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Published: May 18, 2022Last updated: October 18, 2022

Full Coverage Auto Insurance Guide

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If you’re talking about auto insurance, you may hear the term “full coverage.” So what does that mean? The truth is that the minimum coverage required in 48 states is generally not sufficient to deal with the costs of at-fault accidents, including property damage, bodily injuries, deaths, and lost wages. If you can afford it, we recommend getting full coverage auto insurance, which we’ll explain in detail below.

Full Coverage Car Insurance 

“Full coverage” is not technically a type of auto insurance coverage. The term refers to a combination of liability, comprehensive and collision, medical, and uninsured motorist coverages that you can purchase to protect your vehicle.

Getting full coverage auto insurance typically means that you’re going above and beyond the legally required minimum coverage, which varies by state. See your state’s requirements in our auto insurance guide.

What It Covers

  • Liability coverage: Full coverage includes both bodily injury liability and property damage liability. If you get into a car accident and it’s your fault, you’ll be responsible for the associated costs, unless you live in one of the no-fault states:
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Kansas
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • North Dakota
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Utah
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage: However, property damage and bodily injury coverage aren’t sufficient. You’ll also need collision coverage for things like pothole damage, as well as comprehensive coverage for auto theft, auto vandalism, and more damages from incidents other than collisions, such as fires. Learn more about the difference between collision vs. comprehensive coverage.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage: Although every state except New Hampshire and Virginia requires auto insurance, not everyone complies with the law. If you get into an accident that’s the fault of someone with no or insufficient auto insurance, you’ll need uninsured motorist coverage.

Light BulbNOTE

Uninsured motorist coverage also covers hit-and-runs.

  • Medical payments coverage / personal injury protection (PIP): If you get into an at-fault accident, medical coverage will pay for you and your passengers’ injuries and lost wages.

What It Doesn’t Cover

  • Emergency roadside assistance and towing: If you get stuck on the side of the road, your insurance company won’t be able to send help using full coverage alone.
  • Ridesharing: Personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial driving unless you add on ridesharing coverage for Uber or Lyft. Explore the best auto insurance for rideshares.
  • Rental car reimbursement coverage: If your car is being repaired under a covered claim, rental car coverage would pay for a rental car.
  • Gap coverage: While collision and comprehensive coverage will reimburse you for the market value of your car, if your car depreciates in value, you won’t get back what you actually paid for it. This will matter if your car is totaled or stolen. Gap insurance makes sure you’ll receive all the money you paid for your car, not its current value.
  • Optional basic economic loss: OBEL adds $25,000 to $50,000 in basic economic loss. You can apply OBEL however you see fit, whether it’s reimbursement for physical therapy, rehab, or income loss.
  • Glass coverage: You might be surprised to learn that comprehensive coverage doesn’t always include damage to windshields, sunroofs, or side and rear windows.

How Much It Costs

How much does auto insurance cost? Well, the average cost of full coverage auto insurance in 2020 was $1,202.

Car type Average yearly cost of full coverage auto insurance in 2020 (high to low)
Small sedan $1,342
Large sedan $1,264
Medium sedan $1,245
Half-ton/crew pickup (4WD) $1,242
Electric $1,227
Hybrid vehicle $1,212
Medium SUV (42D) $1,118
Minivan $1,096
Small SUV (FWD) $1,0871

Light BulbFYI

Car insurance rates depend on many factors, from the state you live in to your vehicle type and driving history. In other words, take annual averages with a grain of salt.

Who Needs It

We recommend full coverage insurance for everyone, as your state’s minimum requirements may not be sufficient to cover the costs of at-fault accidents.

How to Get Full Car Insurance Coverages

Getting full coverage insurance isn’t a hard process when you have AutoInsurance.com on your side.

  1. Compare car insurance quotes. Compare quotes from multiple providers to find the lowest rates. Select full coverage for each provider so you can compare apples to apples.
  2. Find a provider. Once you find a quote you like along with positive customer service ratings, contact the provider to be connected with an insurance agent or broker.
  3. Work with an agent or broker. Your agent or broker will ask you about your needs to find a policy that works for you.
  4. Pay your premium. Once you pay your premium, your policy will be active on its effective date.

Ways to Save

piggy bank

While full coverage might be more expensive than minimum coverage, there are a few ways you can keep premiums to a minimum:

  1. Raise your deductible. Raising your deductible will lower your premiums. But make sure that you could afford your deductible if you got into an at-fault accident tomorrow.
  2. Use discounts. Every auto insurance provider offers discounts. Find out how much you could save by disclosing your veteran status, adding multiple cars to your policy, or bundling your home and auto insurance together.
  3. Drop other optional coverages. You may not need supplemental coverages like rental car reimbursement or glass coverage. Determine what’s unnecessary and get rid of it to lower the cost of your auto insurance.

Full Coverage vs. Liability Insurance

What’s the difference between full coverage and liability insurance? In a nutshell, full coverage includes liability insurance but adds on more coverage.

Coverage type Full coverage Liability insurance
Bodily injury Yes Yes
Property damage Yes Yes
Damage to the other car Yes Yes
Collision Yes No
Comprehensive Yes No
Injury to passengers in the other car Yes Yes
Light poles Yes Yes
Damage to your car Yes No
Your injuries Yes No
Your passenger’s injuries Yes No
Best for vehicle owners No Yes
Best for financed vehicles Yes No
Best for new cars Yes No2

Recap

While paying more for full coverage auto insurance may not seem appealing initially, you’ll appreciate the expanded coverage and limits if you get into an at-fault accident. In the long run, full coverage insurance could actually save you money over minimum coverage insurance!

FAQ

Learn more about full coverage insurance below.

What does it mean to have full coverage?

Having full coverage insurance means your insurance has all of these coverages:

  • Bodily injury coverage
  • Property damage coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Medical payments coverage

Is full coverage better than minimum coverage?

Full coverage is better than minimum coverage because you’ll have more coverage and higher limits. For example, if you lack comprehensive coverage, which is part of full coverage but not minimum coverage policies, any auto thefts or vandalism won’t be covered.

How do I know if I have full coverage?

You can know if you have full coverage if you have all the following:

  • Bodily injury coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Property damage coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage

What’s the difference between full coverage and liability?

Here are the differences between full coverage and liability insurance:

Coverage type Liability insurance Full coverage
Collision No Yes
Comprehensive No Yes
Damage to your car No Yes
Your injuries No Yes
Your passenger’s injuries No Yes
Best for financed vehicles No Yes
Best for new cars No Yes
Best for vehicle owners Yes No

Citations

  1. YOUR DRIVING COSTS. AAA. (2020).
    https://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2020-Your-Driving-Costs-Brochure-Interactive-FINAL-12-9-20.pdf

  2. What Is The Difference Between Liability vs. Full Coverage Insurance? UAI. (2022).
    https://www.unitedautoinsurance.com/what-is-the-difference-between-liability-vs-full-coverage-insurance/