Full coverage auto insurance may cost more, but it offers important protection when the unexpected occurs.
Many new vehicle owners assume that auto 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 auto 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 auto 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 (855) 518-0148 to start comparing personalized car insurance quotes:
In this article:
- What Is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?
- What Is Liability Coverage?
- What Is Collision Coverage?
- What Is Comprehensive Coverage?
- Full Coverage Vs Minimum Coverage
- How Much Does Full Coverage Auto Insurance Cost?
- Top Full Coverage Auto Insurance Providers
What Is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?
“Full coverage auto insurance” is a bit of a misnomer: even the best full coverage policies won’t cover everything that can go wrong with your vehicle, and there definitely isn’t a single policy called “full coverage.”
So, what is full coverage car insurance in that case? Put simply, it’s a term that 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 bills after an accident.
- You and your passengers injuries if you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
In insurance terms, this amounts to three types of policies:
- Collision coverage: Covers or replaces your car if it’s damaged in a collision.
- Comprehensive coverage: Covers damages to your car that are not due to collisions.
- Liability coverage: Covers liability for damage and injuries.
These types of coverage can be further divided into six types of insurance that most providers offer:
- Liability coverage: Covers injuries and damages you cause to other drivers and their vehicles, as well as the fees for your legal defense.
- Comprehensive coverage: Covers you for any damages that are not due to collisions such as theft, vandalism, etc.
- Collision coverage: Covers you for any damage to your vehicle due to a collision with a vehicle or object.
- Personal injury protection: Covers your own medical payments in case you are injured in an accident. Occasionally, this will cover lost wages as well.
- Un/underinsured motorist coverage: Covers you in case you get in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover your damages.
- Medical payments coverage: Covers the medical expenses of every passenger that was injured in your car.
Policies that cover all of the above offer the best protection, even though they won’t cover everything that happens to you and your vehicle, such as mechanical breakdowns and damage due to wear and tear. Let’s take a closer look at each of the policies that make up a full coverage car insurance policy.
What Is Liability Coverage?
Liability coverage is typically broken into bodily injury coverage, which, as the name implies, covers liability for any physical harm you may cause to another person, and property damage liability, which covers you 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 as simply “liability car insurance”, so don’t get confused if you don’t see them specifically stated on your quote or policy.
What Is Collision Coverage?
As freeing and enjoyable it can be to drive a car, doing so is actually quite dangerous, and there’s a fairly high chance you’ll get into an accident of some kind at one point in your life. Because 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 coverage 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 coverage is similar to collision coverage, but it covers damages to your vehicle that are not due to collisions. Outside of that, it’s almost exactly the same. However, it only covers damages from theft, vandalism, storms, etc. With comprehensive coverage, if someone keys your car, you’ll be covered. Not so with the other two types of insurance.
Full Coverage Vs Minimum Coverage Insurance
In some ways, the easiest way to understand the benefits of full coverage auto 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 auto 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 an accident that totals your car, 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 auto insurance, 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 Auto Insurance Cost?
The cost of full coverage car insurance depends on several things:
- The insurance provider
- Your vehicle
- Your driving history and age
- Your state
Auto 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 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 (855) 518-0148 or use the tool below:
Top Full Coverage Auto Insurance Providers
State Farm auto 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, second only to USAA car insurance’s, which are only available to military members. In addition to standard coverage options, State Farm also 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.
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.
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 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
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. Our only complaint is that Geico’s rates are a bit higher than State Farm’s, our number one choice.
How much does it cost for full coverage auto insurance?
The cost of full coverage auto insurance can vary widely from person to person and will depend on your provider, vehicle, driving history, and state.
What is the cheapest car insurance provider for full coverage?
In our research, we found USAA had the cheapest average annual full coverage premium, clocking in at $1,307. However, only military service members, their families, and veterans are eligible for USAA insurance. The cheapest non-military-exclusive insurance provider is State Farm.
Is it worth having full coverage auto insurance?
It is generally recommended that all motorists take out a full coverage auto insurance policy. While lower-coverage policies may meet state requirements, they usually do not provide adequate protection, and can put drivers in serious financial duress if a serious accident causes damage that exceeds their coverage.
What Is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?
Full coverage auto insurance does not only cover your vehicle, but also someone else’s in case of an accident. It combines collision and comprehensive insurance, which cover costs of your damaged vehicle, and liability coverage, which pays for the damage you cause to others.
Use our tool below or call our team at (855) 518-0148 to start comparing car insurance quotes:
More On Insurance:
Read our other insurance articles: