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When you approach an insurance company for car insurance, it presents you with the list of insurance policies you can opt for, such as liability coverage, collision coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, and so on.
However, our Los Angeles insurance rights attorneys already know there is no such thing as a full-coverage auto insurance policy. Full coverage car insurance isn’t a specific policy but rather a combination of car insurance coverage types.
Full coverage car insurance is not automatic car insurance coverage. You have to decide to buy the other coverage insurance under the car insurance policy you are opting for. This might include comprehensive and collision coverage, liability coverage auto insurance. Many lenders, agents, and car dealerships describe “full coverage” insurance as liability plus comprehensive and collision.
As mentioned, full coverage car insurance doesn’t exist as a policy. Instead, it is made of different types of coverage, and we will briefly explain what each stands for and how important it is.
It is best to remember that the combination of all of these coverage auto policies that your insurance provider offers is termed “full coverage car insurance.” You may want or need full coverage insurance if you have a new car, live in a place with extreme weather conditions, or have an auto loan or lease.
Policies with full coverage can cost twice as much as state-mandated insurance but offer greater protection. However, the most important coverage policy is liability insurance because of all these coverage policies we discuss here. Therefore, at least according to basic consensus, full car insurance is created by a combination of minimum liability coverage with collision and comprehensive coverage, and maybe some other ones offered by your insurance company, like underinsured motorist coverage.
Below, you can learn more about these offerings:
Liability insurance is the only one that is generally compulsory to have in any coverage car insurance. All insurance companies include auto liability coverage in all typical auto insurance policies.
This coverage pays for damages resulting from an accident that you get found responsible for.
Each state sets minimum liability coverage limits that drivers must purchase. Typically, the liability coverage in an auto insurance policy will contain three limitations:
It is a requirement by law in every state except New Hampshire. It can be further subdivided into two categories:
Comprehensive insurance covers repair costs from events outside your control, including weather, hitting an animal while driving, theft, and vandalism. It also includes costs for damages that are not strictly a result of driving.
It is optional (unless you lease or finance your vehicle). A car loan or lease may require it. But, combined with the collision and liability coverage, it makes up a basic “full coverage insurance.”
This takes care of repair costs to your car if you crash with another vehicle or run into an object, such as a tree or a telephone pole. It helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged in a collision with another vehicle or object (such as a fence).
Remember, collision coverage helps protect your vehicle, while property damage liability helps pay for damage you cause to another driver’s vehicle. A car loan or lease may require it, but it is generally optional. But, in combination with the liability coverage and comprehensive coverage, it makes up a basic “full motor insurance.”
This type of insurance is required in some states. It helps pay for you and your passengers’ medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Covered expenses may include things like surgery or X-rays.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) isn’t available in all states, but it’s required in some states. PIP works similarly to medical payments coverage — it helps cover your medical expenses resulting from a covered loss. In some cases, it may also help you pay for other expenses while you’re healing. These expenses may include childcare services and lost income due to your injuries.
This coverage covers the repair costs after an accident with an uninsured driver. It is required in many states, and it’s divided into two subcategories:
This coverage helps pay for a rental car while yours is being repaired after a covered loss. Be sure to check the coverage limits. Typically, rental reimbursement pays up to a certain dollar amount per day for a set number of days. It is optional.
Buying full coverage insurance may be a sound investment if:
However, full coverage may not be worth the cost of an older vehicle. Comprehensive and collision insurance reimburse you only up to the cash value of your car at the time it’s damaged or stolen.
Even with full coverage, there are other policy options you might need. For example, uninsured motorist coverage, gap insurance, and medical payments insurance all pay for expenses; full coverage car insurance won’t.
If you need help with insurance or have a problem with your insurance company, the lawyers at Ehline Law Firm can help. Call today at (213) 596-9642 for more information.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.