Car insurance jargon can be difficult to parse through. Add in the fact that there are plenty of car insurance myths floating around, and it's no wonder that it can be hard to get to the bottom of the most basic car insurance terms.

“Full coverage” is one of these notorious misnomers of the auto insurance world. If you think you can purchase one type of car insurance to protect yourself and your vehicle in any circumstance, time to read up on the real definition of “full coverage.”

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What Does “Full Coverage” Auto Insurance Mean?

You won’t be able to simply approach your auto insurer and specify that you want a “full coverage” car insurance option. In the field of car insurance, full coverage refers to a grouping of coverages that, together, can adequately protect a driver from a variety of perils.

Long story short, guaranteed coverage for your car in all circumstances doesn’t exist. You create your own sort of full coverage with the different insurance options you choose for you and your car based on what protections are important to you.

How Do I Get Fully Covered?

Grouping several types of traditional auto insurance coverages provides a solid base of protection for you and your vehicle. The following four coverages are recommended, if not required by law.

  • Liability coverage protects you if you’re at-fault for an accident, and pays out for property damage or physical harm done to another person.
  • Collision coverage pays for the replacement or repair of your vehicle in the case of an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage covers certain damages to your vehicle other than a collision.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UI/UIM) protects you if you are in a collision with a driver who has inadequate insurance coverage or no insurance coverage at all.

In addition to these types of coverage, car insurance companies typically offer additional coverages. Depending on what’s important to you, consider the following types of insurance to round out your own personal “full coverage.”

  • Medical payment coverage or personal injury protection pays out for medical bills and other injury-related costs after an accident.
  • New car replacement coverage covers the cost of replacement if you total a new set of wheels.
  • Roadside assistance coverage protects you if your car breaks down, paying for towing costs or other roadside assistance.
  • Rental reimbursement coverage pays for the cost of your rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced.
  • Custom parts and equipment value coverage protects parts of your vehicle that you’ve added yourself, such as a sound system, custom grilles and spoilers, custom paint, and navigation equipment.
  • Loan/lease payoff coverage, also known as gap coverage, assists you in paying your lender if your loaned or leased vehicle is totaled.
  • Pet injury coverage covers veterinary bills if your pet is the car with you during an accident. If pet injury coverage interests you, make sure to read our tips for traveling safely with your pets in the car.

Each insurer offers different types of supplemental insurance. Talk to your car insurance agent or company if you have questions about what coverages are available.

Understand Your “Full Coverage”

Even with a solid set of car insurance coverages, you may still have to pay for some expenses out of pocket. You’ll be covered for the limits you’ve chosen on your various types of insurance, but you’ll still need to pay the deductible before your insurance company pays out for the rest of the damages or injuries covered under your policy.

While there’s no way to guarantee that your insurance will kick in in every circumstance, creating your own full coverage with protections that you specify should leave you feeling more secure.