Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

What Options Do I Have For Car Insurance Coverage?

If you drive a car you need to have auto insurance coverage. But the types of coverage and levels you choose depends on a few things.

Every state has its own laws and regulations on how much coverage you are required to carry. Personally speaking, your coverage needs might be different based on where you live, and what your personal necessities are.

Education is key when it comes to making a decision about car insurance coverage. Getting an insurance policy for your vehicle is simple with the internet however for many people speaking with an agent is the way they prefer to do business.

Should you speak with a local insurance agent or buy from an online company such as Geico or Progressive? Regardless this is the choice you need to make that you feel most comfortable with.

Sometimes the state minimum may not be appropriate to cover you, your family and or your assets. That’s why most providers offer flexibility to adjust the limits and deductibles as needed.

This page is designed to help you with understanding your auto insurance policy, and types of coverages available on a basic car insurance policy.  Many Americans choose a simple liability package while others with families, assets, and newer vehicles select more of a comprehensive plan in case of serious accidents.

Whatever your situation you need to be covered. Insurantly has outlined some of the basic elements of auto coverage types below

Common Types Of Coverage Found on a Typical Policy

Liability coverage including Bodily Injury
Physical Damage and Collision Coverage
Medical Payments and Other Coverage
Uninsured motorists and personal injury protection

Niche-Specific Types of Car Insurance Coverage

Coverage For Non Owners

Is non-owner car insurance right for you? Non-owner insurance coverage is liability protection. See our page to learn more and if it is the right car insurance coverage that fits your needs.

If you are over 50

If you are over 50 you may or may have some advantages. Insurantly provided some helpful information for over 50 drivers that includes common insurance companies that may cater to your age group.

Broad Form Auto Insurance Coverage

If you need very limited amount of coverage broad form may be for you. This may be a way to be legally covered at a cheaper cost.

Low Down Payment

If you are looking for low to no down payment options most companies have creative payment policies where you can get into the coverage with little to no money down. Not all drivers will qualify.

New car replacement policies

If your car is declared a total loss, you may find yourself not only without your new car, but also in a bad financial position. Your insurance company will pay you only for what your vehicle is currently worth unless you add this type of auto insurance coverage to your policy.

Temporary auto insurance coverage

Temporary coverage has a shorter term than most policies, which usually run for six or 12 months. Temporary insurance can provide coverage for as little as one day or as many as 28 days.

Umbrella insurance coverage

Umbrella insurance can aid in protecting yourself and your family. Anyone can sue you or your immediate family for personal damages. Damages can refer to physical injuries to the body or property, emotional trauma, or psychological effects.

Options for bad credit profiles

Is your credit scores and history below average. Depending on your state laws credit risk can be figured into your final rate. Learn more.

One day car insurance

You may still need coverage on a one-day basis so you can drive on vacation, while you’re in the process of moving, or under another circumstance where you might be driving for only a day.

New Car insurance coverage for a new car

If you’re shopping for car insurance for your new car, created a helpful article on 10 important things you’ll want to consider.

Best car insurance for college students

If you are in school more specifically college you should understand the options you have when it comes to auto insurance coverage. Learn more what your options are.

SR22 Car Insurance

Don’t get confused about sr22 being a type of car insurance coverage. Read more to learn if your carrier provides it.

Bodily Injury (BI)

Bodily injury auto insurance covers other peoples injuries or a resulted death that was your fault. There is also a legal aspect to this as well where it can cover legal expenses if the other party decides to file a suit against you. Claims typically are for medical bills, and future losses of income. If you get into a serious accident and it is determined to be your fault its imperative you are covered.

This type of auto coverage does not cover your car it covers other peoples injuries, pain & sufferings, and loss of wages. If you own multiple cars its probably a good idea to get consistent coverage on all vehicles. See our full page on bodily injury liability insurance coverage to learn more on possible levels you that may be right for you and your family.

Property Damage Liability (PD)

If your vehicle damages someone else’s property this type of auto insurance covers you. Typically this is another drivers automobile, but it could be residential property as well if you crashed through a fence, wrecked their yard, and damaged the house.

Attorney fees are expensive and this type of auto coverage provides defense. This is mandatory in most states. To learn more about property damage liability coverage. Read more and learn about the various levels of coverage you should buy.

Physical Damage Full Coverage Comprehensive

If you are buying or leasing a new car comprehensive full coverage auto insurance could be required. This type of auto insurance covers your vehicle and other vehicles, but goes a step further and covers from damages to your automobile from things like floods, vandalism etc that are out of your control. Keep your monthly/yearly premiums lower by selecting higher car insurance deductibles.

Pay as much out of pocket that you can afford to. See our full coverage auto insurance page for a comprehensive explanation of what is full coverage car insurance and how to get it cheaply.

Collision Coverage

This type covers when you are struck by or hit another vehicle. This is apart of your comprehensive coverage and also something to consider the types of levels you need to buy. Again like full coverage, select the highest out of pocket expense you can afford to keep your monthly payments low.

If you have an older vehicle you may not need this type of auto insurance coverage. Your state will not require it but your car loan or leasing company may depending on their rules and the lender’s rules on your lease agreement. Learn more by going to our Collision Coverage page on what is best for you.

Uninsured Motorists (UM)

This type of car insurance covers you when struck by someone who does not have sufficient coverage on their vehicle. If you are involved in an accident and its the other parties fault who does not have insurance then this part of your policy will cover you based on the medical amounts you selected. To learn more go to our Uninsured Motorists auto insurance coverage page.

Under-Insured Motorists Protection (UNDUM)

Under-insured motorist property damage covers you, members of your family who are on the policy, as well as any passengers in your car for damages and or death caused from someone who is not carrying sufficient car insurance coverage. If an accident happens and damages occur that cannot be met then your insurance policy will meet somewhere in between to cover you. To learn more see our under-insured motorist page.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP-MEDEX)

This type of auto insurance covers you for specific limits for medical, funeral (death), and hospital expenses for all insured persons. This type of car insurance is not available in every state. Therefore these amounts will vary depending on where you live and operate a vehicle. Learn more about your state laws on PIP coverage and if its smart to buy personal injury protection coverage.

Medical Payments

This covers you and the injuries to passengers in your car for medical expenses. This may also cover pedestrian types of accidents regardless to who is at fault and is often a smart addition to insurance depending on how heavily populated the are you driver your vehicle is. Make sure the read all the terms and conditions on this auto insurance coverage as it is limited to what’s in the policy. Learn more on our medical payments coverage page.

Accidental Death Benefit (ADB)

This type of auto insurance pays a benefit if death occurs of you or a covered family member. Learn more about accidental death coverage and if is right for you and your family.

Work Loss

This is optional. For the economics for loss of wages this provides some coverage. This provides further protection for those listed on your car insurance policy. Passengers in your vehicle will also be covered from any future loss of income for any accident-related types of injuries. Learn more on our work loss coverage page.

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Gap Insurance (GAP)

What is GAP insurance? This can also be referred to when car owners have a recent loan or lease they decide to payoff. In order to get this you must be fully covered including the collision option. You are further protected if your auto is at a total loss, which then reimburses you for the difference to what is owed to the leasing or loan company. If you are considering buying gap coverage your best bet may be to go through your insurance company rather than the auto dealer. Learn more about this topic on our GAP insurance coverage page.

Towing — Emergency Roadside Assistance Coverage

This type of auto insurance is typically available as part of your full coverage/collision policy. Check with your local agent as this coverage will vary from company to company as some only covers when actual claims have been made against you. Learn more about this topic on our Towing auto insurance coverage page.

How much coverage do I need?

When people ask this question generally one could assume that they are looking for the minimum coverage of car insurance. The car insurance coverage limits you need will depend on your situation. First, you need enough so that you can legally drive in your state. Secondly, you need enough coverage that effectively covers you.

Insurantly’s state coverage page offers additional advice about selecting the right amount of coverage.

Insurantly tip: Experts generally recommend that in order to save on your premium select the highest deductible you can afford.

Car insurance full coverage vs liability

Generally speaking whether you buy comprehensive or full coverage vs liability coverage depends on the car you own. If your vehicle has any value, which can be interpreted differently of course, you should seriously consider talking to your agent about a full coverage plan.

Liability is not really an option. You need liability regardless because that is the basic foundation of insurance. It protects you from damages to others.

Consider the rule of thumb that is based on the law of averages for car accident claims:

  • Use your monthly car insurance premium cost to for the collision and comprehensive insurance.
  • Take that cost X 12 (if you pay quarterly use *4) to get your annual cost.

When your annual rate is greater than 10% of the value of your vehicle, this could be the part of the “Rule” where you can think about removing full coverage, and go for a minimum on liability coverage.

This is not 100% proof for every situation because if you make this change and happen to total your car then you would be liable for the costs involved out of your own pocket.

If you do not possess any savings you may want to consider keeping full coverage until you have more back up.

What is the best car insurance coverage to have?

Do I just need average car insurance?

How do I choose coverage that is right for me?

Disclaimer: Insurantly is neither an auto insurance company or agent. This information is not advice rather a starting point to help you get an idea of where to begin and how you may structure your policy.

Example Coverage for a 40+ Single Male who is looking for low cost and good protection, and who owns a home, currently financing a car.
  • $100,000 / $300,000 for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 for property damage liability
  • $100,000 / $300,000 for Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • $50,000 for Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
  • Suggested deducible of $500 for comprehensive
  • Suggested deductible of $500 for collision coverage

Other factors to this scenario.

  • Your car’s value
  • How much you drive
Example Coverage for a married couple younger than 25 with kids who is looking for low cost and good protection, and who owns a home, currently financing a car.
  • $300,000 / $300,000 for bodily injury liability
  • $100,000 for property damage liability
  • $300,000 / $300,000 for Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • $100,000 for Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
  • Suggested deducible of $500 for comprehensive
  • Suggested deductible of $500 for collision coverage

Other factors to this scenario.

  • Your cars value
  • How much you drive
Example Coverage for a Single with dependents who is looking for the lowest cost, and who currently rents, currently owns their car and has to drive and use their car a lot.
  • $100,000 / $300,000 for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 for property damage liability
  • $100,000 / $300,000 for Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • $50,000 for Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
  • Suggested deducible of $500 for comprehensive
  • Suggested deductible of $500 for collision coverage

Other factors to this scenario.

  • Your cars value
  • How much you drive