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What are the different types of car insurance coverage?

Car insurance coverage can be divided into two primary categories: liability and physical damage protection. Liability coverage protects other drivers and their property from damage you cause. Physical damage coverage, i.e., collision and comprehensive, protect the physical integrity of your vehicle. 


Liability insurance

Generally, all drivers are required to carry bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. Depending on your state, your liability requirements will change. The following table shows the liability limits for the state of Texas.

30 / 60 / 25
$30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per incident $25,000 in property damage per incident

How each coverage works

  • $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person is the total dollar amount that will be paid for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
  • $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident is the maximum dollar amount that will be paid for all injuries that you cause in an accident in which more than one person is hurt.
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident is the total dollar amount that will be paid for damage that you cause in an accident.

If you live in a no-fault insurance state, you’re also required to carry personal injury protection (PIP). A no-fault state means every driver is required to cover their own bodily injury damages after an accident — regardless of fault. PIP covers personal bodily injury and medical costs after an accident.


Physical damage coverage

Your physical damage coverage — collision and comprehensive — is designed to protect your vehicle from damage.

 

Collision coverage

Your collision coverage protects your vehicle if you collide with another object or vehicle. Collision coverage comes with a deductible — what you pay prior to your insurance company compensating you. Your deductible may vary depending on your and your insurance company’s preferences.

 

Comprehensive coverage

Your comprehensive coverage works to protect your vehicle from circumstances other than a collision. Damage caused by weather, animals, theft, and vandalism is covered by comprehensive insurance. Like your collision protection, your comprehensive coverage also features a deductible.

For more information on physical damage coverage, see our additional articles below.


What does car insurance cover?

Car insurance is meant to save you from paying the full amount of money required to repair the property or cover medical expenses if you get into an accident. Depending on your individual policy and its limitations, exclusions and endorsements, exact coverages vary — but every car insurance policy has a few of the same elements that are recommended to hold.

Type of coverage What it covers
Liability insurance This coverage protects the other driver and their vehicle from damage you cause. There are two types of liability coverage under this umbrella: bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Bodily injury liability This covers medical expenses for the other driver for injuries relating to an accident you caused.
Property damage liability This covers repairs and auto body shop expenses incurred for damage you caused in the accident.
Personal injury protection (PIP) This covers medical expenses as well as lost wages, child care, and other losses incurred as a result of an accident, regardless of fault.
Medical payments (MedPay) This specifically covers you and any passengers in your vehicle for medical expenses after an accident, regardless of fault.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist This covers you in the event a motorist without insurance or without the proper limitations on insurance hits you. This includes uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage as well as property damage coverage. 
Collision insurance This refers to damage incurred by your vehicle colliding with another object. It pays for damage to your own car after such an accident
Comprehensive insurance Comprehensive coverage offers protection for damage to your vehicle caused by any other reason than collision, like damage from storms, falling objects, vandalism, or contact with an animal. Comprehensive and collision are often referred to as “full coverage” as they are both optional unless you have a leased or financed vehicle. Both coverages come with a deductible. 

Additional coverages

Liability, collision, and comprehensive are the most popular insurance coverages. They’re required by most states for drivers leasing or financing their vehicles. Other coverages exist, as well.

Below are some additional resources explaining common car insurance coverage options.

Want to know what isn't covered by insurance? Check out our guide to common car insurance exclusions. Ready to shop for insurance?  Enter your ZIP code below to receive personalized quotes in minutes.

car insurance after a wreck

Car insurance after losses

Unforeseen circumstances may or may not be covered by insurance. Below are explanations of what to expect in some of these situations:

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Does Progressive cover property damage?

Assuming that your policy was active at the time of the incident then it sounds like a fairly simple liability claim. Liability is standard coverage on most policies and is meant to cover injury that you cause to other people or property damage that you may cause in a crash.
Jun 22, 2016 Snellville, GA

Does my renters insurance coverage damage to my vehicle?

In short, no. Your renters insurance excludes damage to your vehicle because it is considered a part of your car insurance.
Jul 27, 2018 Bakersfield, CA

Should I file a claim to have a tree removed but not have the damage to the covered structure repaired?

Typically, an insurer would prefer to handle any and all damage incurred as to avoid any unnecessary future risks of property damage or bodily injury caused by the damaged structure. This is a claims-related question that would be uniquely handled by the claims department of your insurance provider.
Nov 17, 2020 Albany, NY

If I bought a car and the previous owner still has insurance on it, will I be able to insure the vehicle on my own policy?

Yes, you should insure the vehicle as soon as you take possession of it. You don't have to wait for the policy of the previous owner to cancel, nor should you.
Feb 16, 2017 Arcadia, FL

Ross Martin photo
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and has a background in copywriting and education. As a former teacher, he applies his educational skills to explain insurance concepts in ways that consumers can understand.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, AxiosInvestopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.