Many new vehicle owners assume that car insurance is a one-size-fits all deal. Though car insurance is a bit more nuanced, most people will end up deciding between two types of coverage: minimum coverage, which meets the state minimum requirements, and full coverage car insurance, which offers more protection than is required by the state.
So, what are the differences between all these different types of coverage, and what is full coverage car insurance exactly? In this article, we’re going to break it all down for you so that you can make a better-educated decision about what car insurance policy is right for you.
Whenever you shop for car insurance, we recommend getting quotes from multiple providers so you can compare coverage and rates. In addition to the insurance company you choose, factors such as your age, vehicle make and model, and driving history can affect your premium, so what’s best for your neighbor might not be best for you.
Use our tool below or call (844) 246-8209 to start comparing personalized car insurance quotes:
In this article:
- What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?
- Full Coverage Car Insurance Vs Minimum Coverage
- How Much Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Cost?
- Top Full Coverage Car Insurance Providers
- FAQ About Full Coverage Car Insurance
What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?
Full coverage car insurance is a combination of collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and liability coverage. This means that in the case of an accident, full coverage car insurance will cover not only the damages on your own car, but also the injuries and damages you may have caused.
Simply put, full coverage car insurance refers to a combination of car insurance policies that cover:
- Liability for injury or damage to other people/property, and legal fees.
- Any of your own injuries or medical bills you might have after an accident.
- Damage to your car and repair costs due to an accident or other similar event.
- Any of your passengers’ injuries or medical expenses after an accident.
- You and your passengers injuries if you’re in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver.
What Is Liability Coverage?
Liability coverage is typically broken into bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Bodily injury coverage, as the name implies, covers liability for any physical harm you may cause to another person, while property damage liability covers the cost for any harm you cause to another’s property. Some states require only one of these, while others require both — and one state, Virginia, doesn’t require them at all.
Most insurance companies will refer to both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage simply as liability insurance, so don’t get confused if you don’t see them specifically stated on your quote or policy.
What Is Collision Coverage?
Because car accidents are so common, it’s generally a good idea to get coverage for the damages that may occur if you ever get into one, and collision insurance does precisely that. Even if your car is totaled, some insurance companies will pay to replace it with a completely new one if the accident takes place within a certain time frame after purchasing your policy.
What Is Comprehensive Coverage?
Comprehensive insurance covers the replacement or repair your car if it's stolen or damaged in a non-collision incident that is out of your control, such as physical damage received during a storm, a fire, or from theft or vandalism. Comprehensive coverage is often optional, but you may be required to carry it if your car is financed or leased.
To learn more about these kinds of coverage, as well as medical payments coverage (MedPay), personal injury protection insurance (PIP), and uninsurance/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), check out our full article on the standard types of car insurance. This article will also give you details on optional coverages, such as gap insurance and roadside assistance services.
Full Coverage Car Insurance Vs Minimum Coverage Insurance
In some ways, the easiest way to understand the benefits of full coverage car insurance is to compare it to minimum coverage insurance.
Most states only legally require drivers to take out one of the three policies that make up full coverage car insurance: liability coverage. That means that you’re covered against any injury or damage you may cause to other people and their property, but when it comes to yourself, you’re out of luck. If you get into a car accident that totals your vehicle, but you only have liability coverage, you’re going to have to buy a new one without any help from your insurance company. When you have full coverage policy, though, your provider will cover some of the costs and potentially even replace your car with a new one.
Clearly, getting only the minimum insurance leaves you at risk for some very unpleasant financial surprises. Because of these huge risks, we always recommend that motorists take out full auto coverage policies to insure them against sudden large expenses.
How Much Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Cost?
The cost of full coverage car insurance depends on several things:
- Your insurance provider
- Your vehicle
- Your driving history and age
- Your state
Car insurance rates are not standardized, so each provider is free to set their own rates. But why should your vehicle, driving history, and state affect your insurance premium?
Well, It’s all about risk. Think of it like this: if you total a Tesla Roadster, it’s going to be far more expensive to replace than a Kia Rio. That means your car is a lot more risky to insure, so insurance providers need to hike up your premium to cover themselves for that risk.
Similarly, your state and driving history influence how much of a risk you are to your insurance company. If you’ve been driving for 20 years without so much as a traffic violation, you’re a lower risk to your insurance company. But if you’re a brand new driver who has no history to back them up, and you’re living in Texas, the state with the highest number of crashes per year, your insurance company is going to need to charge you more.
To see how the above factors will affect your insurance rate, call (844) 246-8209 or use the tool below:
Top Full Coverage Car Insurance Providers
We looked at some of the best car insurance providers and while there were many from which to choose, we these two providers should definitely be at the top of your list.
State Farm car insurance is the leading car insurance provider in the U.S. with high levels of customer satisfaction, a strong financial strength rating, and reasonable rates to back up its long-standing reputation.
|Reputation And Financial Strength||AM Best gave State Farm an A++ financial strength rating, which is the highest mark available. Financially strong insurance companies are preferable because they have enough funds to fulfill claims without putting themselves under financial duress. This means that State Farm is more likely to fulfill the claims you submit, unlike other, smaller companies who may try to save every penny. State Farm also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), although it is not accredited.|
|Pricing And Coverage Options||State Farm’s premiums are also fairly low. In addition to standard coverage options, State Farm offers plans for classic cars and sports cars. We were particularly impressed with its travel and rental coverage, which not only reimburses you for the cost of a rental car if your regular is undriveable for more than 24 hours, but will also cover the cost of lodging and food if you’re 50 miles or more from home.|
|Discount And Reward Programs||Along with their already very reasonable rates, State Farm also offers a number of enticing discount programs, such as the Steer Clear program, which offers discounts to drivers under 25 who complete a driving safety course from State Farm and have been accident free for the last three years.|
|Customer Satisfaction||Customers tend to be very satisfied with State Farm compared to other providers due to its large network of agents, easy online policy management, and the higher likelihood of getting claims filled.|
Although we overall highly recommend State Farm, we are a bit disappointed that they don’t have any accident forgiveness policies, which are fairly common among the provider’s competitors.
However, this is a fairly small oversight in the face of the overwhelmingly outstanding coverage that State Farm provides.
Read more in our State Farm insurance review.
Geico auto insurance is the second largest auto insurance provider in the US after State Farm, and is a great choice for its large network of local agents, easy online quotes and claim filing process, as well as its reasonable rates.
|Reputation And Financial Strength||Geico has received the highest possible financial strength rating, A++, from AM Best. This means that Geico is more capable of fulfilling claims than other, smaller, or less financially stable insurance companies. It has an A+ rating from BBB and is generally considered a highly reputable company.|
|Pricing And Coverage Options||
Geico’s premiums are more expensive than State Farm’s, but still significantly cheaper than most of Geico’s other competitors.
Geico offers the six standard coverage options and also offers additional options like rental car reimbursement.
|Discount And Reward Programs||
Geico excels at providing a wide variety of discount programs that customers can take advantage of. These discounts include: senior discount, federal employee discount, emergency deployment discount, military discount, student discount, member and employee discounts, anti-theft system discount, good driver discount for drivers who are accident free for 5 consecutive years, multi-vehicle discount, multi-policy discount, and more.
Geico is known for its convenience. Its easy online filing and quoting procedures make dealing with Geico a breeze, and there’s no shortage of local agents to speak with if you’d like to meet with a representative face to face. Their mobile app is highly rated, with a 4.8/5 star rating on the Google Play app store.
The provider has a low level of customer complaints, with only 3.89 percent of all industry complaints, compared to the similarly sized State Farm, which has 9.01 percent of all industry complaints, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Geico is a highly-reputable insurance company that will provide most customers with an easy and convenient insurance experience.
Read more in our Geico review.
Use our tool below or call our team at (844) 246-8209 to start comparing auto insurance quotes:
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.
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