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Finding Cheap Full Coverage Car Insurance

Full coverage auto insurance can pay out for theft, natural disasters and more, but it costs more than twice as much as minimum coverage, so it’s best to price shop.
May 23, 2019
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Full coverage car insurance isn’t a specific type of policy, but rather a combination of coverage. It typically includes collision and comprehensive insurance, which pay out if your car is damaged, in addition to liability insurance, which pays for injuries and damage you cause to others. Full coverage auto insurance is pricier than liability coverage alone, so it’s best to shop around for the cheapest rates.

Full coverage insurance rates from the biggest companies

Full coverage is available from any major auto insurance company. Below are average prices from the seven largest insurers.

Average rate for full coverage
*USAA is only available to active military, veterans and their families.
State Farm
Liberty Mutual

» MORE: Read NerdWallet’s 2019 auto insurer reviews

These prices are for a policy with liability, collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage, and other state-required coverage where needed. The sample driver is 40 years old, has no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier.

What does full coverage car insurance actually cover?

Many states mandate that drivers buy only a small amount of auto liability insurance. If you cause a crash, liability coverage helps pay for the treatment of other people’s injuries and repairs to their property. But it won’t cover your injuries or car repairs — only damage or injuries you cause others. Collision and comprehensive insurance fill these gaps:

  • Collision coverage pays for repairs to your car if you cause a crash with another vehicle or run into an object, such as a tree or a telephone pole.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your car if it’s stolen or damaged by a covered cause, such as an animal collision, extreme weather, theft, a falling object, fire or vandalism.

Comprehensive and collision coverage work differently than liability insurance, too:

  • Both reimburse you only up to the value of your car at the time it’s damaged or stolen. Liability coverage pays out up to specified limits, which are typically much higher.
  • Each typically comes with a deductible, which is the amount your insurer will subtract from a claim payment for you to pay out of pocket. Typical amounts are $500 and $1,000, with higher deductibles translating to lower premiums.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are also sometimes considered part of full coverage insurance because they’re required in 19 states and the District of Columbia. They pay out if another driver hits you but doesn’t have enough (or any) insurance to cover the medical costs. You can also purchase uninsured motorist coverage for property damage, which is required in seven states and D.C.

How much does full coverage insurance cost?

Having full coverage gives you much better protection than the mandated minimums — especially for wrecks that aren’t your fault — but it also means higher rates.

To get an idea of how much higher, NerdWallet looked at rates for minimum and full coverage auto policies across the country, both by company and by state.

» MORE: Average Car Insurance Costs in 2019

Minimum vs. full coverage average annual rates by company

Among the largest companies, we found that full coverage auto insurance costs two to three times as much as minimum coverage, on average.

CompanyFull coverageMinimum coverageAnnual difference
USAA is only available to military members, veterans and their families.
State Farm$1,337$578$758
Liberty Mutual$2,752$1,102$1,650

Minimum vs. full coverage average annual rates by state

Prices vary even more by state, and are also affected by personal factors such as your credit and accident history. Compare average rates below for minimum and full coverage car insurance by state.

StateFull coverageMinimum coverageAnnual difference
District of Columbia$1,698$795$903
New Hampshire$1,125$474$650
New Jersey$2,173$1,279$894
New Mexico$1,570$554$1,016
New York$2,647$1,448$1,199
North Carolina$978$398$580
North Dakota$1,241$405$836
Rhode Island$2,159$925$1,234
South Carolina$1,322$572$750
South Dakota$1,155$326$829
West Virginia$1,490$603$887

The rate increases are steep in some cases, but just one comprehensive or collision claim can make the cost worth it. Replacing a stolen car or repairing your vehicle after a crash could mean paying thousands of dollars out of your own pocket if you don’t have the right insurance.

These average rates can help you know what to expect, but to get the cheapest full coverage insurance possible, you’ll want to shop around.

Full coverage insurance rates in your state

Click on your state in the table below to see which companies offer the cheapest full coverage car insurance there for several types of drivers.

» MORE: Compare car insurance companies

Liability-only vs. full coverage insurance quotes

When you’re getting car insurance quotes, you’ll need to decide whether it makes more sense to get full coverage or a liability-only policy. If you have an auto loan, your lender might require you to buy collision and comprehensive coverage. Aside from that, they’re optional, although some insurers don’t let you purchase one without the other.

Buying comprehensive and collision coverage is a particularly sound investment if:

  • You have a new or expensive car.
  • You regularly commute in heavy traffic.
  • You live in a place with extreme weather, high car theft rates or a high risk of animal collisions.

However, the older your vehicle and the lower its value, the less benefit there is to having full coverage car insurance. Imagine it costs you $600 per year to add comprehensive and collision and you have a $1,000 deductible. If your car is worth only $2,000, a claim check would be $1,000 at most — only $400 more than you paid for the coverage. Checking your car’s current value here can help you decide whether full coverage makes sense.

Even with full coverage, there are other policy options you might need. For example, uninsured motorist coverage, towing and labor service, and medical payments insurance all provide coverage that collision and comprehensive won’t. If you’re on the fence, play with the coverage options you see online when shopping for car insurance quotes — many tools can adjust the quote in real time.

How to compare quotes for full coverage insurance

When you’re shopping for car insurance from different carriers, it’s important to make sure the quotes you’re seeing are for the same coverage. Otherwise, you might think you got a good price, only to find that your coverage is lacking when it’s time to file a claim.

When comparing quotes for full coverage car insurance, be sure to:

  • Check that collision and comprehensive deductibles are the same across quotes. This way, you’re comparing prices for the same coverage. And when choosing your deductible, keep in mind that if it’s too high, you could be financially strapped after a wreck and unable to pay for the damage repairs.
  • Make sure liability limits match, too. Even if you’re not getting full coverage, always check that liability limits are the same when comparing car insurance quotes. Lower limits translate to lower premiums, but in the worst-case scenario, someone could sue you for damage and injury costs after a wreck you cause if your liability limits aren’t high enough to pay.
  • Compare add-on coverage options. Additional options like gap insurance, accident forgiveness and pet injury coverage vary from one insurer to the next in terms of payout and eligibility. Be sure to check each company’s website for details and restrictions.
  • Provide the same information every time. If you’re using multiple tools to get quotes, make sure the drivers, cars, address and driving history all match.

Do you need gap insurance or new car replacement coverage — or neither? Gap insurance pays the difference between your loan balance and your car’s value if the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Some lenders require this, and most offer it in a loan contract — meaning you’d pay interest on insurance that would likely be cheaper through your auto policy. New-car replacement coverage pays for a model year newer than your current car, but not all insurers offer it. When you compare insurance quotes, you can see the price differences for each option.

NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with no incidents on record for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. Rates for minimum insurance coverage represent the limits required by law in each state.

For the full coverage category, we averaged rates from the largest insurers for 40-year-old men and women in 10 ZIP codes and with 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 a 2015 Toyota Camry in all cases. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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