Full Coverage Auto Insurance

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ByMark Fitzpatrick
Contributions by3 experts
ByMark Fitzpatrick
Contributions by3 experts

Updated: June 19, 2024

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Why Trust MoneyGeek? To help you understand full coverage auto insurance and how it provides you with the highest level of financial protection in the event of a car accident, MoneyGeek consulted reputable sources of information. We are able to create high-value articles through our multi-step creative process — a great mix of reliable sources, professional reviews, careful fact-checking and extensive editorial evaluation.

What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?

Full auto coverage includes comprehensive and collision insurance, in addition to any optional coverages you need and your insurer offers. In the instance of an accident, it provides financial protection against damages to your vehicle and occupants, as well as damages to the other party’s vehicle and passengers.

Overall, insurance costs vary depending on the insurance company, location and individualized factors. You can find cheap full coverage car insurance by shopping around and comparing prices. Keep in mind, full coverage is an unofficial term used to reference a combination of coverages, so it may not be available on insurance quote tools.

Full Coverage Insurance Facts


Choosing the right auto insurance is an important factor in protecting you on the road and financially. If you’re looking for the most comprehensive option, full coverage may be your best bet.

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Full coverage auto insurance is not a type of policy but a term referring to a combination of coverages that typically include liability, comprehensive and collision insurance.

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Full auto coverage is not required in most states, but having it provides more financial protection.

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Full coverage auto insurance is more expensive than liability-only coverage or a policy that only meets the minimum requirements.

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Full auto coverage is best for drivers with high-value or new cars. It may be mandatory for those paying off auto loans.

How Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Work?

Full auto coverage typically includes liability, comprehensive and collision insurance. Liability car insurance covers damages other parties incur if the policyholder is at-fault in an accident. Meanwhile, the comprehensive and collision aspects protect the policyholder and their vehicle in the event of an accident.

Full coverage auto insurance is typically more expensive than other types of insurance because it offers more coverage. Depending on your needs, finding the best car insurance for your situation may need to include other optional coverages. Your insurance, no matter what coverage type you choose, will have deductibles. It will also have maximum benefits and limits, which means it cannot cover all possible incidents.

What Does Full Coverage Insurance Typically Cover?

There are various situations that full coverage auto insurance covers. It typically includes the state minimum liability requirement, as well as comprehensive and collision coverage. But generally, there is no single definition as to what full coverage means. That is because it is an informal term used to describe a policy that has a combination of different types of coverage.

Typical Full Coverage Inclusions

Insurance Option
What It Covers
Is It Required?

Bodily Injury Liability

Medical expenses another party incurs due to
bodily injuries caused by an accident where
you are at-fault.

Required in all states
(except Florida).

Property Damage Liability

Damages to another person’s vehicle if you
are the one who caused the accident.

Required in all states.


Comprehensive insurance helps pay for the
repair or replacement of your vehicle if it gets
damaged due to a non-accident incident.
These include animal damage, weather-
related incidents, vandalism and theft.

Not required.


Collision insurance pays for the repair
or replacement of your vehicle if it gets
damaged in an at-fault accident. It covers
collision with an object or another vehicle.

Not required.

Additional Insurance Option

Insurance Option
What It Covers
Is It Required?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection (PIP),
also known as no-fault insurance,
covers the policyholder and passenger’s
medical expenses in the event of
a car accident, despite fault.

Required in Arkansas,
Delaware, Florida,
Hawaii, Kansas,
Kentucky, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, New Jersey,
New York, North Dakota,
Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Texas and Utah.

Underinsured Motorist

Damages that the policyholder and
their passengers incur due to an
accident where an uninsured motorist
or someone whose insurance does
not have enough coverage is at-fault.

Required in Kentucky,
Maine, Maryland,
Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, New Jersey,
New York, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Oregon,
South Carolina, South
Dakota, West Virginia
and Wisconsin.

Guaranteed Asset
Protection Insurance (GAP)

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP)
insurance pays for the difference
between the value of your vehicle
and the amount of your car loan if
your car gets totaled or stolen.

Not Required.

Roadside Assistance

Towing, changing of flat tires, battery
jump-start, fuel delivery and locksmith
services. Specific services included may
vary depending on the insurance carrier.

Not Required.

What Doesn't Full Coverage Insurance Cover?

While full coverage car insurance covers scratches and dents caused by accidents or vandalism, there are some incidents where it may not apply. These typically include:

  • Intentional damages
  • Damages to the vehicle due to street racing or off-road driving
  • Damages incurred while the car is being used in a car-sharing program
  • Destruction to or confiscation of the vehicle by government or other civil authorities
  • Use of the vehicle for delivery
  • Certain catastrophes like war
  • Car insurance typically doesn't cover tire damage from regular wear and tear or hazards like nails and potholes

How Do I Know if I Have a Full Coverage?

Check the details of your policy to discover if you have full coverage auto insurance. You may also confirm with your insurance provider about the types of coverage your policy has. For instance, if you only have bodily liability and property damage liability, then your policy is liability-only insurance. But if you have bodily liability, property damage liability, comprehensive, collision and other coverage, then you have full coverage.

If you have an online account or your insurance provider has a mobile application, you may also see the details of your policy there. Depending on the state where you live, you may also check insurance details in your vehicle registration or with the help of the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

An illustration image of a woman with a full auto coverage document, a calculator, and some coins.

Understanding Full Coverage Auto Insurance

While full coverage auto insurance provides financial protection, it may not be suitable for everyone. There are instances when it is not the best option. Know the pros and cons and find out if full coverage auto insurance is a good choice for you.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Full Coverage

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of full auto coverage is important to help you decide whether it is the right option. MoneyGeek breaks down some of the pros and cons in the table below.

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  • Coverage for any type of road-related accidents and other incidents.
  • Get paid or reimbursed even if your car gets totaled.
  • Meet the comprehensive and collision insurance requirements of lenders and leasing companies.
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  • It has more expensive premium prices compared to a liability-only policy.
  • You may end up not using all of the benefits you purchase.
  • You will still have to pay deductibles when filing claims.

Who Will Need Full Coverage?

While most states, if not all, require drivers to have auto insurance, having full auto coverage is not mandated by law. However, there are instances when it makes sense to pay extra.

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    You own a new or expensive vehicle.

    You may decide to get full coverage based on the value of your vehicle. If you think you cannot afford to pay for the repair or replacement of your vehicle if it gets damaged or stolen, then full coverage auto insurance may be a good option.

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    You are paying for a car loan or lease.

    Lenders typically require liability, comprehensive and collision insurance for financed cars. This is to protect their investment if the car gets damaged or totaled.

    You regularly use your car to commute in heavy traffic.

    Using your car regularly, especially in heavy traffic, increases the risks of getting in an accident. Full coverage auto insurance gives you the necessary protection, especially if you live in an area where there are a lot of uninsured or underinsured motorists.

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    You live in an area with extreme weather conditions or has high car theft rates.

    A full coverage auto insurance policy provides coverage even for weather-related and other non-road accidents such as falling tree branches. You also get coverage against vandalism and theft.

Should You Consider Getting Full Coverage?

Assessing your needs and circumstances will be the first step to determine whether you should consider getting full coverage auto insurance. If you fall under any of the situations mentioned above, then paying extra for the best full coverage car insurance policy makes sense.

However, there are also instances when buying full coverage is not worth the cost. For example, if you are driving an old or low-value vehicle, paying more on car insurance may not be the best idea. If you can afford the cost of replacement or repair of your car if it gets damaged or stolen, then you may opt for a state minimum coverage. This way, you get to save money on premiums.

How to Get Full Coverage Auto Insurance

Most major insurance providers offer comprehensive and collision insurance. You may also find companies that have optional coverages. The following steps can help you get started.

Assess your needs

The first thing you need to do is to determine what type of coverage you need. Based on these, you can start your search for a full coverage policy.

Find insurance providers

You should look for insurance companies that offer the types of coverage you want to purchase. While most companies offer liability, comprehensive and collision insurance, optional coverages may vary.

Get quotes

Ask for a personalized quote based on your needs and circumstances. Most companies offer online quote tools accessible to the public.

Compare prices and policies

Get quotes from multiple insurers. It is ideal to request from at least three insurance providers. This way, you can compare the policy features and premium prices and choose the one that best fits your needs.

How Much Does Full Coverage Cost?

On average, full auto coverage is more expensive than a liability-only policy. This is because insurance companies take on more risk by agreeing to cover you, your passengers and your vehicle in the event of a collision or other types of accidents. To calculate the cost of your policy, the insurance provider will consider all types of coverage you purchase. That means adding more coverage, including the less common types like roadside assistance and GAP coverage, will further increase your premium.

In most cases, drivers who buy full coverage auto insurance opt for liability coverage higher than the state minimum requirements. The most common liability level is 100/300/100.

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Full coverage car insurance with 100/300/100 liability level and comprehensive and collision insurance costs an average of $1,424 per year. In comparison, a 50/100/50 liability-only auto insurance only costs an average of $898 annually. That means a full coverage policy typically costs $526 or 58.57% more per year.

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4 Ways to Save On Full Coverage Auto Insurance

Some people decline full coverage auto insurance due to the high premium prices. However, driving without full coverage can cost you more in the instance of an accident or a vehicle theft incident. Below are some ways you can save on full coverage car insurance.

Shop around

Checking your options regularly can help you find affordable full coverage insurance. Compare rates from at least three insurers to find a policy and coverage that you need. It’s ideal to shop around and update your insurance coverage before your policy renewal date.

Check available discounts

Companies offer various discounts for auto insurance policyholders. Ask your agent if your insurer has saving opportunities and you might also compare what other companies have to offer. Many insurers give discounts to drivers with clean records, those who have completed defensive driving programs and students with good grades.

Increase your deductible

Deductible refers to the amount you pay out-of-pocket when you file a claim. Increasing this will help lower your monthly or annual premiums.

Save money for emergency repairs and other possible extra expenses

Insurance claims may increase the cost of premiums. By having an emergency fund, you can prevent filing a claim for minor expenses like glass damages or roadside services.

Full Coverage Car Insurance FAQs

Understanding full coverage car insurance can be a bit overwhelming, especially for first-time auto insurance policyholders. MoneyGeek answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you better understand this type of coverage.

What is the meaning of full coverage?
What is the difference between full coverage and liability?
Is full coverage car insurance worth it?
When do you have to drop full coverage on your car?
Do I need full coverage on my new or used car?

Expert Insights

Full coverage car insurance can be a complicated topic, especially for individuals who have never gotten it before. MoneyGeek spoke with industry leaders to help you gain a better understanding on the topic.

  1. What do you think are the best types of coverage to include in full auto coverage insurance?
  2. What is the most important consideration when deciding whether full auto coverage is worth it?
  3. When is the cost of full coverage auto insurance too much?
Lauren Mckenzie
Lauren MckenzieInsurance Agent and Broker at A Plus Insurance
Matthew Davis
Matthew DavisPresident and CEO at GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.
John Espenschied
John EspenschiedAgency Owner of Insurance Brokers Group

Related Content

Understanding auto insurance will help you make better-informed decisions when purchasing a policy. MoneyGeek breaks down some related terms and concepts that may help you.

  • Car Insurance: Search for the best car insurance near you by clicking on the state where you live. MoneyGeek also answers some of the most common questions people ask about car insurance.
  • Car Insurance Calculator: MoneyGeek helps you get an estimate on how much your car insurance will cost based on your state, age,gender, credit score, vehicle type and year, driving record and coverage.
  • GAP Insurance: Find out what GAP insurance is, what it covers and how it works. This guide also reviews when it is best to get GAP insurance.
  • Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage: Learn more about what uninsured motorist insurance coverage is and whether it is right for you. Find a list of the best insurance companies offering uninsured motorist coverage.
  • Uninsured Motorist Statistics 2021: Find a breakdown of the most important facts about uninsured motorists. Learn which states have the most uninsured drivers and how you can protect yourself on the road.
  • Best Cheap Car Insurance and Average Costs for 18-Year-Olds: Age can also affect the cost of auto insurance. In this guide, explore the best car insurance ranking for 18-year-old drivers.
  • Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies for Seniors: Seniors typically pay lower premiums for auto insurance compared to other adult drivers. MoneyGeek evaluates the cost of auto insurance for seniors to help you find the cheapest option.

About Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.