Full coverage can be interpreted in different ways. It is not a specific coverage offered by insurance carriers. Your agent does not hit a full coverage check box on your policy, and you are ready to go. It is a term which has evolved and is well known in the insurance industry, but insurance carriers do not use a laid out set of guidelines which they all follow.
The Core of Full Coverage
State Minimum Requirements
Every state in the U.S. can set its own state minimum requirements for auto insurance. The state minimum requirements typically include bodily injury liability and property damage.
Comprehensive coverage will cover physical damage for all the things that can happen to your vehicle other than a collision. Full coverage cannot be possible without comprehensive coverage. Fire, theft, vandalism, storm damage, hitting a deer, windshield coverage, and more are covered by comprehensive.
Collision coverage is the coverage that gives you the broadest protection and is always included in full coverage auto insurance. Collision coverage ensures your vehicle will be covered regardless of what causes the damage. Collision covers damage for all accidents and since collision cannot be purchased without comprehensive coverage anything other than an accident will still be covered.
Medical Coverage / Personal Injury Protection Don’t forget your medical coverage! Many policies do come with a minimal dollar amount for medical. Personal Injury Protection is provided at the level set by the states which require it. Optional increased limits are usually available so be sure to check this coverage over with your insurance agent.
Don’t Be Fooled By Extras Not Automatically Included In Full Coverage:
Extra car insurance coverage is where the line starts to get blurred when it comes to full coverage. If you state the words full coverage, maybe you assume it means every insurance coverage available. Maybe you think roadside assistance is automatically included with the term full coverage. One lesson you do not want to learn the hard way is to think you are covered for something when you are not.
Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist
These coverages can easily be overlooked if you are not familiar with the coverage. It is important to understand the coverage and determine if it is something you want. Insurance agents can easily drop this coverage off of your quote to low ball your rate and beat other quotes. If you opt out of this coverage, make sure you do it knowingly and are not surprised down the line.
Buy a new vehicle, request full coverage, and expect gap insurance, not necessarily. Gap insurance is a coverage you need to request up front. A good agent will offer it to you, but you can’t always rely on it. Do not assume gap insurance is automatically included with full coverage auto insurance.
Towing is probably the most commonly packaged coverage included with full coverage auto insurance. It can be really disappointing when you are stranded and call your agent only to find out you do not have coverage. Definitely, specify if you want roadside assistance.
Some insurance carriers do offer a limited amount of car rental reimbursement when you purchase full coverage auto insurance. Sometimes the coverage is not listed, so you have to ask what your policy offers. If car rental is an important coverage to you, make sure to request it at the time you set up your policy.
If you have never had an auto insurance claim, you may not be aware insurance companies do not use parts straight from the car manufacturer. Aftermarket parts and used parts are used to repair vehicles.
Upon request, some insurance carriers offer an additional coverage to get OEM parts, do not plan on it being included with full coverage.
Full Glass Coverage
Glass damage is automatically covered when you choose full coverage insurance because it would fall under comprehensive coverage. However, if you opt for a high deductible on comprehensive, it could wipe out your glass coverage. Full glass coverage you pay a higher premium to get no deductible or at least a lower deductible for glass claims only. Check into full glass coverage if you go with a deductible on comprehensive coverage.
If the insurance carrier you select offers vanishing deductibles, be aware the coverage usually does not automatically come with a full coverage policy. It is typically offered for an additional cost which would need to be added to your policy before a loss occurs.
Be careful when it comes to using the phrase full coverage auto insurance. Since it can be taken to mean different things, you really need to be specific when selecting coverage. If car insurance terminology is Greek to you, start by learning the basics and ask questions until you feel comfortable with the subject.
Full Coverage Auto Insurance
Many think they carry “full coverage» on their car insurance policy; however, in reality there is no such thing as full coverage auto insurance.
A full coverage policy is typically one that includes several types of car insurance coverage that, as a whole, provide a solid level of protection in case of an accident.
What Does “Full Coverage» Mean?
While there is no car insurance coverage that goes by the name “full coverage,» most individuals think of full coverage as a policy that combines the following:
State-required liability or no-fault insurance coverage to cover bodily injury and property damages to others in an accident you cause.
Collision coverage to pay for damages to your vehicle in the event of an accident.
Comprehensive coverage, which is designed to cover vandalism, theft, and other damages that are not the result of an accident.
Even with this, the details and amount of protection will vary by the company issuing the policy. You need to ask about the details and read the fine print carefully.
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Additional Coverages to Consider
Having a full coverage auto insurance policy doesn’t mean you have full protection no matter what. Depending on your circumstances, it may even mean you don’t even have good enough protection. Instead of relying on a “full coverage» policy, ask yourself what coverage and limits best meet your needs.
There are numerous other types of car insurance coverage that will offer you additional protection in case of an accident or other unfortunate situation.
Consider adding one or more of the following insurance coverages to your policy if you are looking for a very comprehensive car insurance policy:
Uninsured motorist protection – This helps you cover your costs if you get hit by a driver with no insurance.
Underinsured motorist protection – This will help pay your costs if the other driver has insufficient insurance coverage and/or coverage limits.
Medical payments coverage – You can use this coverage to pay for your medical costs after a car accident, even if you were at fault.
Rental reimbursement – If you’re in an accident and your car is in repair, this coverage can cover your rental costs while you wait.
Emergency road service – You can use this coverage if your car breaks down on the road and you need towing or labor.
Customized parts and equipment – If you’ve enhanced your vehicle with expensive equipment, this coverage will help you with the cost of damages to your custom parts.
Gap insurance – If your car is totaled in an accident, this coverage helps pay the balance between the amount you owe on your loan or lease and the car’s estimated actual cash value.
The Right Coverage for You
There are many factors to consider when determining which auto insurance coverage to purchase and which to opt out of. These include:
The fair market value of your vehicle.
The quality and limits of your health insurance.
Medical payments coverage can be used to supplement your health insurance after an accident.
High theft or vandalism rates can merit additional protection.
If your city has a high number of uninsured drivers, you may wish to purchases uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Your current budget.
The best protection is frequently the most insurance you can afford to carry.
Remember that what one person considers “full coverage» may not be the best car insurance for you.
Take a look at your own personal needs, your vehicle, and your budget to determine what will work best for you. Once you have an idea of what car insurance coverages you need, talk to your agent or get a quote online to create a policy that you feel offers comprehensive protection and peace of mind.