Coverage 101: Explaining Your Coverage Options

So you’ve decided to make the switch to Metromile — congrats! Not only will you save major cash with pay-per-mile insurance, but you’ll have access to four different levels of liability protection, plus choices for your comprehensive and collision deductibles. But if insurance lingo has you confused, don’t sweat it: Understanding your options is easier than you think.

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Here’s a breakdown of the various types of car insurance coverage available so you can choose what’s right for you:

  • Bodily Injury (BI): Most states require BI coverage to cover costs related to injuries or deaths to other people in the event of an accident that’s your fault. This type of coverage pays for things like medical treatment, rehabilitation, and funeral costs, as well as costs related to mental or emotional distress that results from bodily injury. It may also pay for lawyer’s fees if you’re sued for an accident. Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to have a predetermined minimum amount of BI coverage.
  • Property Damage Liability (PD): If you’re in an accident that damages someone else’s property, PD liability will cover the costs. This type of coverage will pay for any type of tangible property, whether it’s another driver’s vehicle, or something like a building, utility pole, fence, garage door, etc. Some states will require you to have a predetermined minimum amount of this coverage too.
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): If you’re in an accident in which the other driver is at-fault and uninsured, UMBI coverage will pay for any necessary medical, rehabilitation, lost wages, pain-and-suffering, and funeral costs for you and/or your passengers. Remember that UMBI will only pay up to the coverage limit, and your state may or may not require you to have a set minimum amount.
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI): This one is very similar to UMBI, but it pays up to the limit for expenses in the event that the other driver is at-fault for the accident but can’t cover your costs because of their own plan’s insufficient liability limits.
  • Medical Payments: If you’re in an accident, Medical Payments could pay the medical deductibles and copayments that aren’t covered by your health insurer, or the insurer of any of your passengers. This type of coverage is optional and, depending on your state, may be possible to combine with a health insurance policy.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): In general, PIP covers your medical costs regardless of who’s at fault for the accident. The benefits vary by state, with some states offering coverage for things like lost wages, child care, and/or funeral costs.
  • Comprehensive: This type of optional coverage comes in handy if your car is stolen or damaged in ways that don’t involve a collision (think hail damage, glass breakage, fire, vandalism, damage from an animal, flood, earthquakes, falling objects, and theft). It’s up to you to choose a deductible amount — that’s the out-of-pocket cost you agree to pay before coverage is afforded.
  • Collision: This is another type of optional coverage that covers you if your car collides with another object (like a car, a brick wall, a tree, etc). This coverage protects your car only and not the other party’s damage. Again, the deductible amount you choose is the out-of-pocket expense you have to pay before coverage kicks in.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver: This type of coverage isn’t available in every state, but if you have it, your collision deductible will be waived in case you’re in accident with an at-fault driver who’s uninsured. You’ll need the license plate number or name of the person that caused the damage and you’ll have to report the claim quickly.
  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): If you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, this type of coverage will pay for the damage to your vehicle. UMPD coverage isn’t available in every state, and some states require you to choose between UMPD and Collision coverage.

Ready to choose the type of coverage that fits your needs? Need some more info? Just visit Metromile today to get a free personalized quote.


Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.