What is Full Coverage Car Insurance?

Maggie Overholt
Maggie Overholt

When it comes to insuring your car or yourself as a driver, you have many options to choose from. Two of the more popular questions are, “What is full coverage auto insurance?” and, “Should I get full coverage auto insurance?” Full coverage insurance refers to the process of combining several individual types of auto insurance into a more complete policy.

What does full coverage car insurance consist of?

Liability coverage

Liability car insurance coverage is generally the lowest level of car insurance required by law in most states. This policy covers any damage or medical costs for someone else or their property in an accident that you cause.

Comprehensive coverage

This type of coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle that occurs from non-collision-type incidents. It can include things like weather, vandalism, animal damage or theft.

Collision coverage

Where liability coverage pays for the damage to someone else’s car, collision coverage pays for damage to your car. Generally, collision coverage pays to help repair your vehicle, whether you caused the accident or not.

What isn’t covered by full coverage auto insurance?

  • Items stolen from your car – If something is stolen out of your car, it is generally not covered under full coverage auto insurance. You may be able to add this to your coverage, or it may be covered under your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.
  • Normal wear and tear – Cars will gradually develop wear and tear as they age and you drive them. Wear and tear are not generally covered under full coverage auto insurance.
  • Uninsured motorists – When the other driver you have an accident with has no insurance, it could leave you in a bind. Generally, full coverage does not include uninsured motorist coverage. But if you want to, you can include coverage in your policy for an additional fee.

Do I need full coverage auto insurance?

If your car is financed, chances are you will be required by your lienholder to have full coverage auto insurance. If you own your car, the decision to have full coverage will be up to you. While not required by law, it may be worthwhile to pay extra each month for the additional coverage.

For many people, their car is how they get to work, how they pick up their kids and how they get to the grocery store. If something happens to your car and you don’t have the money to fix it on your own, you may find yourself in a tough situation. This is where full coverage auto insurance may be able to help.

If you have the money in savings to fix or replace your car if it is damaged, you may be able to get away with not having full coverage insurance. However, it still may be smart to have the coverage, even if you can afford to fix anything that happens.

How to make full coverage more affordable?

  • Shop your options. Each insurer will charge a different amount for full coverage insurance. To find the best rate, take the time to shop around and see what each insurer is willing to do for you. Insurance is a competitive industry, so you may see some great rates to get your business.
  • Only get the coverage that you need. The term full coverage refers to adding multiple different types of insurance to your policy. If there is a type of coverage that you don’t need, don’t get it. The insurance company will try to sell you on as much coverage as possible. Make sure you take the time to identify what types of coverage you need and what you don’t.
  • Adjust your coverage limits. Within each type of coverage that makes up full coverage, there are different levels and limits of coverage. If you need to save a little on your premiums, look to tweak down your coverage levels. However, be aware that what may save you a few dollars today could cost you thousands in the future. Never pay for more than you need, but don’t skimp so hard on the coverage that you leave yourself vulnerable to financial issues in the case of an accident.


About the Authors

Maggie Overholt

Maggie Overholt Contributor

Maggie is a former lead insurance editor at Reviews.com. She's written more than 70 insurance articles covering homeowners, auto, life, motorcycle, travel, and more.