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does “full coverage” car insurance cover it all?

what is “full coverage”?

"Full coverage" isn't a coverage in itself. It's a phrase generally used to designate a number of coverages that provide a good amount of protection: specifically liability, comprehensive, and collision coverages.

Liability helps pay for damage you cause in an at-fault accident, while comprehensive and collision can help repair damage to your car (or replace it altogether).

It's a robust package of protection, yes — but it might not provide all the protection you need. And that's why "full coverage" can be misleading.

what “full coverage” doesn’t include

Car insurance companies offer a bunch of coverage types that fall outside the domain of "full coverage," and many are worth considering.

Let's take a quick look at a handful of coverages that tend to fall outside of "full coverage":

  • Medical payments coverage — This coverage can help pay post-accident medical expenses for you and your passengers regardless of fault, and it can also step in if you exceed your health insurance limits.

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) — UM/UIM coverage helps pay for bills that the other driver's policy should have taken care of, but can't because of that driver's low coverage limits or lack of coverage altogether.

  • Emergency road service coverage (aka roadside assistance or towing and labor) — A handy coverage to have if you're not a whiz with a jack and a wrench or just need to get a wrecked car to the shop.

  • Customized parts and equipment coverage — If you're the kind of driver who likes a custom sound system and chrome rims, "full coverage" won't help you replace or repair them after an accident — but this coverage can.

  • Rental car coverage — This can reimburse your rental car expenses after a covered accident.

  • Gap coverage (aka auto loan/lease coverage) — If you've financed your car, gap coverage exists to help you pay off your auto loan if your car's totaled when you still owe more than it's worth.

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