What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance, Really?

Full coverage car insurance covers you for your own car, as well as another driver’s. Generally, it is more expensive than minimum coverage, but with a little research and know-how, you can get cheap car insurance without sacrificing coverage.

What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?

Full coverage car insurance is not a type of policy, but a combination of coverage options that ensure you’re covered for any kind of situation.

It may include all or most of the following:

Liability Coverage

Includes both bodily injury liability and property damage liability, the two most basic forms of coverage, and ones that are required in most states. If you cause damage to individuals or property, these options will cover you to the liability limits. The limits can be increased as needed and an increase is often recommended for higher risk and higher-earning policyholders.

Underinsured And Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage also available in two forms, covering both property damage and bodily injury. It provides cover when the other driver has little or no insurance.

The bodily injury form is required in over 20 states, including Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

Collision Coverage

With collision insurance, you’re covered for damage to your own car following an accident. If you hit a guardrail, tree, fence, or pretty much anything else, collision coverage should cover some of the cost.

Comprehensive Coverage

With comprehensive insurance, you’re covered for events that are outside of your control, including weather damage, vandalism, and theft. Surprisingly, it also covers you for an animal collision.

Animal collisions are more common in Montana, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania, and they are least common in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. If you swerve and hit a guardrail, you’ll be covered by collision coverage. If you hit the animal, comprehensive coverage takes over.

Many experts recommend that you stay calm, brake, and don’t swerve upon seeing an animal in the road, but that’s easier said than done when you have Bambi in your headlights.

Other Coverage Options

You can increase your cover by adding the following options. None of these are required and if you have adequate cover elsewhere, they may not be needed. Regardless, they are worth considering and are available from most insurance companies:

  • ​Personal Injury Protection (PIP):Covers hospital bills and other medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. PIP also covers funeral expenses, loss of earnings, and more. It essentially steps in to assume a role usually provided by your health insurance.
  • Medical Payments: A less comprehensive version of PIP that covers injuries resulting from an accident.
  • Roadside Assistance: Provides assistance at the roadside following a breakdown.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: Covers you for the cost of renting a car when your car is in the shop getting repaired.
  • Sound System Insurance:Offered by insurers like Allstate and pays out if your sound system is stolen.

How To Get Cheap Car Insurance Quotes

The average cost of full coverage insurance is around $1,500, but it differs greatly from state to state and even from driver to driver. Multiple factors determine how much you will pay for your car insurance policy, including your age, driving record, insurance provider, and state.

For instance, in Maine, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and New Hampshire the average is closer to $1,000, but in Michigan and Florida it’s over $2,000. In Louisiana, it’s just shy of $3,000.

To bring those insurance costs down, try the following:

Look For Discounts

Car insurance discounts can save you huge sums on a full coverage policy. Discounts are available to drivers of all ages, and can include the following:

  • Loyalty Discounts:Offered when you purchase multiple insurance policies from the same company, including life insurance and car insurance. Many auto insurance companies also offer a discount for multi-car policies and for early renewal and autopay.
  • Age-Based:Seniors can get discounts just for being older, and students are offered discounts if they secure and maintain good grades.
  • Memberships: Members of the military can get sizeable discounts through insurers like USAA. Other membership clubs also provide discounts to drivers.
  • Low Mileage: Mileage-based insurance policies are generally much cheaper for drivers who don’t spend a lot of time on the road.
  • Telematics: By fitting a device in your car, insurers can monitor your driving habits and give you discounts accordingly. Most car insurance companies promise that your premiums won’t increase following the installation of these devices.
  • Driving Courses: Defensive driving courses could shave a few bucks off your insurance premiums.
  • Your Car:If you drive a new car fitted with anti-theft devices and safety features, you could get cheaper car insurance.

Increase Your Deductible

The higher the deductible, the lower the premiums. You could save a lot on collision and comprehensive insurance.

Rethink Coverage Options

As noted above, there are many different coverage types, and some are more important than others. Depending on your state minimum requirements and the age of your car, you could think about dropping some of these options or reducing the coverage limits.

​For instance, if you drive an old car that isn’t worth much and will likely be scrapped in the event of an accident, you probably don’t need comprehensive or collision coverage.

Improve Your Credit Score

Higher credit scores produce cheaper auto insurance quotes. It’s all about risk, and the statistics show that drivers with poor credit scores make more claims and cost more money than those with excellent scores.

Stay Safe

You won’t make any immediate savings by staying safe and driving within the speed limit, but it will make life much easier for you when it’s time to renew. The cleaner your driving history, the cheaper it will be to acquire full coverage auto insurance.

Shop Around

Auto insurance rates differ considerably from provider to provider. For the average driver in the United States, the cost can range from a low of $1,000 with insurers like USAA and Geico, to as much as $1,900 from the likes of Farmers, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive.

Note that this is before you factor discounts, driving records, and other factors into the equation.