Car insurance is mandatory in one form or another in all states. Each one has its own requirement on the minimum amount you need to legally drive. The problem is, insuring your car for the state-required minimum may keep you legally above-board, but doesn’t protect you or your property if you’re at fault in an accident. That’s because most states only require bodily injury liability and property damage liability. If your car is damaged or totaled, liability insurance doesn’t help you with your loss.

That’s when full coverage car insurance comes in. What is full coverage car insurance? As the term implies, car insurance full coverage includes complete protection in an accident, for yourself and others. Read on to learn everything about full coverage car insurance, what it includes, who it’s best for and if you need full coverage car insurance.

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Written by:
Cynthia Bowman
Contributing Researcher
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in International Business and Journalism. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, GOBankingRates and more.

What does full coverage car insurance consist of?

Full coverage goes above and beyond what a state’s minimum car insurance requirements are. It includes comprehensive and collision insurance and may add other different types of coverage. What does full coverage car insurance cover?

Liability

States require liability insurance, which pays for the expenses others suffer when you’re at fault. Bodily injury liability covers other people’s medical costs for injuries and/or death. Property damage liability pays for damages you cause to someone else’s property. You can set your limits to be the minimum your state requires or higher. Find your state’s minimum insurance requirements here.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist

Some states require you to have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. Even if they don’t, it’s good to have. If you’re in an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, your uninsured or underinsured coverage will step in to pay for your expenses.

Personal injury protection (PIP)

PIP or no-fault insurance pays for medical expenses (and often lost wages), regardless of who’s at fault. As with liability and uninsured/underinsured coverage, some states may require PIP. Full coverage auto insurance may include PIP to protect you if you’re injured whether you’re at fault.

Collision

Collision insurance is one of two coverages that protect against physical damage when you’re at fault. Collision insurance pays for damages or losses to your car that were caused by a collision or crash. Some events included are crashing into a fence or hitting an animal.

Comprehensive

Comprehensive insurance covers other damage to your vehicle not caused by a collision. Comprehensive coverage will pay for repairs or reimburse you for a total loss of your vehicle in case of theft, fire, vandalism, hail, flooding or glass breakage.

As you can see, car insurance full coverage is pretty complete. Liability insurance helps you meet your state’s requirements and covers other’s losses. The property damage coverages of collision and comprehensive pay for damages and losses to your vehicle. And adding personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured insurance fill the gap to make sure any bodily injury and property losses you may suffer are covered, regardless of who was at fault.

Does my full coverage auto insurance cover a rental car?

If you have the minimum car insurance for your state, car insurance will only cover the damages and injuries of third parties. This could be an issue if there was damage to the rental car. Fortunately, full coverage auto insurance will cover a rental car, so you can skip the expensive supplemental rental car insurance.

Full coverage rental car insurance

As mentioned, full coverage car insurance will protect you in case of an accident in a rental car. But there’s an important caveat — you’ll need to meet your deductible first. If you have a high car insurance car deductible of $1,000, for example, a rental car crash is going to cost you $1,000.

Does full coverage insurance cover your transmission?

Full coverage car insurance only covers your vehicle’s mechanical issues if they were caused during an accident. If your transmission gives out from wear and tear or lack of maintenance, your insurance won’t pay for the repair.

Least expensive full coverage car insurance for high risk drivers

Full coverage auto insurance is more expensive, due to all the extras. Add a previous accident or a couple of speeding tickets and the cost of full coverage may be unaffordable.

In most cases, you can lower the cost of your car insurance by dropping some of the coverages. But if you financed your car, you’re required to have full coverage car insurance including comprehensive and collision coverage whether you can afford it or not. You’ll need to find cheap full coverage car insurance for high risk drivers. Consider the following ways to save on a high-risk-driver car insurance policy:

Shop around

Compare quotes from several car insurers to find cheap full coverage car insurance for high risk drivers. Use our tool to get cheap car insurance quotes near you.

Additionally, here’s how major carriers rank for cheap full-coverage car insurance for high-risk drivers that have accidents or moving violations on their records. You’ll see rates vary significantly among companies. That’s why it’s wise to comparison shop – you can still save money even if you have recent violation or accidents.

Average Rates by Companies for Two Property Damage Accidents
Company Average rate for two property damage accidents
Farmers$1,454
Geico$1,797
State Farm$2,052
Allied$2,167
Progressive$2,179
Mid-Century$2,374
Nationwide$2,437
State Farm$2,646
Nationwide$2,820
Average Rates by Companies for Two Speeding Tickets
Company Average rate for two speeding tickets
Farmers$1,350
Geico$1,351
State Farm$1,369
Progressive$1,459
Nationwide$1,795
Mid-Century$1,868
Allied$1,919
United Financial$2,214
Average Rates by Companies for Reckless Driving Violation
Company Average rate with reckless driving violation
Farmers$1,319
State Farm$1,443
Progressive$1,551
Geico$1,975
Allstate$1,977
United Financial$2,047
Mid-Century$2,050
Nationwide$2,146
Allied$2,287

Note that your own rate will depend on your unique driver profile, so we’ll continue with more ways you can trim costs.

Raise your deductible

Raising your car insurance deductible from $250 to $1,000 can save you as much as 28% on your insurance premiums. To see how much you can save, check out our comparison by state. Make sure you can pay the higher deductible if you’re in an accident.

Take a defensive driving course

Most insurance companies will discount your car insurance for up to three years if you pass a driving safety course. There are approved courses you can complete in a few hours online. The small time and money investment can pay off in car insurance savings over a few years. Many insurers will extend a discount of up to 15% off for earning safe driver certification.

Downgrade your car

Some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others. Sports cars, high-value vehicles, new models and SUVs are some of the most costly. If you’re considered a high-risk driver because of past driving history, consider downgrading to a less expensive car to insure.

Is it smart to cancel full coverage auto insurance when the car is paid in full?

Once your car is paid in full and no longer financed, you don’t have to keep full coverage. Whether canceling full coverage auto insurance is a good idea is another question.

Some ask themselves, “Do I need full insurance on a used car?” It depends on its value. If your car is relatively new or has a high value, not having full coverage auto insurance means you’ll be responsible for repairs out of pocket. At worse, if your vehicle is totaled, you’ll be out the full value of your car. Think twice before you cancel full coverage on your vehicle.

Can you be denied full coverage?

Unfortunately, there are times you could be denied full coverage. A couple of reasons you may not be able to add collision and comprehensive insurance include the following:

  • Your vehicle is too old
  • Your vehicle has existing damage

If you’re denied coverage over your vehicle’s age, look for another insurer. If your insurance company denies you full coverage because of damage, you could negotiate to have the car repaired to qualify for a full coverage insurance policy.

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

Editorial Director

John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. 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

Managing Editor

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 ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

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 Researcher

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in International Business and Journalism. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, GOBankingRates and more.