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What is full coverage car insurance?

There is really no such thing as "full coverage." No insurance company should advertise full coverage, because it’s impossible to buy a car insurance policy where you are fully covered against every exposure or peril. 

Sometimes people say they’ve added full coverage to their car, or that their lienholder requires full coverage, when really they're just talking about having physical damage coverages of collision and comprehensive on their policy.

What most drivers and insurance agents refer to as full coverage is a car insurance policy that includes state-mandated car insurance coverages (this usually is bodily injury liability and property damage liability but also may include uninsured motorist and personal injury protection), along with physical damage coverages of collision and comprehensive.

Bodily injury liability covers other people’s bodily injuries and death for which you are responsible.  Property damage liability covers you if your car damages someone else’s property.  These coverages come with maximum limits that you choose at the inception of your policy.

Liability coverages don’t protect your car in any way, so that is why you purchase physical damage coverages. 

Collision insurance covers damage to your automobile caused by a collision with another object or by upset. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle for damages caused by things other than collision, such as vandalism, theft, or glass breakage.

Most lienholders require physical damage coverage if you are financing or leasing your vehicle.  These coverages each come with a deductible, an amount due before your insurance benefits kick in.  

Whatever car insurance coverages you have are subject to the guidelines and terms of your policy, especially with regards to the payment of claims.  We personally try not to use the term full coverage because it can be misleading and make policyholders upset when they come across a situation that cannot be claimed or that they feel is only partially covered.

Learn more about the various types of coverages that you can get on your car insurance policy, including medical ones such as personal injury protection and medical payments, by reading through our types of car insurance page.

If you want to see how much it will cost to add collision and comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle, then get started with car insurance quotes and comparison shop the price of your policy with and without these coverages.


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Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided are for information purposes. They are not intended to substitute informed professional advice. These responses should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide financial or legal advice. Please refer to your insurance policy for specific coverage and exclusion information. Please read our Terms of Service.