Buying car insurance can turn into an expensive proposition, especially if you don’t know what you’re buying or getting for your money. You are either buying a policy that you will never use, or you are not paying enough for the coverage that you need.

The trick is to choose the right type of coverage that is perfect for your needs and budget. And to do that, you need to know the many types of car insurance and how each may be perfect for you and your lifestyle.

We believe that knowledge is the most effective way to save a couple hundred bucks. Stop breaking the bankwhen it comes to purchasing motor insurance!

We also packaged this up into a nice infographic for you, so to view, download, or embed the full thing, just click here.

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

Liability Coverage

Liability Coverage

If you caused an accident on the road (meaning the accident was entirely your fault), you are liable to pay for:

  • The injuries sustained by the other party; and
  • All property damage

In other words, you could be screwed. Can you imagine paying these in cash? The cost of injuries and property damage can be really expensive, and this is the reason why you should always carry liability insurance whenever you drive a car.

Every US state, with the exception of Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Virginia, requires liability coverage or casualty insurance as the absolute minimum. With that being said, it is illegal in many US states to operate a motor vehicle without liability coverage.

Liability insurance will cover bodily injury and property damage for the other party, but it will not cover injuries sustained by you and your passengers.

Liability insurance will not cover vehicle repairs or damages to your car, and in most cases, the coverage is very low.

Thus the reason why it is important to consider purchasing additional coverage for better protection.

To make things even more complicated, the laws vary state-by-state in terms of who pays for what, based on who is at fault (which itself is often tricky to determine.)

Collision Coverage

Collision Coverage

If you caused an accident, liability insurance will pay for the medical costs and property damage of the other driver. But who will pay for the damages to your vehicle?

Collison insurance will take care of all the expenses to either fix or replace your vehicle after a crash. The coverage includes damages after crashing into an object, crashing into another car, or if your car spins, rolls, or flips on the road.

In most US states, collision coverage is not a major requirement. But if you want to protect yourself from a huge financial loss after an unforeseen accident, having both liability and collision coverage will give you added peace of mind.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is also called ‘Acts of God’ insurance because it covers vehicle damage that is not caused by a car accident. This type of coverage is designed to protect you and your wallet from significant repair bills caused by non-accident related claims.

Comprehensive coverage will protect your vehicle from:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Falling objects
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, etc.
  • Accidents caused by animals such as cows, deer, moose, bears, and even birds (whether you were hit by the animal or you accidentally hit them)
  • Glass breakage
  • Wind storm
  • Riots and/or civil disturbances

You will need comprehensive coverage if you are:

  • Leasing a car that requires a ‘full coverage’ policy
  • Currently paying a brand new vehicle that requires ‘Full Coverage’ insurance
  • Looking to protect your car from damages that are not covered by collision coverage

Full Coverage

Auto insurance providers will typically offer collision coverage and comprehensive coverage in a single policy called ‘Full Coverage.’

In essence, ‘Full Coverage’ doesn’t really exist in and of itself. It is basically used to describe several types of car insurance policies meant to provide a complete level of protection against an accident, such as combining liability insurance, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. Since we cover the individual types of insurance in the above sections, we don’t get into too much detail about Full Coverage here. But if you want to read more, check out this excellent guide to Full Coverage Insurance.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal Injury Protection or PIP

Personal injury protection insurance will cover all your medical expenses in the event of an accident, no matter who is at fault.

This is the reason why PIP is popularly called ‘no-fault insurance’.

PIP is commonly the required insurance coverage on no-fault states such as Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. Keep in mind that the aforementioned states have verbal thresholdsfor PIP, which means that there is a certain threshold based on the insured party’s degree of injury (such as whole or partial loss of a body member) that must be exceeded before a lawsuit can be filed against the negligent party.

Other no-fault states includes Kansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah. These states have a monetary threshold for PIP, which means that there is a certain threshold based on the insured party’s degree of injury (which is measured in dollars based on the medical costs incurred) before a lawsuit can be filed against the negligent party.

Depending on the policy, PIP may also cover child care, lost income claims, and funeral expenses.


Auto Medical Payments or Med-Pay

Most people think about coverage for vehicle damage when purchasing auto insurance. But your health and well-being is far more important than the damages to your vehicle!

Auto medical payments, or Med-Pay, will cover your medical expenses, including your passengers and other household members involved in the crash.

Med-Pay will also pay for:

  • Injuries that you sustain as a pedestrian, or if you’re riding a bicycle and you get hit by a vehicle.
  • Dental bills that came as a result of a vehicle accident.
  • Funeral expenses.

Med-Pay insurance will also cover insurance deductibles and copays of other insurance policies, including PIP.

If your health insurance provides coverage against car accidents, there is no reason why you should purchase additional coverage like Med-Pay. Look into your medical policy before deciding if you should add Auto Medical Payments to your auto policy.


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