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Compare car insurance coverage

Explore essential and optional types of car insurance coverage and what's covered

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No one ever plans to be in an accident, but there are over 6 million police-reported crashes in the US every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When you’re shopping for car insurance, each type of coverage protects you and our car in a different way, so it pays to understand the differences and what’s covered in every policy.

What’s included with basic car insurance coverage?

Minimum coverage auto insurance is required in almost every state except Virginia and New Hampshire. Each state determines its own minimum, which means they vary depending on which state you live in. Auto Insurance typically covers medical fees, vehicle repair damages, body damage, legal fees and property damages.

Bodily injury liability

Covers injuries to another person in an at-fault accident, including medical care, legal help and funeral costs.

Property damage liability

Covers damages to someone else’s property in an at-fault accident, including repairs to vehicle, buildings or fences.

Personal injury insurance

Covers healthcare after an accident regardless of fault, including ambulances, nursing care and lost income.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage

Covers damage caused by another driver if they don’t have insurance or if their insurance isn’t enough to cover the costs.

What other types of car insurance coverage can I get?

Unlike liability, personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage — which are required in most states — the following coverage types are optional. While not mandatory, these features offer extra protection against other mishaps that might happen to you or your car.

Collision

If you’re at fault in an accident, your collision insurance kicks in and pays for damage to your car.

Comprehensive

Ensures that you’re covered for the expense of replacing or repairing your vehicle, regardless of fault, and damages that aren’t within your control.

Gap insurance

This fills the gap between how much money you receive from your insurer and what you still owe to your bank.

Umbrella

Protects you beyond the coverage offered by your basic insurance.

Roadside assistance

If you break down on the side of the road, you’ll have help when you need it.

New car replacement

You’ll get a newer version of your current car if your new vehicle is stolen or declared a total loss.

Medical payments

Helps you with your medical costs resulting from a car accident — no matter who’s at fault.

Pet injuries

If your pet is injured while riding in the car, this can help cover the costs.

Compare car insurance coverage from top companies

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
Clearcover
Optional
Yes
AZ, CA, IL, LA, OH, TX, UT and WI
Get instant online support and score a low rate thanks to online data that sets premiums automatically.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
Optional
Yes
All 50 states & DC
Drivers over age 50 can enjoy low rates and perks designed for mature drivers, plus freebies and AARP member perks like free replacement cost coverage.
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What coverage do I need?

When you’re shopping around for the lowest price car insurance, you’ll see several options with big price differences. Consider both the minimum state requirements and if optional coverage is worth it when building your policy.

The cheapest car insurance isn’t always the right one for your needs, even if saving money is your number one priority. Consider how you’d pay for your car if it was stolen or totaled in an accident. Could you afford a new car without insurance?

Liability claims, for example, could total much more than the bare minimum if you crash into someone’s garage or a car full of passengers. If you’re looking for the cheapest coverage, play around with maximum coverage and monthly payments. An extra $5 a month could cover you for hundreds of thousands in extra protection. But for an older car that’s worth less than your annual premium, consider cutting comprehensive and umbrella coverage.

How much coverage do I need?

Each state has minimum requirements for the amount of basic coverage you’re required to purchase. Liability requirements are often stated in 3 numbers, divided by slashes like so: 1/2/3.

The numbers stand for:

  1. Bodily liability per person
  2. Bodily liability per accident
  3. Property damage per accident

For example, the minimum liability coverage for New York state is 25/50/10. That’s $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons and $10,000 for property damage in any one accident. Make sure you’re meeting your state’s minimum requirements.

How much does each type of coverage cost?

CoverageAnnual costCoverage detailsRequiredWorth it?
Collision$300Damage to your carNoYes
Comprehensive$135Nonaccident damage like theft and weatherNoOnly for newer cars or high risk areas
Property damage liability$1,000–$2,000At fault damage to propertyYesYes
Personal injury protection$50–$100Your post-accident injuries regardless of faultYes in 15 statesYes
Bodily injury liability$1,000–$2,000At fault post-accident injuries to othersYesYes
Uninsured motorist5% of annual premiumDamages caused by uninsured driverYes in 22 statesYes
Umbrella$150–$300Damages above and beyond other coverageNoOnly for high value assets
Medical payments$50–$100Post-accident injuries for you and passengersNoOnly as health insurance supplement
Gap insurance$20–$30Damages if car is stolen or totaledNoOnly for loans over car value

What’s not covered with car insurance?

While exclusions may vary between providers, you generally won’t be covered for:

  • Damage caused by mechanical failure, depreciation, rust, wear and tear or changes made to the vehicle
  • Damage incurred due to participation in a race or your vehicle generally not being safe
  • Damage that was caused intentionally
  • Any damage incurred if the person driving didn’t have a license or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drivers not listed on your policy

Bottom line

Effectively comparing car insurance quotes requires understanding the ins and outs of each type of coverage to decide if you need it and what’s covered. Compare car insurance companies to find the right policy and coverage for you.

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