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What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?

full coverage car insurance guide

If you’re someone who would rather play it safe with your auto policy, then the idea of full coverage car insurance may sound very appealing to you. Contrary to what the name suggests, “full coverage” isn’t a type of insurance policy at all, nor does it cover everything under the sun. We've put together this handy guide to help you understand the ins and outs of insuring your car to the max.

Full Coverage Car Insurance in a Nutshell

What is considered full coverage auto insurance typically refers to any policy that provides more than the liability coverage required by most US states alone. It generally consists of a combination of policies that include comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance.

If you’re wondering what full coverage entails exactly, it can add up to a lot of different sums. Liability insurance will pay for any harm you inflict on other people and property. Collision coverage pays for any damages to your own vehicle in a crash. And comprehensive insurance rounds out that protection by paying for any accidents not caused by a collision, such as a flood, or a severe weather event.

But you can also extend your coverage to include additional protections such as uninsured motorist and supplemental medical.

Getting the Best Price on Full Coverage Car Insurance

Buying full coverage insurance means investing in better protection. The tradeoff is that your rates will be much higher. That means it’s especially important to shop around for the most affordable quotes.

When comparing rates, remember that the coverage levels and deductibles you choose can raise or lower your premiums. You can also get cheaper full coverage car insurance by bundling home and auto policies, insuring more than one vehicle, driving a car with added safety features, and, of course, staying accident free.

Cheap full coverage auto insurance may be hard to come by for teen drivers, and their best bet would be to have a parent or guardian add them to an existing adult policy instead of going the separate route.

When trying to find the cheapest full coverage auto insurance for young drivers, keep an eye out for discounts available to teens who maintain good grades, take a defensive driving course, or attend school away from home.

Knowing Where to Get the Best Quotes

Gathering full coverage quotes online can help you find the best rates, and an online search is an ideal starting point.

You’ll want to start your search by choosing a coverage level that goes beyond state minimums. InsuranceQuotes offers the option of selecting the Good, Better or Best coverage level for more protection than what state minimums offer.

Comparing Full Coverage vs. Other Types of Protection

There’s no single way to define full coverage auto insurance. But we know that it generally means you’re carrying multiple types of protection. Here’s how some of the different coverages compare:

  • Liability Insurance vs. Full Coverage

If you’re just paying for liability coverage, then you’re not carrying full coverage. The difference between liability and full coverage insurance is that liability coverage is usually the bare minimum that most states require. Full coverage would add collision and comprehensive insurance, and possibly other coverages.

  • Comprehensive vs. Full Coverage

Even though the word “comprehensive” might sound all-encompassing, comprehensive insurance in and of itself is not the same thing as full coverage. Comprehensive covers damages to your vehicle that did not result from a vehicle collision but instead by an event such as a fire, theft, storm or a natural disaster.

  • Gap Insurance vs. Full Coverage

Full coverage does not include gap insurance if you have purchased collision, comprehensive, and liability insurance only. Gap insurance helps you pay off your loan if your car is damaged and becomes worth less than what you still owe. If your lender requires that you carry gap insurance until you pay off your car loan, you must purchase this coverage separately.

How Full Coverage Cost Compares to Other Types of Insurance

If you’re wondering how much full coverage car insurance costs, that depends on how much protection you think you need, and what you’re comfortable paying. Including comprehensive, collision, and liability may cost twice as much as liability alone.

Adding other protection such as roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement coverage can further raise your overall price.

The average full coverage car insurance cost varies significantly based on where you live — so much so that you may be able to cut your bill in half by moving to a different state. For example, Michigan residents pay 92% more than the national average, while North Carolinians pay 44% less than the national average.

Finding the Best Full Coverage Car Insurance

The best full coverage auto insurance quoted on InsuranceQuotes is for a policy that would pay out $250,000 per person for bodily injuries with a maximum of $500,000 for all persons injured; those same numbers apply to uninsured motorist bodily liability coverage. The best full coverage insurance would also pay out up to $100,000 for property damage.

Here’s how the coverage levels break down:

Good:

  • $50,000/$100,000 for bodily injury
  • $25,000 for property damage
  • $50,000/$100,000 for uninsured liability

Better:

  • $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury
  • $50,000 for property damage
  • $100,000/$300,000 for uninsured liability

Best:

  • $250,000/$500,000 for bodily injury
  • $100,000 for property damage
  • $250,000/$500,000 for uninsured liability

What Full Coverage Car Insurance Will Cover

Full coverage car insurance may not cover everything, but it may also protect you in more cases than you might think, depending on what coverage options you purchase.

If you’re asking what does full coverage car insurance cover, it helps to read the fine print on your comprehensive, collision, and liability policies. Since comprehensive insurance helps protect you from an event other than a vehicle collision, that means it will usually cover theft and damages from a break-in. It will also cover hurricane damage from flooding and wind, or from other types of outdoor mishaps.

You may be surprised to learn that in most cases, full coverage car insurance does cover DUI accidents – but only to a point. Even though driving under the influence is illegal, your liability coverage will still pay for damages or injuries you cause to someone else. It won’t cover your own vehicle, though.

You might be able to get that protection from collision and comprehensive coverage, but it will vary by insurer. Some insurers will help pay your damages if you get in a DUI accident, but others include exclusion clauses in their policies.

Also, if you get a DUI, you may face penalties from your insurer, including much higher rates or cancellation of your policy.

Even if you have full coverage, your auto insurance usually won’t cover engine failure or repairs from normal wear and tear. In most cases, full coverage insurance also won’t cover tires if you get a flat.

One more benefit of full coverage car insurance is that it does cover rental cars. Comprehensive, liability, and collision coverage on your personal car will provide that same coverage for your rental car in case of an accident or damages.

For more insight, explore our auto insurance coverage section for a complete list of articles to help you find your way.

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