Everyone who owns a car knows that they can get away with having the minimum required amount of insurance in order to be able to have their car on the road legally. But, just because one has the minimum amount of insurance required by the state, it doesn’t mean that that person has all of the insurance coverage that is needed. For instance, many people who live in California find that they need to have more coverage, and opt for full coverage auto insurance. Of course, this all depends on a person’s individual needs, as well as driving history and the type of vehicle.
What Is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?
Unlike liability coverage, which only covers the damages to others involved in an accident and not actually the driver at fault, full coverage car insurance covers both the insured driver and the others involved. This includes personal injury as well as the damage that is caused to any vehicles in the accident. It can also cover expenses that arise from situations other than auto accidents, including fire, theft and vandalism.
You do need to read all of the fine print though, as some policies do not cover everything, especially if you have a rented or a leased vehicle. Sometimes, the terms full coverage and comprehensive coverage are used synonymously, but one should never assume that one policy is the same as another. Make sure that you know what your policy covers, so there are no surprises when something bad does happen.
Cheap Full Coverage Auto Insurance
One of the reasons why many people don’t look into getting full coverage auto insurance is because they don’t think they can afford it. Many things are factored into the cost of auto insurance, and while some people find that it does not cost much more for them to have full coverage, others have a history that makes it much more expensive. A good example is a person who has had a number of auto accidents. This is going to significantly raise the price of insurance rates, even for the bare minimum of coverage.
In California, insurance companies access driving records from a Motor Vehicle Report, and if drivers have a clean driving record, they have a better chance of getting cheaper full coverage auto insurance.
Physical Damage Coverage
If you live in California and you own a newer model vehicle, you should consider having physical damage coverage included in your full coverage insurance. This is actually part of collision and comprehensive coverage, and if your vehicle is damaged, you will have complete coverage, so you don’t get stuck with any out-of-pocket expenses for repairs. This is also good coverage to have to protect you in the event of natural disasters such as flooding, and even theft or vandalism. If you have added anything to your vehicle, such as a stereo system, you will need to ask about whether or not the additions are covered, or if you need to purchase additional coverage. You should also ask about coverage against uninsured motorists.
Auto Insurance Explained
Many people find that they get confused about the various types of auto insurance. Full coverage insurance provides pretty much exactly what it says, full coverage. On the other hand, there are other types of insurance that may suffice just as well for California drivers, including:
- Comprehensive Plus Collision – This type of insurance covers collision and comprehensive damage. With the collision coverage, the insurer pays the cost to repair or replace the insured vehicle if it is involved in a collision that is the fault of the insured driver. Comprehensive coverage will take care of the cost of damages or replacing an insured vehicle if the damages are caused by something other than a collision. Some of the reasons that comprehensive coverage is used include fire and theft, and in some cases, it covers damages caused by hitting an animal with the vehicle.
- Liability – If you are in an accident and you are at fault, your liability insurance will cover the costs incurred by the driver(s) of the other vehicle(s) involved. Each state has a minimum amount of liability coverage that all drivers must have. In California, the minimum amount of liability insurance that drivers of private passenger vehicles must carry is $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property. If you have a full coverage insurance policy, it will probably include liability insurance, but it is still a good thing to check and make sure.
What Isn’t Covered?
Even though some people think that full coverage means exactly that, it actually will not cover all of your losses after an accident. For example, if you need to be towed, it may be covered if you need it because of an accident, but not because of a mechanical breakdown. You may also not be covered for damages to your personal property if you are in an accident or a loss of earnings if you use your vehicle for business purposes.
What If You Rent or Lease Your Vehicle?
In most cases, California drivers who rent or lease their vehicles are covered by their existing liability insurance. But, they may not always have full coverage, because it may be that the vehicle they are using is more expensive than what their coverage allows for if it needs repairs or replacement following an auto accident. Usually, anyone who leases or rents a vehicle will be offered collision or comprehensive insurance by the company they are renting or leasing from. If you have a full coverage insurance policy, it will probably pay out the current market value of your vehicle, and with leased vehicles, the payout is often lower than the amount owing on the loan. You may want to take out additional coverage through a GAP policy.
If you live in California and need auto insurance, you need to start getting quotes so you can get the best rates for full coverage auto insurance. Having this will let you feel safer when you are driving, because you know that even if you do have an accident, your damages will be covered.