Is full coverage really full?

Full coverage auto insurance consists of liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages. While this helps pay for damages that you cause to others as well as damages to your vehicle, it does not cover every need. Consider adding uninsured/underinsured motorists, medical payments, and personal injury protection for more complete coverage. Keep rates low even with full coverage car insurance by raising your deductibles and adding discounts to your policy.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2022

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  • Full coverage car insurance is actually a combination of coverages and usually includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages
  • Coverages that may be included in full coverage are uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection, depending on state law
  • Although full coverage auto insurance is more expensive, it offers much higher coverage

When it comes to auto insurance, figuring out what coverage you need can be confusing. We’ve all heard of full coverage, but what does that really mean? Are you fully covered for everything that could happen to your vehicle?

Although adding full coverage to your auto insurance policy is a great place to start, there are other types of coverage you should consider adding as well. The type of coverage and limits for each coverage will depend on your vehicle and financial situation.

Before you buy full coverage auto insurance, shop around. Compare multiple companies to find the most coverage with the lowest rates.

To find the best deal on full coverage, enter your ZIP code and compare free auto insurance quotes from companies in your area.

What is full coverage auto insurance?

The term “full coverage” is a bit misleading. Typically, full coverage auto insurance only includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages, but that depends on state law. While these coverages involve damages, they are actually very different.

Full coverage auto insurance includes:

  • Liability. This covers property damages and bodily injuries to another person if you cause an accident.
  • Collision. Coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle regardless of who causes an accident.
  • Comprehensive. This covers damages that aren’t the result of an accident, such as fire, theft, vandalism, falling debris, damages caused by an animal, and natural events like tornados, hurricanes, and hail.

Although most states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, collision and comprehensive coverages are usually not required. However, insurance with full coverage is recommended for the most protection.

If you live in a state that requires it, then both personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage may be considered a part of a full coverage policy.

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How much is full coverage insurance?

When it comes to liability vs. full coverage, full coverage offers the most protection and the highest rates.

This table shows average annual rates from top auto insurance companies based on the type of coverage.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Coverage Type
CompanyAverage Annual Rate for Low CoverageAverage Annual Rate for Medium CoverageAverage Annual Rate for High Coverage
American Family$3,368.49$3,544.37$3,416.40
Liberty Mutual$5,805.75$6,058.57$6,356.04
State Farm$3,055.40$3,269.80$3,454.80
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Remember, although full coverage rates are higher, so is the amount of coverage provided. Lower coverage means you will have to pay more out of pocket for damages. In the long run, it may be cheaper to pay higher car insurance rates than to pay for damages.

What does full coverage auto insurance not include?

While full coverage offers added protection for your vehicle, it still doesn’t cover every eventuality.

Coverages not included with full coverage are:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Rental reimbursement

Adding these coverages to your auto insurance policy will offer more protection for you.

However, in a state where they are required by law, a full coverage policy will also include:

  • Personal injury protection
  • Medical payments
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist

These aren’t included unless required by law in other states, and are considered add-ons.

Around 12% of drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you combine that with the number of drivers who carry very low limits, you can be left paying for damages yourself even if you aren’t at fault. Adding uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage is highly recommended.

You may also need to add extra coverage if you have a classic or custom vehicle. Most standard auto insurance policies don’t cover the higher costs of repairing a classic or custom car.

How do you know what auto insurance coverage you need?

Since minimum requirements for auto insurance are usually low, you probably need more than just the coverage that lets you legally drive.

There are some factors to consider as you decide what coverages you need.

First, what is your vehicle? If you drive a new, expensive, custom, or classic car, repairs will be costly. However, if your car is older or not worth much money, you may be able to pay for repairs yourself.

Next, what is your personal financial situation? Can you afford to pay out of pocket for repairs or to replace your vehicle if it’s damaged? If not, you will need more coverage.

Also, consider how you use your vehicle. Do you just drive locally or do you take weekend road trips? If you drive your car often and out of your general area, consider adding roadside assistance coverage.

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How can you save on full coverage car insurance?

Once you decide on the amount of coverage you need, you will want to get the lowest rates available. There are several ways you can reduce your auto insurance rates, even with full coverage.

First, raise your deductibles. Most deductibles range between $500 and $1,000. By picking a higher deductible, you get lower rates since it decreases the amount the auto insurance company has to pay out. However, that does mean that you will have to pay more when you need your insurance.

Second, look at available auto insurance discounts. Insurance companies offer a multitude of discounts based on you as a driver, what type of policy you have, and even the safety features of your car. Bundle them for the most savings.

Next, look at the personal factors that affect your rates. While some things like your age can’t be changed, other factors like your driving record and credit score can be improved.

Drivers with accidents, tickets, or DUIs will pay much higher rates. The same goes for drivers with a low credit score. Companies see a lower credit score as reflecting more risk — when it comes to paying bills on time and possibly when you’re behind the wheel, too.

It’s also necessary to shop around for coverage, since each company will offer a different rate. Be sure to compare rates and discounts from multiple companies to find great coverage at a low rate.

Full Coverage: What You Need to Know

Full coverage auto insurance consists of liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages. Other coverages, such as uninsured motorists coverage, are considered add-ons unless they are required by state law.

The amount of coverage you need is determined by your vehicle, finances, and how you use your car. Although higher coverage is more expensive, it also comes with the peace of mind that you are completely protected.

Even if you choose full coverage, you can still do things to lower your rates, such as raising your deductibles, taking advantage of discounts, and improving your driving records.

Enter your ZIP code now to compare free full coverage auto insurance quotes from companies nearby to find the best deal for you.

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