Posted on Insurance Law Blog / Blog / What Is ‘Full Coverage’ Auto Insurance?

Page Updated 12/06/2021

What Is ‘Full Coverage’ Auto Insurance?


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.

Understanding Full Coverage Insurance from Liability to Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

  • Components of a Full Coverage Car Insurance
  • Should You Buy Full Insurance?

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. In fact, many lenders, agents, and car dealerships describe “full coverage” insurance as liability plus comprehensive and collision.

Components of a Full Coverage Car Insurance

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 Coverage

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:

1. The maximum payment for bodily injury per person.

2. The maximum payable for bodily injury per accident.

3. The maximum payable for property damage.

It is a requirement by law in every state except New Hampshire. It can be further subdivided into two categories:

Bodily injury liability: This helps you pay for the third party’s medical expenses if you are the cause of the car accident.

Property damage liability: This helps you to pay for damage you cause to another person’s property in a car accident.

Comprehensive Coverage

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, in combination with the collision coverage and liability coverage, it makes up a basic “full coverage insurance.”

Collision Coverage

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.”

Medical Payments Coverage / Personal Injury Protection

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 child care services and lost income as a result of your injuries.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist

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:

Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability: Covers costs from medical bills after an accident with an uninsured driver. It is compulsory on all policies in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: This is the cost of the repair of the vehicle after an accident with an uninsured motorist or driver. It is required on all policies in seven states and Washington, D.C.

Rental Reimbursement Coverage

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.

Should You Buy a Full Insurance?

Buying full coverage insurance may be a sound investment if:

  • You live in a place with extreme weather, high car theft rates, or a high risk of animal collisions.
  • You can’t afford to repair or replace your car if there is wreckage to your vehicle or some steals it.
  • You have a new or expensive car.
  • You have an auto loan or lease.
  • You regularly commute in heavy traffic while going to work or other places.

However, full coverage may not be worth the cost for 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.

Ehline Law Can Help with Insurance Issues

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.

Ehline Law Firm - Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC
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