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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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16 Responses to "What is full coverage car insurance?"
  1. sandra

    Does full coverage cover someone if driving car for emergency?

  2. Visitor

    Wow! Full coverage is not always full coverage, good to know!

  3. Visitor

    My roommate just got his second vehicle and because he has "full coverage" on his truck he states that I can drive the vehicle alone, despite the fact that I'm not on his insurance policy. My argument with him is that this is illegal or at least it be so in the state of Arkansas. Is this true... who's right?

    1. sandra June 05, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      Will full coverage cover other family members with a license?

        Reply »  
      1. Taylor December 28, 2016 at 10:03 PM

        You should only go with the definition of full coverage that the company you have your policy with gives you.

          Reply »  
  4. Visitor

    Was easy to understand.

  5. Anonymous

    I got what I was looking for, but not how I needed it.

  6. Anonymous

    i have a 2005 car full coverag if a other car hits me with out insurance is my car still coverd

  7. Anonymous

    my car got broken into and it is financed so i have full coverage, but since I have never gotten into an accident or had to use my insurance for anything I didnt really know what "full coverage" included. This answered my questions by 100%.

  8. Anonymous

    legal stealing like MADOFF!

  9. Anonymous

    No medical information? All ethics went out the window years ago.

  10. Anonymous

    I totaled my car on July 3, 2008. It was my fault so they say. My question is why did my passenger get paid, but not me. I dont understand. I thought thats why you have full coverage. I have a scar on my left forearm and I also have whip lash. Why is it that I dont get paid for my pain and suffering?

  11. Anonymous

    Got what I was looking for!

  12. Anonymous

    It excplained the types of coverage, it did not answer what "full coverage" means, and whether "full coverage", subject to the deducible and policy limits, covers the true loss suffered to your vehicle as a result of an accident. Most insurance companies, as I understand it, only covers partial loss you sustained, even if they advertise their coverage as "full coverage".

  13. Anonymous

    Do most people believe that? Subject to perhaps a deductible and up to the policy limits, "full coverage" means you are subject to full coverage for the loss to your vehicle if it is caused by an accident? After all, the term "full coverage" should not mean "partial coverage" for our loss. I would like the answer and if there are any stactics on the meaning.

  14. Anonymous

    You should suggest what insurance companies have better customer satisfaction in the specific category of insurance policy. For example which insurance company offers more protection, or more extras in comprehensive coverage. Thank you. LG

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.