You might have heard of broad-form insurance as a way to save money on your car insurance. While it is true that broad-form insurance is one of the cheapest car insurance options, it is not the answer for all drivers and situations.

Before you call your insurance agent to change your policy, let’s talk about what broad form insurance is, who it is a good option for and how much it costs.

What is broad-form insurance?

Broad form insurance is minimal auto liability insurance for one named driver. One named driver means one driver is listed on the policy and no other drivers are covered. You may wonder why it’s called broad form if it only covers minimal liability. That doesn’t seem broad at all, right?

Most insurance policies are either basic form or broad form.

A basic form policy typically covers fire, explosions, storms, smoke, riots, vandalism, and sprinkler leaks.

A broad form policy typically adds more coverage for damage from broken windows and other structural glass, falling objects and water damage. This type of policy is intended to be supplemental, not stand-alone because there are so many things it does not cover.

What is not covered under a broad-form insurance policy?

Broad-form insurance offers limited liability coverage for the individual listed on the policy. There are only 11 states where broad-form insurance is available because it does not meet other states’ minimum auto insurance requirements.

There are many things a standard auto insurance policy covers that a broad-form policy does not cover:

  • Comprehensive coverage: non-collision damages to your car from theft, vandalism, fire, acts of nature and weather.
  • Collision coverage: damages caused to your car by another vehicle, a fallen tree or other objects.
  • Personal injuries coverage: medical costs associated with your injuries.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: costs for damages in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • Others driving your vehicle: damages incurred while someone else is driving your vehicle.

When is broad-form insurance a good option?

Broad-form insurance is rarely a good option to avoid gaps in coverage that can lead to severe financial loss. Here are some situations where broad form insurance may be an option, although it is essential to know there is significant risk involved:

  • You have sufficient financial resources to pay out-of-pocket for losses and are only seeking minimum liability coverage.
  • Your vehicle has very low value and you can afford to replace it.
  • You do not own a vehicle and only occasionally drive other’s cars.
  • You never have passengers in your vehicle.

The best use of broad-form insurance is in the following situation:

  • You are adequately covered under a standard insurance policy but seek additional coverage.

How much does broad-form insurance cost?

Before comparing car insurance quotes, understand that comparing the cost of a broad-form policy to the price of a standard car insurance policy is like comparing apples and oranges. For example, in Colorado, the average cost of a full coverage policy is $1,804, but the average cost of coverage for a state minimum-only policy is $437. There is a $1,367 difference in insurance cost and a dramatic difference in coverage.

You will find a quote for broad-form insurance to be lower in cost because it includes much less coverage.

Final thoughts: Broad-form insurance

You are not alone if you’re wondering why car insurance is so expensive. Car insurance, like any insurance, can be costly. Before you consider reducing your coverage to a broad-form insurance policy, we recommend looking for other ways to save.

Shop around for a standard policy before switching to broad-form coverage. If you maintain a clean driving record, you may find that a standard policy doesn’t cost much more but will give you a lot more protection.”

Speak with your insurance agent to discuss ways to lower costs on a standard policy. Perhaps there are discounts you qualify for or bundling options you could select that would save some money.

Shop around and get competitive quotes. And finally, keep a clean driving record. A clean driving record lets insurance companies know you are a low-risk driver and will result in lower car insurance premiums.

— Ashlee Tilford contributed to this story.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for, and Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like and and managing content, now at

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.