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Compare car insurance coverage
Explore essential and optional types of car insurance coverage and what's covered
No one ever plans to be in an accident, but there are millions of car crashes in the US every year. 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. Required in some states.
- 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. Required in some states.
What optional car insurance coverage can I get?
While not mandatory, these features offer extra protection against other mishaps that might happen to you or your car. These add-ons can sometimes be included with your policy or available for an additional fee.
- Collision. If you’re at fault in an accident, your collision insurance kicks in and pays for damage to your car. May be required if you have a car loan.
- Comprehensive. Ensures that you’re covered for replacing or repairing your vehicle, regardless of fault, and damages that aren’t within your control. May be required if you have a car loan.
- Gap insurance. This fills the gap between how much money you receive from your insurer and what you still owe to your bank.
- Medical payments. Helps you with your medical costs resulting from a car accident — no matter who’s at fault.
- New car replacement. You’ll get a newer version of your current car if your new vehicle is stolen or declared a total loss.
- Pet injuries. If your pet is injured while riding in the car, this can help cover the costs.
- Rental car reimbursement. If your car can’t be driven until the damage is repaired, your insurance can cover the cost of a rental car.
- Roadside assistance. You’ll have help when experiencing engine trouble, mechanical failure, a flat tire or running out of fuel.
- Umbrella. Protects you beyond the coverage offered by your basic insurance.
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Is extra coverage worth it?
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. Also, liability claims could total much more than the bare minimum if you crash into someone’s garage or a car full of passengers.
If you want peace of mind and a higher level of protection than a standard policy, it’s worth exploring the extra-cost options available. 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 collision 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:
- Bodily liability per person
- Bodily liability per accident
- 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 at least your state’s minimum requirements.
How much does each type of coverage cost?
|Coverage||Annual cost||Coverage details||Required||Worth it?|
|Collision||$300||Damage to your car||No||Yes|
|Comprehensive||$135||Nonaccident damage like theft and weather||No||Only for newer cars or high risk areas|
|Property damage liability||$1,000–$2,000||At fault damage to property||Yes||Yes|
|Personal injury protection||$50–$100||Your post-accident injuries regardless of fault||Yes in 15 states||Yes|
|Bodily injury liability||$1,000–$2,000||At fault post-accident injuries to others||Yes||Yes|
|Uninsured motorist||5% of annual premium||Damages caused by uninsured driver||Yes in 22 states||Yes|
|Umbrella||$150–$300||Damages above and beyond other coverage||No||Only for high value assets|
|Medical payments||$50–$100||Post-accident injuries for you and passengers||No||Only as health insurance supplement|
|Gap insurance||$20–$30||Damages if car is stolen or totaled||No||Only for loans over car value|
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
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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