Coverage Car Insurance

Understanding Full Coverage Car Insurance

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Full coverage car insurance refers to a type of auto insurance policy that provides expansive protection for your vehicle. There are several components that make up a full coverage policy, offering coverage against damage from collisions, theft, vandalism, and more. This type of comprehensive protection comes at a higher cost than basic liability coverage, but provides greater peace of mind in case of accidents or loss. As you consider your auto insurance options, understanding exactly what full coverage entails can help ensure you get the right level of protection.

What is Included in Full Coverage Car Insurance?

A full coverage policy bundles together several standard types of car insurance beyond basic liability coverage. This usually includes collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and sometimes other add-ons like rental reimbursement or roadside assistance. The core protections in a full coverage policy are:

Collision Coverage: This pays to repair or replace your vehicle if you are involved in an accident that’s your fault. Without collision insurance, you’d have to cover all repair costs out-of-pocket if the accident is deemed your fault.

Comprehensive Coverage: This pays to replace or repair your vehicle due to incidents other than collisions, like theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fire, or animal strikes. It covers damage from events outside of your control.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Pays for injuries or damage to your vehicle when you are hit by a driver with little or no insurance who can’t cover the costs. This protects you in hit-and-run situations as well.

Together, this bundle of protections is considered full, or comprehensive coverage that covers your vehicle in nearly any situation – that’s how it gets the name “full coverage auto insurance.” Some insurers may also offer other protections like car rental reimbursement or roadside assistance to sweeten the full coverage deal.

How Much Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Cost?

Since it offers so much protection in one policy, full coverage insurance averages $1,566 per year across the U.S according to 2023 data. That’s about 43% higher than minimum liability-only policies. However, costs vary significantly based on:

  • Your car model and age
  • Your driving and claims history
  • Your location and insurance provider

Teen drivers, brand new luxury vehicles, drivers in accident-heavy cities, and those with multiple tickets can pay upwards of $4,000+ per year for full coverage policies. On the other hand, those with a clean record driving older vehicles may pay under $1,000 annually. Getting quotes from multiple insurers is the best way to find the lowest premium. And ask about discounts for defensive driving courses, low mileage, good student status for teens, and safety equipment on your vehicle – all can help lower comprehensive insurance costs.

Why Get Full Coverage Car Insurance?

Deciding whether to get full auto coverage comes down to a risk assessment. Are you comfortable taking on the financial burden of significant vehicle damage or loss in a crash? Or would it devastate your finances? Here are common reasons drivers opt for full coverage protection:

  • Financing or Leasing: Lenders usually require you get collision and comprehensive coverage to ensure their asset is protected. The higher your loan amount, the greater the insurance required.
  • Newer Vehicles: Full coverage helps ensure expensive repairs and replacements for new vehicles are covered in case of accidents, theft, or other risks. Makes sense on cars less than 8-10 years old generally.
  • State Minimums: Several states like Florida and Maine require drivers to carry more than just basic liability coverage to legally drive there.
  • Assets: Those with significant assets to protect often get fuller coverage to avoid vehicle losses impacting their finances or lifestyle. Provides more peace of mind.
  • Higher Risk: Teens, frequent travelers, city drivers, and those in accident-prone vehicles often benefit most from comprehensive policies to mitigate their elevated risks.

As you weigh the pros and cons, consider both the likelihoods of incidents in your circumstances and what potential consequences vehicle damage or theft could create. Understanding your personal risk tolerance helps assess coverage needs.

What is NOT Included in Full Coverage?

While full coverage insurance covers many risks, there are limitations too:

No Bodily Injury Liability: There are still liability gaps – if you cause an accident that injures others, their medical bills are not covered under collision or comprehensive policies. Only basic bodily injury liability covers other people’s injuries.

No Rideshares: Personal auto policies may not cover accidents that happen while driving for a rideshare company like Uber. Special commercial policies are usually required by the companies themselves during active ridesharing.

No Mechanical Failures: Comprehensive claims cover external damage incidents only. Mechanical breakdowns or failed parts are not included unless directly tied to a covered. Loss like hitting debris in the road. For mechanical issues, you’d need an extended warranty or optional breakdown coverage.

No Regular Maintenance: Wear-and-tear over time, minor cosmetic damage, light scratches, windshield cracks and other gradual issues are not covered. Only sudden, significant damage from a specific incident is eligible under a full coverage policy.

When reviewing policy terms and speaking to agents, be aware of these common coverage gaps even within comprehensive bundles. For complete protection, add-on coverages may be required on top of your core full coverage policy.

Getting the Right Full Coverage Auto Insurance

As you shop insurance providers for full coverage options, comparing quotes is critical. Rates can swing by $100+ per month between insurers. Here are some tips for getting affordable, adequate protection:

  • Seek Discounts: Take advantage of any savings from defensive driving courses, low mileage, vehicle safety packages, good student status, and more offered by companies.
  • Raise Deductibles: By shouldering more money out of pocket per incident, you can reduce premiums significantly – just be sure you have savings to cover the costs if needed.
  • Compare Quotes Regularly: Shop rates from both national insurers like State Farm, Allstate and Geico and regional providers specific to your state. Loyalty rarely pays – compare quotes every renewal cycle.
  • Limit Add-Ons: Skip extra protections like car rental coverage if you could pay for a rental out-of-pocket after an accident reasonably comfortably. Focus on core coverages you truly need.

The cheapest full coverage car insurance option is rarely the best fit. As you aim to balance adequate protection with affordable premiums, educate yourself on exclusions. Limits and deductibles with each insurer you consider to make the right choice long-term.


Full coverage car insurance certainly costs more than basic liability policies on an annual basis. But for many drivers, the financial risks of accidents and theft outweigh the higher insurance costs. Understanding what comprehensive bundles include and exclude. Typical costs in your circumstances, and how to shop for competitive pricing allows you to get an optimal policy fit. Use this guide as a place to start as you explore your options around your full coverage car insurance decisions. Getting clear on the protections your vehicle truly needs, can give you peace of mind and budget confidence as you hit the open road.

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