What does fully comprehensive auto insurance cover?

Although liability auto insurance covers you if you're at fault, you may want extra protection. Other coverage includes collision, comprehensive, and Med Pay.

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UPDATED: Oct 18, 2021

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Written By: Rachel BodineReviewed By: Daniel WalkerUPDATED: Oct 18, 2021Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • A fully comprehensive auto insurance policy is more commonly referred to as a full coverage auto insurance
  • While there’s not a specific list of coverage options that are included in a full-coverage plan, most policies include at least comprehensive and collision coverage
  • A fully comprehensive policy may also include coverage options like Medical Payments, Uninsured Motorist, rental car, towing, roadside assistance and GAP coverage
  • Even though a fully comprehensive policy offers you more coverage than a basic policy, there are still gaps in coverage that you should be aware of
  • It’s up to as a consumer to price the cost of full coverage to determine if it’s worth it to carry the added level of protection on your car or cars

It’s easy to assume that a full coverage covers it all. However, there are limitations to how much protection a fully comprehensive auto insurance plan will offer you.

Since some current restrictions and misassumptions surround full coverage plans, it’s important to learn what protections full coverage policies afford before you start to shop around for coverage.

More: When should I opt for liability only on auto insurance?

The key to being an informed consumer is to know what you’re buying before you make a purchase. You should start by distinguishing a basic insurance policy from a fully comprehensive one.

Once you know what each covers, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge that you need to build your policy.

Use our free tool and enter your ZIP code to start researching insurance policies starting now.

What is a basic auto insurance policy?

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By definition, a basic auto insurance policy is one that includes only the coverage that’s required under state law.

Since every state has its own unique auto insurance coverage and limit requirements, what makes a basic policy depends on where you live.

You do have an option to raise your limits even when you have basic coverage.

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What does a basic auto insurance policy cover?

Bodily Injury Liability

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Bodily Injury Liability is required in tort states where the at-fault driver must pay for damages that they cause.

Bodily Injury is required in almost all states and pays for third-party medical bills and related expenses when you injury other parties in a car crash.

Property Damage Liability

Property Damage Liability is required in both tort states and no-fault states with mandatory insurance laws. Property Damage is a third-party coverage that pays to repair property that you damage in a car crash.

More: Does liability cover passengers injured in an auto accident?

It only pays up to your limit for property that you and your family don’t own.


Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP is required in states with a no-fault auto insurance system. Personal Injury Protection, also known as PIP, pays for your medical expenses and rehabilitation costs when you’re in an accident.

More: Should you add your teenager to your policy?

It will pay for you and your family members regardless of who is at fault in a loss.

Uninsured Motorist Protection

Uninsured Motorist Protection is required in only some states. Uninsured Motorist Protection will pay for your medical expenses and funeral costs if you or someone in your vehicle is injured in an accident caused by a driver without insurance.

In many states, you have the option to sign a rejection form if you don’t want to carry this coverage.

What’s included under a comprehensive auto insurance policy?

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Having what’s required by the state will keep you in compliance, but it won’t offer you the highest level of protection. If you want that, you’re going to need to add optional forms of coverage to your plan.

The problem will full coverage plans is that there’s no precise definition. The core of full coverage includes:

State Minimum Requirements

What’s required by law in your state? Bumping up the state minimum limits will offer you more protection on a fully comprehensive insurance policy.

More: Do you need medical payment coverage on auto insurance?

Most experts recommend carrying at least $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident in Bodily Injury, and $50,000 per accident in Property Damage.


Comprehensive coverage is first-party physical damage that covers your car if you have a loss caused by fire, theft, vandal, flood, live animal, or falling object.

Most agents comprehensive Other Than Collision because it pays for non-collision losses. This coverage is required if your vehicle is leased or financed.


More: Do you need insurance on a car that doesn’t run?

Collision coverage is a first-party physical damage coverage that covers your vehicle when it collides with another object like a car, fence, or building.

The policy will only pay up to the Actual Cash Value of your policy minus your deductible. Like comprehensive, it’s also required if your vehicle is leased or financed.

What other forms of coverage can I get on a full-coverage policy?

While the core of full coverage does offer a lot more protection than a basic policy, there are still other forms of protection that give you greater peace of mind.

More: Should I buy more than the minimum auto insurance?

If you want coverage that helps pay for all of the bills that can pile up after an accident or breakdown, here are some of the alternative options:

Medical Payments

Medical Payments will help you cover your medical bills and other costs accrued when you need emergency treatment after a car accident.

It doesn’t matter if you’re at fault in the accident or not at fault, which means it’s a great option to carry to pay your co-payments or health insurance deductibles.

Rental Car Reimbursement

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If you need a replacement vehicle after an accident, rental car coverage provides you with a benefit to help pay for a rental car for a limited period.

Some companies reimburse you and others pay for the car immediately after you file a claim.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) pays for your collision deductible when someone with no insurance damages your car.

It also pays up to $3500 for vehicles that don’t have full coverage.

Towing and Roadside Assistance

Collision pays for towing after a loss but not after a breakdown. If you add towing and roadside assistance to your policy, you’ll have extra coverage for costs incurred after mechanical failures that aren’t caused by a car accident or a vehicle rollover.

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to have fully comprehensive insurance. You need to price the cost of coverage to see if it’s worth it for you and your family.

If you want to shop around and find low rates, you can start by using an auto insurance comparison tool. This tool will help you find the lowest rates for comprehensive coverage with reputable companies.

Start by entering your ZIP code and build a policy that you can afford.

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.

Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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 (BBB A+). 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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

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