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Full-Coverage Car Insurance

Full-coverage car insurance is more expensive than any state’s minimum coverage requirements, but it offers more financial protection if you get into an accident.

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09/19/2023 11:11 PM

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Though full-coverage car insurance is typically presented as one policy, it’s generally a combination of liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages. Unlike state minimum liability insurance, full coverage protects your car in almost any situation–even when you’re not behind the wheel.

In this guide, we’ll explain what full-coverage auto insurance is, how it compares to minimum coverage, and what it costs on average. We’ll also recommend two of the best car insurance companies for full coverage.

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What Is Full-Coverage Car Insurance?

A full-coverage car insurance policy usually combines liability insurance, collision insurance, and comprehensive insurance. Depending on the state, a full-coverage policy may also include uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), or medical payments coverage (MedPay).

Full coverage will typically handle the costs of your injuries and vehicle damage if you’re involved in an accident, as well as any injuries or damages you cause.

What Does Full-Coverage Car Insurance Include?

Here’s a table that outlines the types of coverage you’ll usually see in a full-coverage policy:

Type of CoverageCoverage DetailsRequired by State Law
Bodily injury liability insuranceCovers medical bills for the other driver and their passengers if you’re at fault for a car accidentEvery state except New Hampshire and Virginia
Property damage liability insuranceCovers repair costs for the other party’s vehicle or other property if you’re at fault for a car accidentEvery state except New Hampshire and Virginia
Collision insuranceCovers repair costs for your vehicle if you’re involved in a collision with another car or a stationary object, like a fenceNot required by law but may be required by a lender or the terms of a lease
Comprehensive insuranceCovers repair costs for your vehicle when it’s damaged by non-accident issues such as theft, vandalism, or a natural disasterNot required by law but may be required by a lender or the terms of a lease
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverageCovers medical bills for you and your passengers after a collision with an uninsured driverRequired in 22 states and Washington, D.C.
Uninsured motorist property damage coverageCovers repair costs for your vehicle or other property if you’re hit by an uninsured driverRequired in eight states and Washington, D.C.

Optional coverages that may be included in an insurer’s full-coverage auto insurance policy include:

Type of CoverageCoverage DetailsRequired by Law
Personal injury protection (PIP)Covers your medical expenses, lost wages, funeral costs, and pain and suffering if you’re in an accident–regardless of who is at faultRequired in 15 states
Medical payments (MedPay)Covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if you’re involved in an accident regardless of who is at faultRequired in Maine*

*MedPay is required in Pennsylvania for drivers who opt out of PIP. New Hampshire requires MedPay for any driver who chooses to carry auto insurance.

Additional Types Of Auto Insurance

Most auto insurance companies offer additional coverages you can choose to add to your policy. Some of these coverages include:

  • Gap insurance: If your car is totaled, gap coverage will pay the difference between your car’s value and the amount you owe on your auto loan. This is also known as loan/lease insurance.
  • New car replacement: If your new car is totaled, this coverage will replace it rather than just reimbursing you for the depreciated value.
  • Rental car reimbursement: This helps pay rental car costs if your car is in the shop due to a covered claim.
  • Roadside assistance: This service is typically available 24/7 and can provide tire changes, fuel deliveries, jump-starts, and more.
  • Towing coverage: This service will take your car to a repair facility if it breaks down.

What Is Minimum Coverage?

Minimum coverage refers to the minimum insurance limits a state requires for someone to legally drive. To learn what’s required where you live, you can consult the website for your state’s insurance commission or department of motor vehicles. The only states that don’t require car insurance coverage are New Hampshire and Virginia.

If you opt to only carry your state’s minimum coverage, you’ll have to pay for repairs or replacements for your vehicle out of pocket. Minimum liability insurance will only cover the cost of the other driver’s property damage if you cause an accident. If you live in an at-fault state, minimum liability coverage will also handle the other driver’s medical expenses when you cause an accident.

Carrying only minimum coverage may seem like a good way to save money, but it could leave you in a rough financial spot if your car gets damaged or totaled. If you have full-coverage car insurance, your provider will pay for repair costs or your car’s replacement cost or actual cash value.

How Much Does Full-Coverage Auto Insurance Cost?

Based on our research, the average cost of full-coverage car insurance is $1,730 per year. We used a profile of a married 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record and good credit to find averages from some of the top insurance providers in the industry. On average, USAA, Erie Insurance, and Nationwide have the cheapest full-coverage auto insurance rates.

Car Insurance CompanyAverage Annual EstimateAverage Monthly Estimate
Erie Insurance$1,238$103
Auto-Owners Insurance$1,337$111
State Farm$1,481$123
American Family Insurance$1,537$128

Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates

As you shop for car insurance, keep in mind that rates aren’t the same for every driver or type of vehicle. To calculate your personalized quote, an insurer will consider the following factors:

  • Location: If you live in a more populated area with higher rates of theft and car collisions, you’ll pay higher rates.
  • Age: If you’re under 25 or over 55, your rates will be higher than average. Drivers in their 30s and 40s tend to pay the best rates.
  • Driving record: Having speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUIs in the last few years will make your coverage more expensive.
  • Credit history: The lower your credit score, the higher your insurance rate.
  • Marital status: Married drivers generally pay less for insurance than single drivers.
  • Gender on license: Male drivers usually pay more for car insurance when they’re younger than 25 because they’re statistically more likely to get into accidents.
  • Vehicle: Models that are more likely to be stolen or cost more to repair are more expensive to insure.

Should I Carry Full-Coverage Car Insurance?

Full-coverage car insurance can protect you from unexpected expenses if you’re involved in an accident. Carrying only your state minimum insurance will keep you from having to pay for the other driver’s damages in an accident you cause, but you’ll have to pay for your car’s repairs yourself.

If your car is totaled, you’ll be responsible for the cost of replacing it. We recommend that you carry full-coverage insurance if you can afford it and if your car is worth more than the cost of the policy and your deductible combined. This will give you extra protection and peace of mind.

Recommendations For Full-Coverage Auto Insurance

Our research team sorted through the top insurance providers to help you find the right coverage for your needs. Before you commit to an insurer, compare car insurance quotes from a few providers to find the best deal on coverage.

State Farm: Best Overall Provider

State Farm is the largest provider of car insurance in the country, thanks to its reliability and low-cost coverage options. The provider offers the six standard types of car insurance coverage, as well as a number of optional add-on coverages available based on your location.

State Farm holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Insurance Shopping StudySM, State Farm ranked the highest in customer satisfaction for large insurers.

Keep reading: State Farm insurance review

Travelers: Best Coverage Options

Our in-depth review of the auto insurance industry found that on average, Travelers customers pay about 3 percent less than the national average for full-coverage insurance. The provider also has a wide array of optional add-on coverages, such as accident forgiveness, new car replacement coverage, and gap insurance.

Travelers holds an A rating from the BBB, and its  A++ financial strength rating from AM Best shows its ability to cover claims.

Keep reading: Travelers insurance review

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Full-Coverage Car Insurance: FAQ

What does full coverage mean for car insurance?

Full coverage generally refers to a car insurance policy that combines collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and any other coverage requirements in your state. Additional types of insurance that may be included in a full-coverage policy are uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, PIP, or MedPay.

Is full coverage really worth it?

If you can afford it, full-coverage insurance is worth it in many situations. Your state minimum liability insurance only covers damage or injuries to the other driver that you cause in an at-fault accident. Adding collision and comprehensive insurance covers the actual cash value of your car.

How long should you keep full-coverage insurance on a car?

Many experts believe you can drop collision and comprehensive insurance once your car is older or worth less than your deductible and the cost of your full-coverage policy combined. This is because a potential payout on a claim would be less than the cost of your deductible and insurance premium.

What is the difference between full coverage and comprehensive?

Full coverage combines collision and comprehensive coverage with your state’s minimum liability requirements. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car from non-accident situations such as fires, floods, or fallen tree branches.

How We Rate Insurers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between insurers because so many factors impact annual premiums. The cheapest insurer for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. To determine our cost score, we look at insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, discount opportunities, and consumer reports.
  • Coverage: To determine our coverage score, we look at the number of coverage options available as well as coverage limits and deductible options. Our ratings also take into account additional services and benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Reliability: It’s important that an auto insurer is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong financial strength rating from AM Best score best in this category. Established insurers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Service: We comb through customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn about customer experiences. Insurers with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the claims process, giving higher ratings to car insurance providers that offer easy-to-use claims apps.

*Data accurate at time of publication.