Choosing a car insurance policy can be a frustrating and baffling process. Insurance agents often toss out phrases like “uninsured motorist coverage,” “bodily injury liability,” or “gap insurance” without fully clarifying what any of them actually mean.

When presented with all the different coverage types, it’s easy to simply select the option that seems the most comprehensive: full coverage auto insurance. From the name alone, full coverage car insurance sounds like a complete auto insurance policy that will serve you well in any emergency or scrape, from a minor fender bender to an unexpected hailstorm. 

The truth isn’t quite so simple. Your full coverage auto insurance may not cover as much as you think. Read on through our comprehensive guide to get the facts about full coverage auto insurance: what that phrase really means, and what the insurance companies don’t want you to know. But first thing’s first––what’s the best way to search for a new car insurance policy?

How to get cheap full coverage car insurance

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Table of Contents

What is a full coverage car insurance policy, and what does it cover?

When shopping around for full coverage auto insurance, many buyers mistakenly assume that a full coverage policy is a single product—one that prevents them from shouldering any financial burden in the event of an accident (whether that burden consists of medical payments or personal property damage).

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Full coverage is not a single product but rather a grouping of separate insurance policies. “Complete” or “umbrella” coverage are other terms used to refer to this package of insurance products, the precise contents and coverage limits of which vary from company to company and state to state.

There are a few common factors, though. If you ask your local insurance agent for a “full coverage” car insurance quote, the combination of coverages they suggest will likely include the following car insurance policies:

  • Liability coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is a type of insurance coverage. If you’re at fault for a car accident, your liability coverage will cover the costs of any bodily injury or property damage to the other driver. Your liability coverage may also cover any legal fees or payouts associated with the accident. Liability insurance is one of the most basic types of car insurance coverage; almost every U.S. state requires that drivers have some form of it. 

The most common types of liability coverage are:

  • Bodily injury coverage covers medical expenses for anyone other than yourself if you are at fault for an accident on the road.
  • Property damage covers damage caused to another person’s personal property or vehicle if you are found to be liable.

It’s important to remember that liability coverage, unlike Personal Injury Protection coverage, does not cover your own medical or property damages––just those of anyone else involved in the accident. It also usually does not cover costs associated with intentional damage, contractual liabilities, or criminal prosecution.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage, also known as collision insurance, pays for damages to your vehicle in the event of a car accident. The accidents don’t necessarily need to involve other drivers––they just need to be the result of a collision.

For example, if you run into a deer on a dark road at night, any repairs needed due to damage to your vehicle’s hood or windshield would likely be covered by your collision coverage policy.  

However, there are exclusions to the policy. Collision insurance won’t cover the costs of damage caused by “Acts of God,” a term insurance companies use to describe a wide swath of unfortunate events ranging from vandalism to sinkholes to an unexpected tornado. That’s where comprehensive coverage comes in.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is car insurance coverage that pays for damages not associated with an accident. 

This policy type covers damages from crimes like vandalism or theft, or “Acts of God” weather events like hailstorms, fires, or floods. For example, if an unexpected tornado damages your car, your comprehensive insurance will typically provide a rental reimbursement and shell out for the repairs. Comprehensive insurance coverage does not cover damage incurred by a collision or accident with another driver––you’ll need collision coverage for that. 

If you’re having a little trouble keeping these three basic types of car insurance coverage straight, you can refer to this handy table:

Category Covers Doesn’t Cover
Liability Coverage Bodily injury or property damage if you are at fault or if the person at fault is an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist. Your medical bills or damage to your car or property should you be at fault.
Collision Insurance Coverage Damage to objects (not animals or people) and vehicles due to a collision regardless of fault. Hit-and-run accidents. Doesn’t cover damage due to “Acts of God.” (See Comprehensive)
Comprehensive Coverage “Acts of God”: events out of a person’s control: for example, fire, floods, or vandalism. Doesn’t cover medical costs or vehicle damage due to a collision.

How much does full coverage car insurance cost?

Like other insurance types, your full coverage car insurance cost will vary depending upon your vehicle, driving record, location, credit score, and several other factors. A teenaged Camaro driver in New Hampshire will probably pay higher premiums than a well-mannered minivan owner in North Carolina

However, because full coverage car insurance consists of a package of separate insurance products, it’s safe to say that it will usually be substantially more expensive than the bare-bones minimum coverage that most states mandate. Let’s take a look at the average costs by coverage level for two typical drivers in two different states––Texas and California––as well as the average full coverage car insurance costs in all fifty states. 

Average Monthly Costs by Coverage Level: Texas

 

Coverage Level Provider Average Cost
30/60 (State Min Liability) Clearcover $144.55 
30/60 (State Min Liability) Mercury $127.19
30/60 (State Min Liability) Elephant.com $222.52
30/60 (State Min Liability) GAINSCO $145.33
30/60 (State Min Liability) Commonwealth Casualty $152.30
50/100/50 Liability Clearcover $154.07
50/100/50 Liability Mercury $152.38
50/100/50 Liability Apparent Insurance $255.20
50/100/50 Liability GAINSCO $165.15
50/100/50 Liability Commonwealth Casualty $177.18
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Clearcover $353.38
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Mercury $319.80
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Elephant.com $361.80
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Safeco $291.84
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Commonwealth Casualty $350.70
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Clearcover $307.45
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Mercury $291.48
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Elephant.com $401.53
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Safeco $302.23
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Commonwealth Casualty $298.78
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Clearcover $480.49
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Mercury $303.90
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Elephant.com $439.55
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Nationwide $344.92
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Commonwealth Casualty $312.54
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Clearcover $321.14
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Mercury $305.96
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Elephant.com $377.79
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Nationwide $325.19
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Commonwealth Casualty $314.80

 

Average Monthly Costs by Coverage Level: California

 

Coverage Level Provider Average Cost
15/30 (State Min Liability) Mercury $201.72
15/30 (State Min Liability) Travelers $231.06
15/30 (State Min Liability) Anchor $234.85
15/30 (State Min Liability) Clearcover $185.84
15/30 (State Min Liability) Infinity Insurance $217.16
50/100/50 Liability Mercury $221.58
50/100/50 Liability Travelers $260.37
50/100/50 Liability Anchor $223.54
50/100/50 Liability Clearcover $203.85
50/100/50 Liability Infinity Insurance $225.03
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Mercury $321.28
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Travelers $307.07
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Anchor $293.40
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll Clearcover $283.27
50/100 + $500 Comp/Coll 21st Century Insurance $301.48
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Mercury $297.74
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Travelers $316.50
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Anchor $288.55
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll Clearcover $254.16
50/100 + $1000 Comp/Coll 21st Century Insurance $290.99
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Mercury $335.56
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Travelers $359.77
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Anchor $314.38
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll Clearcover $303.55
100/300 + $500 Comp/Coll 21st Century Insurance $283.95
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Mercury $334.38
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Travelers $351.69
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Anchor $314.13
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll Clearcover $258.07
100/300 + $1000 Comp/Coll 21st Century Insurance $274.28

Average Monthly Costs in Each State: Liability Only vsFull Coverage

State Liability Only Full Coverage
Alaska $159.83 $186.75 
Alabama $187.24 $252.21
Arkansas $201.66 $243.28
Arizona $206.93 $282.81
California $223.13 $288.89
Colorado $244.29 $304.41
Connecticut $257.96 $297.49
DC $290.58 $300.45
Delaware $314.12 $352.65
Florida $320.84 $408.31
Georgia $310.73 $362.72
Hawaii $129.32 $151.17
Iowa $155.63 $187.13
Idaho $146.88 $171.11
Illinois $177.13 $199.46
Indiana $163.80 $198.65
Kansas $198.96 $233.51
Kentucky $264.71 $312.13
Louisiana $319.48 $415.63
Massachusetts $179.03 $186.30
Maryland $285.94 $293.19
Maine $138.08 $150.66
Michigan $470.20 $520.40
Minnesota $156.58 $183.76
Missouri $252.88 $290.73
Mississippi $215.32 $242.91
Montana $179.09 $244.33
North Carolina $133.39 $154.96
North Dakota $175.26 $213.85
Nebraska $208.15 $229.89
New Hampshire $161.02 $173.31
New Jersey $267.15 $302.50
New Mexico $171.57 $231.03
Nevada $296.64 $361.84
New York $296.85 $297.68
Ohio $173.57 $202.32
Oklahoma $197.85 $263.37
Oregon $195.06 $218.27
Pennsylvania $198.20 $218.58
Rhode Island $341.96 $359.29
South Carolina $298.39 $335.07
South Dakota $155.15 $196.88
Tennessee $191.26 $231.63
Texas $265.48 $325.18
Utah $205.63 $244.16
Virginia $207.59 $234.12
Vermont $136.58 $151.99
Washington $244.25 $280.59
Wisconsin $155.07 $177.26
West Virginia $213.51 $250.97
Wyoming $153.67 $184.93

 

You might want a quick estimate of how much the various car insurance coverage levels would cost in your zip code. In that case, you can refer to Insurify’s Quick Quote Calculator below

Insurify's Quick Quote Calculator Select all that apply to you and compare rates between coverage packages

State Minimum Protection

/month
Body Injury
Property damage
Collison
Comprehensive

Standard Protection

/month
Body Injury
Property damage
Collison
Comprehensive

Asset Protection

/month
Body Injury
Property damage
Collison
Comprehensive

Premium Protection

/month
Body Injury
Property damage
Collison
Comprehensive

* Estimate based on a market average of rates provided to other users in ZIP code 90011 with a clean driving record, and matching your selected criteria: married, under 25 years old, have no kids who drive, own your car worth less than $5k, and rent your home.

And if you’d like to see accurate, real-time 24/7 quotes from dozens of top insurance companies, Insurify stands at the ready to help you find an affordable car insurance policy, personalized with custom discounts just for you.

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What other auto insurance products are there?

Though liability coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage are the three main components of a full coverage policy, they aren’t the only auto insurance options.

Roadside assistance and towing, glass repair, rental car insurance, and accident forgiveness are just some of the optional coverages available for you to discover. Some other insurance products––many of which aren’t included in a typical full coverage policy––include:

  • Personal Injury Protection Coverage: Personal Injury Protection coverage pays for some or all of the medical expenses and potentially lost wages for you and passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Twelve states mandate some amount of PIP coverage: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UM): This coverage type, also referred to as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) coverage, pays for your medical bills should you be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or insufficiently insured driver. There are separate products that similarly provide coverage for damage to your personal property.
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage: This coverage type covers costs associated with either injury or property damage in the event of an accident should the person at fault have insufficient insurance coverage (per state requirements).

Do I need full coverage auto insurance? 

On its surface, shelling out for full coverage car insurance seems like a no-brainer. After all, every driver wants the peace of mind of maximum financial protection when things go south, no matter the circumstance. If you don’t mind paying higher insurance premiums (and, potentially, a higher deductible), springing for full coverage car insurance might be the right choice for you and your family.

However, it’s important to note that the exact content of full coverage plans varies from state to state and company to company. Even full coverage plans may not pay for one hundred percent reimbursement of physical damage or medical payments coverage in every situation. For that reason, it’s critical that you look over all your available coverage options and always read the fine print before signing onto a full coverage plan. 

So that’s it: your comprehensive guide to all things full coverage insurance. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by the insurance world’s confusing terminology, you’ll be equipped with the information you need to make smart decisions about what level of coverage suits you and your life. 

But regardless of whether you’re in the market for car insurance, homeowners insurance, or life insurance, Insurify and its cutting-edge quote comparison AI technology can provide dozens of extra-affordable quotes personalized for you––without annoying spam calls or sharing your data!

Full Coverage Auto Insurance: Quick Questions

What is full coverage car insurance?

Full coverage car insurance is a general term used by insurance companies to refer to a variety of different insurance packages. However, full coverage car insurance typically includes three main components: liability insurance, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.

Do I have to buy full coverage car insurance?

No U.S. state requires that drivers purchase full coverage car insurance. However, every state does mandate that drivers retain a minimum amount of insurance coverage or other proof of financial responsibility in the event of an accident. That said, full coverage car insurance might still be a smart purchase, especially if you want financial protection from costs caused by unexpected hardships like vandalism or wildfires. If you get into a scrape without it, you’ll likely have to pay more out of pocket.

What’s the best way for me to compare full coverage car insurance quotes?

Rather than wasting days comparing quotes from individual insurance carriers like Allstate or GEICO one-by-one, innovative insurance quote comparison platform Insurify can help you get real, accurate, and cheap car insurance quotes from dozens of companies in just a few clicks!

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Updated February 19, 2021

Jeannette Wisniewski is a technology writer whose passion is encouraging people to engage with technology by making it more understandable and more interesting. Though she enjoys writing business copy for a wide range of subjects, she is most inspired by emerging tech and its applications. She is a graduate of San Jose State University, a Georgia Peach at heart, and happy to call Boise, ID home.