What is Full Coverage?

If you’re thinking of getting a new car insurance policy, you may come across the term “full coverage.” The name sounds appealing like it can cover all situations. Unfortunately, the term is a bit misleading as there’s not one “full coverage” option when shopping for car insurance. Instead, the term “full coverage” often refers to a mix of types of coverage. Read on to learn more about the term “full coverage auto insurance”  and what types of coverage are available.

What is Full Coverage Auto Insurance? | Metromile

What is “full coverage” auto insurance anyway?

“Full coverage” car insurance isn’t a single option you can get from your car insurance provider, but rather a combination of different types of coverage. There is no agreed upon definition of full coverage.

Typically, this refers to minimum liability coverage required by your state, collision coverage for damages in an accident, and comprehensive insurance for incidents such as theft, weather, and vandalism. These coverage types working in tandem typically refer to “full coverage” auto insurance. 

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.

Different car insurance coverage options on the market 

While “full coverage” car insurance isn’t something you can select as one option, you can get the different types of coverage that make up what most people consider “full coverage.” Let’s take a look at the different car insurance coverage options available. 

Liability coverage 

Liability insurance is typically the minimum required by your state andcovers any bodily injury and property damages to others if you cause an accident. Liability coverage usually consists of Bodily Injury Insurance plus Property Damage Insurance. 

Comprehensive coverage 

Comprehensive insurance coverage is for things like vandalism, theft, and other damages that aren’t the result of a collision. So if you get into a freak situation with a stray animal or are stuck in a surprise hailstorm, comprehensive coverage will come to the rescue. 

Collision coverage 

Collision insurance is a type of coverage that pays for damages that affect your vehicle in an accident. This type of coverage can cover costs regardless of who is ultimately found at fault and can even help if you’re involved in a one-car accident, such as backing up into a pole (oops). 

Medical payments 

In the event of an accident, there could be more than just property damage and there may be injuries as well. Medical payment coverage, sometimes referred to as MedPay, can help offset medical costs that are the result of an accident for the driver and passengers, regardless of who is at fault. 


PIP insurance, also referred to as Personal Injury Protection, can cover medical expenses and other related costs in the event of an accident, regardless of who is found at fault. It can also be referred to as no-fault insurance and may be required in some states, such as New Jersey. While PIP is similar to medical payments, PIP takes it to the next level and can cover things like lost wages in the event of an accident. 

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)

One in eight drivers is uninsured, which can make the financials of getting into an accident a bit stressful. That’s why opting for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help. This type of coverage helps cover costs in the event that the driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance coverage or has no insurance. 

Rental car insurance coverage 

Rental car insurance coverage can mean one of two things. First, it can mean the type of car insurance that the rental car agency offers you to protect you in the event of damage or an accident while renting the vehicle. It’s important to note though that your personal car insurance may extend to rentals or certain credit cards may offer this as a benefit. 

Rental car insurance can also mean rental reimbursement coverage that helps pay for a rental car if you’re in an accident covered by your policy and your vehicle is not usable. 

Roadside assistance 

Roadside assistance coverage helps drivers in a bind get the help they need. For example, if you get into a sticky situation while driving such as running out of gas or your car dies, you can use your roadside assistance coverage to get support in your time of need. 

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 you 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

Answering these questions can help inform what type of car insurance coverage you need. Though “full coverage” auto insurance isn’t a single plan, you can mix and match your coverage options to make sure you’re protected. 

The bottom line 

If you’re researching car insurance options you might wonder what is full coverage insurance? It’s a common question and the answer may vary. Typically though full coverage car insurance refers to liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage so you have all major facets covered including injury and property damage for yourself and others, as well as if there is any physical damage to your own vehicle or damage that is not accident-related. 

If you want affordable car insurance and pay for only the miles you drive, you can reimagine your car insurance options and get pay-per-mile coverage with Metromile. You pay for gas by the gallon, why wouldn’t you pay for insurance based on the miles you drive? Using Metromile, you can. Get a free quote.