When it comes to car insurance, you don’t want to cut corners to save a few bucks. Having proper coverage could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. You might have heard about “full coverage insurance” through conversations with your insurance company or during your personal research. If you aren’t sure what it is or want to clarify your definition of this term, we’re here to help.
“Full coverage” is not an official type of coverage. This term is basically a way to describe having both collision and comprehensive insurance, as well as liability insurance. The point of having full coverage is to keep yourself from having to pay a lot in case of an accident. Anyone that buys collision, comprehensive, and liability insurance has what is referred to as full coverage insurance.
Since “full coverage” is not technically a package you can opt for, you’ll have to buy comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance separately. While something considered “full” sounds like all you’ll need, there are some exclusions worth looking into. Before you opt in, make sure you’re getting all the coverage you’ll need.
What does it cover?
As previously mentioned, it consists of coverage through comprehensive insurance, collision insurance, and liability insurance. What do those cover?
Comprehensive insurance: This refers to coverage for damage done to your car due to weather, animals, crime, natural disaster, etc.
Collision insurance: This covers damage to your car from an accident with another vehicle.
Liability insurance: This protects you by covering the injuries of yourself and others if you are at fault in an accident. This also includes damages done to property like lamp posts or other vehicles. It even covers legal defense costs if you are sued for being at fault for an accident.
Do you need full coverage insurance?
Technically, you aren’t required to purchase all 3 of these types of insurance. While everyone in the U.S. is required to have liability insurance, not everyone purchases collision or comprehensive insurance for their cars. Since liability insurance doesn’t cover car expenses, people should purchase collision and/or comprehensive insurance for extra protection.
Does it cover everything?
That’s the catch. Even though it’s called “full coverage,” you aren’t getting coverage on every front, just the major coverage areas. Make sure you know what you are covered for and what you aren’t covered for. The following insurance coverages may not be included in your full coverage plan:
Uninsured motorist: This type of insurance provides coverage for any driver if they get into an accident with an uninsured person, but only when the uninsured person is at fault. Nationally, approximately 1 in 8 people do not have car insurance, according to a 2016 study. It’s not worth taking a risk. Usually, you can get this type of protection by paying a premium to your insurance company.
Gap insurance: This is the type of insurance that pays the gap between what the car is worth and what you owe. You need to request this upfront, as you can’t always rely on automatically getting it.
Roadside assistance: Imagine being broken down on the side of the highway, only to find out that this isn’t covered by your insurance. Again, specify that you want this included in your insurance coverage plan in case you need to be towed.
Car rental: Some carriers offer a limited amount of rental reimbursement with your insurance package. You might have to ask what your policy offers if it’s not listed.
OEM endorsement: When you need a car repair, you probably assume the replaced parts will be products of the original manufacturer. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Make sure your insurance will cover Original Manufacturer's Equipment, OEM for short.
Full glass coverage: If you have comprehensive coverage, this is almost always included. However, if you choose to have a high deductible on your comprehensive plan, this might not be included.
Vanishing deductible: This plan rewards safe driving in additional deductible savings. This means you will pay less out-of-pocket and you’ll get a $100 deductible credit immediately, which has the potential to increase. This usually has to be added onto your policy.
As long as you’re aware of what you’re getting into and what you’ll need to add on, you could benefit substantially from full coverage car insurance. Having access to protection on multiple fronts could save you from paying a big amount out of pocket.