $500,000 per accident, and $100,000 for property damage, though some auto insurers offer even higher limits.
What are other types of auto insurance coverage?
Auto insurance is more than collision, comprehensive, and liability. Here are other parts of a car insurance policy:
- Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage — This type of coverage protects you against uninsured and underinsured motorists. Uninsured motorist coverage might be important for you if you live, work or frequently vacation in a state that doesn’t require its drivers to carry insurance. The coverage helps to handle medical expenses for bodily injury that you may suffer as the result of an accident caused by a driver that has no insurance or is underinsured.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage — Similarly, this insurance will help to pay your vehicle’s repair bills if it’s damaged in a crash caused by a driver that has no insurance. This is a “Plan B” if you don’t have collision coverage. But it should be noted that because uninsured motorist property damage coverage tends to have low limits, collision coverage is still the best choice.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay — This type of coverage is another option to help you cover all your bases. It can help make sure you aren’t caught in a circumstance with no coverage for injuries. The coverage helps pay for injuries related to a car accident (up to the limits on your plan), no matter which driver is at fault. In “no-fault” states, PIP coverage is required and is your primary coverage, even if it turns out the other driver was at fault and that he or she has bodily injury coverage.
There are also several “add-ons” you can get for your policy to limit your out-of-pocket expenses as much as possible.
These include coverage for towing and labor and rental car reimbursement.
Liability, comprehensive and collision should form a tight plan to provide you with the full coverage car insurance you need. Moreover, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
Through careful research and comparison, you should be able to find cheap full coverage auto insurance that fits your needs and your budget.
What does auto insurance not cover?
Still, it should be noted that even the best policies and plans don’t cover everything.
Here are just some of the events and circumstances that would result in a claim being rejected by almost every insurance carrier:
- Using your car in a car-sharing program (without being enrolled in special ridesharing coverage)
- Nuclear disaster
- Government seizure of the vehicle
- Using your car as a taxi or for other business use
- Intentional damage to the vehicle
How much does full coverage auto insurance cost?
Full coverage auto insurance costs more than minimum coverage. How much more?
Here’s the annual costs for $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage.
You’ll see in this chart how much you can save by shopping around for auto insurance. We provide the rates for the highest and lowest costs from major insurers. We also include the average rate for auto insurance in each state. Through these figures, you can review how much more you may pay for full coverage auto insurance, bare bones coverage, and average coverage.
To get cheap full coverage car insurance rates for your specific situation, shop around. Comparing the rates of three or more car insurance companies is the best way to get the coverage that you need for an affordable premium.
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Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average auto insurance rates for a 2016 Honda Accord for nearly every ZIP code in the United States. We calculated rates using data for up to six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm).
Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/100 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $100,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Average rates are for comparative purposes. Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.