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“Full Coverage” Car Insurance

What is “full coverage” car insurance, and do you need it?

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What is “full coverage” car insurance?

“Full coverage” car insurance is a general term that many agents, lenders, and car dealerships use to describe a policy that includes certain coverages. It's not an actual type of coverage but instead a way to talk about a collection of coverages that protect policyholders against various circumstances.

When someone says “full coverage” car insurance, they're generally referring to the following coverages:

“Full coverage” may also include other coverages such as:

Do I need “full coverage” car insurance?

It depends. You may want to consider “full coverage” if:

  • You're financing a car. Lenders typically require “full coverage” in addition to other coverages required by the state.
  • You want financial protection. Without “full coverage,” you may be required to pay out-of-pocket to replace your vehicle after a total loss or theft.
  • You want peace of mind. Having “full coverage” protects you against a wide range of scenarios that could put you at financial risk.

If you don't have a loan or other financial commitments on your vehicle, most states only require Liability coverage.

What's the difference between “full coverage” auto insurance and Liability coverage?

Liability insurance is required in nearly every state.

Having a Liability-only insurance policy means if you cause an accident, you'll be protected financially against damages you cause to other vehicles and injuries you cause to other people.

Liability coverage does not cover your own personal expenses. For instance, it won't pay to repair your vehicle after an accident or other incident. For that, you'll need to buy the additional coverages that are considered part of a “full coverage” insurance policy, like Comprehensive and Collision.

Unlike Comprehensive and Collision coverages, Liability coverage doesn't typically require you to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in.

What's the difference between “full coverage” auto insurance and Comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is just one type of coverage included in a “full coverage” auto insurance plan.

Remember, “full coverage” isn't an actual type of coverage, but a general term used to describe a policy that combines Liability, Comprehensive, and Collision coverages.

When you purchase “full coverage” car insurance, Comprehensive (aka, coverage for non-collision incidents that damage your vehicle) is typically included in your policy.

Do I need “full coverage” car insurance for an older car?

Simply put, you don't want to pay more for insurance than what your vehicle is actually worth.

When deciding if you need “full coverage,” consider the following:

  • Your premium. If your auto insurance premium equals 10% or more of your car's value, you might want to think about a Liability-only policy. For example, if the market value of your car is $5,000 and you're paying $500 or more per year for “full coverage” insurance, it may not be worth the cost.
  • Your deductible. Is your car worth less than your deductible? For example, if you have a $1,000 Comprehensive or Collision deductible but your car is only worth $500, it may not make financial sense for you to have those coverages.
  • You savings. Even if your car is paid off, it may make sense to have “full coverage” if you don't have the financial resources to replace your vehicle after an accident - regardless of vehicle age or mileage.

Can I purchase only parts of a “full coverage” policy?

Because “full coverage” auto insurance is a collection of coverages and not a single coverage, you can usually pick and choose which specific coverages are right for you (based on your individual situation and any state or lender requirements).

For example, let's say you've paid off your car and your lender no longer requires “full coverage” insurance. If you're confident you can afford to repair or replace your vehicle out-of-pocket in the event of a loss, you could consider removing Comprehensive and Collision coverage from your policy.

How much is a “full coverage” policy compared to a Liability-only policy?

The cost of “full coverage” insurance varies based on your car insurance company. Many factors determine the cost, including where you live, your driving history, the year, make, and model of your car, the coverage limits you select, and your deductible amount (the higher your Comprehensive and Collision deductibles, the lower your premium will be).

On average, you can expect to pay 64% more for a “full coverage” policy than a Liability-only one. A “full coverage” insurance policy may cost more, but at Liberty Mutual, you can customize your policy so you only pay for what you need.

Get a quote for customized insurance fast

You could save up to 12% when you buy customized car insurance online

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1https://wallethub.com/edu/ci/liability-vs-full-coverage/90219