Understanding full coverage: What it really means for insurance

When you purchase full coverage on your vehicle, that coverage isn't necessarily all-inclusive. Full coverage simply means that you have a combination of coverages that help you protect your vehicle. There is no such thing as "full coverage," to the point that it would completely protect you in every instance.

Full coverage may be required by law if the vehicle is leased or if you're making payments to buy it. Most states require liability insurance once the vehicle is paid off, though you can opt for more coverage. It is your responsibility to make sure your vehicle meets the state requirements.

What kinds of coverage should you have on your vehicle?

With so-called "full" coverage, you likely have both comprehensive and collision coverage. These kinds of coverage help you replace or repair your vehicle after a crash. Collision coverage protects you in a crash, while comprehensive coverage helps in cases of weather-related damage, vandalism or animal damage.

Property damage liability pays for damage you cause to other vehicles. You may also want to combine this with uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which protects you if the other driver causes a crash and has little or no insurance coverage.

Why is there a term for full coverage if it isn't really a thing?

It is because it is possible to have a variety of coverages added together to protect you in almost any situation. You can choose to have several kinds of insurance coverage such as:

  • Medical payments coverage
  • Personal injury protection
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Bodily injury coverage
  • Property damage coverage

What do you need to know about obtaining insurance coverage?

Getting the right coverage isn't always easy. It's a good idea to make sure you fully understand what each kind of coverage does to protect you. For example, you can talk to the agent about the maximum payments for bodily injury per person or the maximum payments that would be made for property damage. You want to know the overall limits of the policy and understand if there are deductibles or other factors that could influence your ability to obtain a payment.

These are a few things to consider when you're looking into obtaining "full coverage" through your insurance provider. It's a good idea to maintain this coverage, even when it's not necessary for your own vehicle, just so you're protected against other drivers.

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