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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

 

Below is a breakdown of 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 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.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

How do I know what coverage I have on my policy?

It's important to note that there is no such thing as "full coverage" when it comes to auto insurance. People who use that term are normally referring to a policy that includes comprehensive and collision coverage, but being specific can help you avoid confusion.
Mar 27, 2017 Corvallis, OR

In Connecticut, which line item or part of my insurance covers my passengers if I am at fault?

Although Connecticut is no longer a No-Fault state, drivers still have the option to purchase medical payments coverage to pay for injuries they or their passengers suffer in an accident. This coverage would apply on a per person basis regardless of fault in the accident.
Sep 8, 2017 Storrs, CT

Do we need to buy coverage from the rental car company or will our insurance policy cover us?

It is more than likely that your insurance policy will extend to a vehicle that you rent based on the coverage you currently carry. However, you should check the fine print on your policy or call your company to be absolutely sure.
Jun 21, 2016 Tampa, FL

Can I reduce my car insurance coverage after I retire?

Although you are retired, you are still required to carry the state's minimum insurance limits - which include PIP coverage. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, your occupation status unfortunately does not matter here.
Mar 15, 2018 Detroit, Michigan

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Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross researches and writes insurance content intended to help users make informed decisions.

Ross's background is in writing and education. He holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, Investopedia, 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.