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When you purchase full-coverage car insurance, you’re paying for a robust policy that offers more protection over a broader range of incidents than just liability insurance does. You may be required to purchase a full-coverage policy if you have a loan on your vehicle. Or you may consider purchasing a full-coverage policy for a more expensive car or if you have younger drivers in your household.
What is full-coverage car insurance?
Full-coverage auto insurance includes state-mandated liability coverage along with comprehensive and collision coverage. A full-coverage policy protects your car, other drivers, and their cars. Minimum requirements vary by state, but most states require drivers to have liability coverage, including bodily injury and property damage. Some states even require underinsured or uninsured motorist protection.
Full-coverage policies typically include:
Liability policies cover damage to the other vehicle and bodily injury to the other driver in an accident when you’re at fault. Liability policies usually pay for vehicle repairs and medical expenses. Each state requires that drivers carry at least liability coverage, but the minimum amount of coverage varies by state.
Liability provides a coverage limit on each accident. When you look at liability coverage, you’ll typically see three numbers that might look like this: 25/50/25. Those numbers represent the limit for each part of your liability coverage. In this example, the numbers mean $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage. Your state may require more or less, or you may opt for more coverage as extra protection.
Collision will cover damages your vehicle sustains due to contact with another vehicle or object when you’re at fault. Most collision coverage also covers damage from potholes and rolling your vehicle. Collision coverage is usually more expensive than comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle against noncollision events, including:
Riots and civil unrest
Falling objects, like trees or ice
Contact with an animal, like hitting a deer
Broken glass (some policies)
Some states require medical payments or personal injury protection coverage as well as uninsured motorist coverage. Those may be included in your full-coverage policy.
What’s the difference between liability-only coverage and full coverage?
Liability coverage only covers injury to someone else and damage to someone else’s car or property in an accident where you’re at fault. Full coverage, on the other hand, is a policy that includes liability coverage along with comprehensive and collision coverage, which together cover damages to your own car.
For example, if you accidentally rear-end another driver and tear off your bumper, a liability policy would pay for repairs to the other car. You’d be responsible for paying for a new bumper on your vehicle. A full-coverage policy on the other hand, would cover the damages to your own car in addition to the other party’s car.
|Full Coverage||Liability Only|
|Covers others’ property when you’re at fault||Yes||Yes|
|Covers damage to your vehicle in an accident||Yes||No|
|Covers damage to your vehicle because of weather-related events, theft, or vandalism||Yes||No|
Do you need full-coverage car insurance?
Full-coverage car insurance can be beneficial to many different types of drivers. While most states don’t require drivers to have full coverage, many lenders often do. And having such a policy adds an extra layer of protection that could save you thousands of dollars in the event of an accident.
When you should buy full-coverage insurance
If you’re on the fence about whether a full-coverage policy is the right fit, here are some factors to consider. Drivers who might consider purchasing full-coverage insurance include:
Drivers with car loans
If you take out a car loan, your lender will likely require that you purchase a full-coverage policy to cover the cost of the vehicle if it’s damaged or totaled. Full coverage can help protect you from having to pay for a vehicle you can no longer use because of damage.
Parents with a teen on their policy or young drivers may consider buying a full-coverage policy because drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 have the highest accident involvement rate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reported that crash risk is highest for drivers in their first year of getting a license. Even minor accidents, like fender benders or backing into a pole, can be expensive to pay for without car insurance.
Drivers with a new car
Even if you purchase your car outright, you might want to buy a full-coverage policy for your brand-new vehicle. You should consider the cash value of your vehicle in pre-accident condition (with depreciation) when deciding if full coverage is a good choice. You can get an estimate of the value of your vehicle by using a tool like Kelley Blue Book.
You’ll need to run the numbers on the actual cash value of your car and compare them with your annual premium and potential payout to determine if you can afford to skip full coverage.
While opting for a liability-only policy can save you some money in the short term, you could lose thousands of dollars if you damage or total your vehicle.
Drivers who live in high-risk areas
If you live in a state or community with a lot of crime or inclement weather, purchasing full coverage could save you money. If your car is at higher risk of damage because of your location, full coverage can help cover any expenses you incur. Something to consider is the likelihood of damage from floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, civil unrest, theft, and vandalism.
Drivers who can’t afford to repair or replace their primary vehicle
If an accident were to happen and your car were seriously damaged or totaled, would you be able to pay to repair or replace it out of your own pocket? If losing your vehicle would burden your family financially, a full-coverage policy may be beneficial. Full-coverage policies don’t cover mechanical issues or wear and tear, but they can provide additional financial protection against accidents.
Drivers who fall into higher-risk categories
Drivers with the highest risk of accidents are males, drivers between the ages of 16 and 25, and drivers who routinely travel at night, according to the CDC. Rain and snow also significantly increase the risk of an accident. Drivers who regularly travel long distances or have less experience on the road are more likely to get into an accident. Since even small collisions can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, full coverage is a simple way to reduce the potential financial risk if you fall into any of these categories.
The cheapest car insurance companies for full-coverage insurance
Several factors affect the cost of full-coverage car insurance. Companies typically take into account demographic information like your age, gender, and marital status, as well as your driving record, credit score, location, and type of vehicle. If you’re looking for affordable car insurance coverage, the table below outlines some of the cheapest options available. These numbers come from Insurify’s database of more than 70 million quotes.
|Insurance Company||Average Monthly Quote|
|Midvale Home & Auto||$250|
Read More: Compare Car Insurance by Age and Gender
Cars with the cheapest full-coverage car insurance quotes
The type of vehicle you drive can also affect the cost of your insurance. Insurance companies look at a car’s make and model, the cost of repairs, the potential for theft, its overall safety record, and additional safety features (like backup cameras and lane sensors) when determining your insurance rate.
The vehicle types that qualify for the cheapest full-coverage car insurance are listed in the table below. The cars included on this list were determined from Insurify’s database of more than 70 million quotes.
Check Out: Cheap Car Insurance
Full-coverage car insurance FAQs
Check out the answers to some commonly asked questions about full-coverage car insurance policies.
Is full-coverage car insurance required by law?
No. Full coverage is not required by law. However, if you have a car loan, your lender may require you to have full-coverage insurance for the vehicle.
Is it worth getting full coverage for a car?
Full coverage is typically worth the extra cost. Full-coverage insurance provides protection against incidents outside of your control. Natural disasters, teenage drivers, and nervous deer can all cause expensive damage to your vehicle. You can compare the actual value of your vehicle with the annual cost of full-coverage insurance to see if the math works out. You should also consider whether you’d be able to replace the vehicle out of pocket if it were totaled.
How much does full-coverage car insurance cost?
The cost of full-coverage insurance varies. You can expect to pay at least $160 per month on the low end. Several factors can affect the cost of your insurance, including your driving history, credit score, and demographics. Many insurance companies offer discounts for bundling your car insurance policy with your home or renters insurance, which could lower your bill. You can also check with your insurance company to see if it has any money-saving programs that reward safe driving.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes Instantly
Data scientists at Insurify analyzed more than 40 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partner providers across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Service's database of auto insurance rates. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how companies price their car insurance premiums.
- Insurance Information Institute. "Automobile Financial Responsibility Laws By State." Accessed December 20, 2022
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Traffic Safety Facts." Accessed December 20, 2022
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Teen Drivers and Passengers: Get the Facts." Accessed December 20, 2022