What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?

Full coverage car insurance combines liability, comprehensive and collision insurance to provide coverage for most scenarios.
Drew Gula
By Drew Gula 
Updated
Edited by Ben Moore Reviewed by Brenda J. Cude

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Nerdy takeaways
  • Full coverage car insurance is typically a combination of comprehensive, collision and liability coverage.

  • It provides coverage for most scenarios, including damage to your car from the weather, an at-fault accident, hitting an animal or vandalism.

  • You may want or need full coverage auto insurance if you have a new car, live in a place with extreme weather conditions or have an auto loan or lease.

You may have heard the term “full coverage car insurance” while shopping for coverage. But while that sounds like a single type of insurance that covers you in every possible situation, the truth is “full coverage insurance” usually refers to a combination of separate coverage types.

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Full coverage insurance explained

Full coverage car insurance typically refers to an auto policy that combines liability insurance with comprehensive and collision insurance. This combination pays for damage to your car and also covers injuries or damage you cause to others.

Full coverage car insurance usually includes:

  • Liability insurance, which pays for other people’s medical bills and property damage from an accident you cause.

  • Collision insurance, which pays for damage to your own vehicle after an accident.

  • Comprehensive insurance, which pays for damage to your vehicle from circumstances outside your control, like natural disasters or theft.

Full coverage car insurance isn’t required by law. Most states require a minimal amount of liability insurance, but this only covers damage or injuries you cause to others, not your own injuries or car repairs. Full coverage offers extra financial protection after a crash beyond your state’s minimum requirements.

What full coverage car insurance covers

Full coverage insurance provides coverage for most situations, like damage to your car from a storm, an at-fault accident, hitting an animal or even vandalism. And if your car is stolen, your full coverage insurance will even pay out the current value of your car so you can afford to replace it.

Below are the coverage types you may get in a full coverage insurance policy and how they work.

Coverage type

What it pays for

Bodily injury liability

Medical costs due to injuries or deaths from an accident you caused.

Property damage liability

Repair costs for property you damaged in an accident.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability

Medical costs after an accident with an uninsured driver.

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage

Repair costs after an accident with an uninsured driver.

Collision coverage

Repair costs to your car if you crash with another vehicle or run into an object, such as a tree or a telephone pole.

Comprehensive coverage

Repair costs from events outside your control — including weather, hitting an animal while driving, theft and vandalism.

To learn more about these and other types of car insurance coverage, use our tool below.

You can think about full coverage car insurance like a knight’s suit of armor. You start with your state’s mandated car insurance requirements, just like a knight starts with a breastplate. But sometimes that minimum amount of protection isn’t enough. Opting into additional coverage types will give you financial protection in even more situations, just like how a knight with more armor pieces will have other parts of their body protected.

But full coverage auto insurance doesn’t cover everything, and it may or may not include all the types of insurance listed above. If you want extras like new-car replacement insurance, emergency roadside assistance or custom parts and equipment coverage, you may need to add them separately.

Cost of full coverage car insurance

The national average for full coverage auto insurance is $1,982 per year, or about $165 a month, for a 35-year-old good driver with good credit, according to NerdWallet’s March 2024 analysis. Full coverage is typically more than three times the price of minimum-required liability insurance, which is why it pays to shop around and compare quotes from multiple companies to find the cheapest rate.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premium by company

Below is the average cost of full coverage auto insurance for a 35-year-old good driver with good credit from the country’s largest insurers.

Company NameMedian rate
Allstate$2,665
American Family$1,791
Farmers$3,106
Geico$1,846
Nationwide$2,279
Progressive$2,112
State Farm$1,976
Travelers$1,681
USAA*$1,432

*USAA is only available to military, veterans and their families.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premium by age

Your age is a big factor in your full coverage insurance cost. Below is the average cost of full coverage auto insurance by age for drivers with good credit and a clean driving record.

AgeMedian rate
20$4,110
30$2,039
35$1,982
40$1,928
50$1,794
60$1,713
70$1,852

Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our writing and data analyses. You can trust the prices we show you because our data analysts take rigorous measures to eliminate outliers and inaccuracies in pricing data, which include rates from every ZIP code in the country where coverage is offered and data is available. When comparing rates for different coverage amounts, ages and backgrounds, we change only one variable at a time, so you can easily see how each factor affects pricing. Read our methodology.

Who needs full coverage car insurance?

Full coverage insurance may be a good match if you:

  • Drive a new or expensive car.

  • Have an auto loan or lease.

  • Regularly commute in heavy traffic.

  • Live in a place with extreme weather, high car theft rates or a high risk of animal collisions.

  • Can’t afford to repair or replace your car if it’s wrecked or stolen.

But full coverage may not make sense if you drive an older vehicle. Comprehensive and collision insurance will only reimburse you up to the value of your car at the time it’s damaged or stolen. And these types of coverage usually come with an insurance deductible, which is an amount you’re expected to pay out of pocket toward repair or replacement costs.

If your deductible is more than the value of your car, you may want to skip these coverage types. For example, let's say you have a car worth $1,500. You opted into comprehensive and collision insurance, which costs $600 per year with a $1,000 deductible.

If you get into a car accident and total your car, the most you’ll get from your insurer is a $500 check, which is your car's value minus your deductible. In this case, you're left with $500, which is $100 less than what you paid for the coverage.

Although full coverage car insurance doesn't make sense here, you'll still need to buy minimum coverage to legally drive.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Not sure if you need full coverage auto insurance? Checking your car’s current value can help you decide whether full coverage insurance makes sense.

How to save on full coverage car insurance

Shop around. It’s important to shop around if you want to find cheap auto insurance. Compare rates with at least three companies to find the cheapest rate for you.

Look for discounts. There are car insurance discounts for everything from getting good grades to owning a new car. Call your agent to confirm what’s offered to maximize your savings.

Consider increasing your deductible. One way to lower your car insurance bill is by raising the deductible, which is what you’re on the hook for before insurance pays out. Doing this will lower the overall cost of your policy, although savings vary by company.

Avoid traffic infractions. Speeding tickets, accidents and DUIs can increase your car insurance rates drastically, even after one incident. These infractions can stay on your record for three to five years, so make sure to drive cautiously if you want the cheapest rates.

Work on your credit. Although it isn’t always easy to build your credit, it can impact your auto insurance bill. Our analysis of the average cost of car insurance found having poor credit can increase your rates more than a recent DUI for some drivers. There are exceptions to this, however: California, Hawaii and Massachusetts don't allow insurers to use credit when determining car insurance rates.

Frequently asked questions

Despite the name, full coverage insurance doesn’t include everything. Depending on your state minimums, some available coverage types that aren’t considered part of “full coverage” could include:

If you have a loan or a lease on your car, you’re usually required to have full coverage insurance. If you own your vehicle outright, you’ll need only your state’s minimum insurance requirements to drive legally.

If you have a loan or a lease on your car, you’re usually required to have full coverage insurance. If you own your vehicle outright, you’ll need only your state’s minimum insurance requirements to drive legally.

Policies with full coverage pay out if your car is damaged, while minimum insurance typically only covers damage to another car or person. If you don’t want to be stuck paying for repairs to your car — or wouldn’t be able to afford paying for them — you may benefit from this extra coverage.

Methodology

NerdWallet averaged rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. We examined rates for men and women for all ZIP codes in all of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our rates analysis due to a lack of publicly available information.

In our analysis, “good drivers” had no moving violations on record; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. Our “good” and “poor” credit rates are based on credit score approximations and do not account for proprietary scoring criteria used by insurance providers.

These are median rates, and your rate will vary based on your personal details, state and insurance provider.

Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.

  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.

  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.

  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.

  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.

  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.

  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect only the minimum coverage required by law in the state.

  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit. In states where credit isn’t taken into account, we only used rates for “good credit.”

  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.

  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken-driving violation.

  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.

We used a 2021 Toyota Camry LE in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven. We analyzed rates for drivers of the following ages: 20, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60 and 70.

These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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