What is Full Coverage?

When it comes to insurance it seems like everyone is searching for the holy grail of “Full Coverage.” But what does that even mean…and does it even exist?

Spoiler alert: There’s actually no such thing as “Full Coverage” in the sense that no plan you choose will cover every possible scenario under the sun. The phrase “Full Coverage” typically refers to a combination of coverages meant to protect you and your vehicle. But the magical plan many people refer to as “Full Coverage” is really just a myth.

What-is-Full-Coverage

Let’s break down the facts so you can truly understand what your auto insurance policy covers-and what it doesn’t.

What is “Full Coverage” anyway?

There’s no single plan you can request that will provide “Full Coverage.” If you talk to your insurer about getting full coverage, you’re likely discussing a combination that includes the following:

  • Liability or no-fault insurance that’s required by your state. This covers any bodily injury and property damages to others if you cause an accident.
  • Collision coverage that pays for damages that affect your vehicle in an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage for things like vandalism, theft, and other damages that aren’t the result of an accident.

Even with those three standard components, however, the details and amount of protection you actually get from a “Full Coverage” combo will vary depending on your insurance carrier, so it’s always important to read the fine print of your policy.

What “Full Coverage” Doesn’t Cover

But before you feel secure thinking “Full Coverage” has you covered from every angle, consider the many important things this combination of coverage doesn’t cover:

  1. Medical payments: You’ll need an additional type of coverage in order to pay for any post-accident medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who was at fault for the incident. This type of coverage may also help pay for any expenses that exceed your health insurance limits.
  2. Uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM): If you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, UM/UIM coverage is the only way to receive payments that they’re responsible for but can’t deliver because of their coverage status.
  3. Emergency road services: Otherwise known as roadside assistance or towing and labor, emergency road service coverage helps pay for unpredictable emergencies like flat tire changes or a battery jump-start.
  4. Customized parts and equipment: If you’re hoping to deck your car out with the latest technology or special add-ons, you’ll want customized parts and equipment coverage to help cover the costs.
  5. Rental cars: If you need to rely on a replacement vehicle in the event of an accident, rental car insurance is the only way to get that cost covered.

Determining Which Coverage is Right for You

If all this info is overwhelming, consider this: there’s no one-size-fits-all comprehensive combination of plans. Your specific needs as a driver are unique and the type of coverage you choose will depend on a lot of personal factors. When deciding on the right coverage, think about these key pieces of info and then can make an informed decision from there:

  • What type of car you have and how new it is
  • The quality and limits of your health insurance
  • Where your car is garaged
  • Your budget
  • Your driving behavior

Remember, there’s no such thing as “Full Coverage” and the best way to understand and know what your insurance policy will cover is to carefully read the fine print. Have specific questions about your Metromile policy? Our team of licensed insurance specialists is standing by, happy to help. Just give us a call at (888) 244-1702. If you aren’t a Metromile customer and want to see your savings, get a quick quote now.


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.