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What’s Full Coverage Auto Insurance All About?

 When it comes to insurance, sometimes, the industry jargon can leave you searching for a reference manual. Just when you think you understand policy basics, you hear a new term or phrase that makes you scratch your head again. One of those terms that can cause confusion is full coverage auto insurance. If you read that and asked yourself, “What the heck does that even mean?” you’re not alone. Read on as we try to dispel some of the confusion.

Full coverage” is a term often used to refer to the combination of three different coverage elements: collision insurance, comprehensive insurance and liability coverage. In reality, there’s actually no such thing as “full coverage” auto insurance.

When you buy car insurance in San Antonio Texas, the most important thing is to purchase coverage that meets your needs rather than accepting a package the insurance agent deems “full coverage.” When it’s designed correctly, your auto insurance policy will protect you against a variety of perils that could cause losses. It pays to be thorough and to make sure you’re covering all of your bases.

Here are the most common coverage elements you should consider and discuss with your insurance professional at VOS Insurance Agency:

Liability Insurance

This type of coverage is the most basic of all, and it’s automatically included in every insurance policy. If you’re at fault for an accident that caused property damage or injuries, liability insurance protects you from having to pay the entire cost out-of-pocket.

Liability coverage in auto insurance policies includes three different coverage limits:

  1. How much money the policy will pay for other people’s bodily injuries, per person;
  2. The total amount the policy will pay out for bodily injury coverage per accident; and
  3. The maximum payable for property damage, per accident.

What the State of TX Has to Say About Liability Coverage


Now, as you probably already know, when you buy auto insurance in Texas, state laws mandate a minimum level of liability insurance coverage. As of the date of this writing, the current minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total amount of no less than $60,000 per accident. The current minimum liability coverage for property damage is $25,000 per accident.

While you may be tempted to just buy the minimum required amount of coverage, at Vos Insurance Agency, we strongly recommend clients buy policies with greater liability limits. Your policy premiums may be a little bit higher, but the protection it gives you in the event of an accident can be well worth the extra cost.

Comprehensive Coverage

Sometimes, people assume car insurance is only designed to pay claims after an accident has occurred. However, if your auto insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, you’re protected against certain losses even if the damage wasn’t caused by a car accident.

Some of the things that are typically covered under comprehensive coverage include damage caused by storms and natural disasters, such as hailstorms, hurricanes or tornadoes. Comprehensive coverage is also designed to cover damage from vandalism, theft, falling objects, animal damage and damage to auto glass.

For example, if you’re driving down the road during a thunderstorm and a tree branch falls on the hood of your car, you could have significant damage to your vehicle. Fortunately, if you chose comprehensive coverage, you would be responsible for paying your policy deductible, but your insurance policy would kick in to cover the remaining cost of repairing your car.

Collision Coverage

Now it’s time to talk about physical damage to your car resulting from a car accident. If you were at fault in an accident and your vehicle sustained damage, your collision coverage is designed to pay for the repairs. You’ll have to pay your policy deductible, but any repairs over that amount would be covered, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Whereas liability insurance coverage pays for damage to a third party involved in an accident, your collision coverage pays for physical damage to your vehicle.

Collision and comprehensive coverage are optional for auto insurance policies. However, if you are leasing your vehicle or have an outstanding loan balance, your finance company or lender will require you to have specified minimum amounts of both collision and comprehensive coverage.

Yes, this can be a pain for you as a consumer. However, those requirements are really there to protect you. If your car sustains damage during a crash, your collision coverage should pay to repair the damages. You’ll only be responsible for the deductible amount.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Your liability insurance covers damage you cause to other vehicles when you’re at fault. So, if another driver causes an accident, resulting in damage to your car, it stands to reason that the other driver’s liability insurance policy should cover the damage, right?

Right. But, what if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance? If you have collision coverage on your policy, your policy will probably pay for you to repair the damage. However, if you opted not to purchase collision coverage, you could find yourself in the very unwelcome position of having to pay out-of-pocket for someone else’s negligence.

Uninsured motorist coverage is designed for exactly that type of situation. While this type of insurance is optional, you’ll have to sign a state-mandated rejection form to waive coverage in Texas.

OK, so let’s say the other driver, the one who caused the accident, did have liability insurance. Whew. You’re covered now even if they’re at fault, right? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, minimum coverage amounts are often insufficient when accidents occur. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to help fill the gap left if the other driver’s insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the property damage or expenses associated with medical care stemming from the accident.

At Vos Insurance Agency, we recommend that clients buy uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Doing so can give you peace of mind when you’re behind the wheel, knowing you’re covered regardless of other drivers’ insurance status.

Personal Injury Protection Coverage

Personal injury protection is designed to cover medical expenses that occur because of a covered loss. In some cases, personal injury protection can help you pay for other expenses. Covered expenses may include loss of income, loss of essential services such as lawn service, meal preparation, etc., and even funeral expenses.

Personal injury protection is “no-fault” coverage, meaning it will cover your accident-related medical expenses regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Coverage limits for personal injury protection are expressed with a “per person” maximum. 

” Full coverage auto insurance ” isn’t always what you think, as we have really pointed out to throughout this article. However if you want a policy designed to provide as much coverage as possible, consider adding personal injury protection with a higher coverage limit to your policy. 

Medical Payments Coverage

Another optional type of insurance coverage is medical payments coverage. This type of insurance is a more affordable choice if you only want medical coverage instead of personal injury protection, because it doesn’t include coverage for the “extras” such as loss of income and extra expenses. This type of insurance is not always part of ” full coverage auto insurance ” either. In addition to covering medical expenses related to the accident, medical payments coverage typically also covers funeral expenses.

If you’re considering adding this coverage to your policy, talk to your insurance professional about recommended coverage limits.

Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage

If you were in an accident and your vehicle wasn’t drivable or needed significant repairs, how would you get to/from school or work? The reality is that your daily obligations won’t stop just because your car was in the shop.

Many people assume that their auto insurance policies would cover the cost of renting a car after an accident. After all, most people still have places they need to be while their damaged vehicles are repaired or replaced. Here’s the cold, hard truth: Rental car reimbursement is not automatically included in most auto insurance policies.

This means that if you were in an accident and have to rent a car while your own vehicle was in the shop, you’d have to pay out-of-pocket for the cost of the rental. Rental reimbursement coverage is optional, but it’s well worth a few dollars a month in premiums if you do find yourself in that unfortunate situation.

Accessories Coverage

If you’ve installed a high-end sound system or other valuable and potentially removable accessories or additions in your car, you may want to consider optional coverage designed specifically for sound systems and accessories.

Many clients assume that their car stereos or other accessories are automatically covered under their auto insurance policies – they’re not.

 

When you buy accessories coverage, you’re covering the accessories in your vehicle at that time. So, any time you add new equipment or replace accessories, remember to notify your insurance professional so you have the coverage you need.

Roadside Assistance

Picture this: Your previously reliable car finally lets you down, stranding you by the side of the road on your way to work. Suddenly, you find yourself in need of a tow to a service station.

Full coverage auto insurance doesn’t alway automatic add roadside side assistants; If you purchased optional roadside assistance coverage for your auto insurance policy, the cost of the towing and labor would likely be covered.

In addition to towing expenses, roadside assistance coverage can help with flat tire changes, jumping batteries, fluid delivery, gasoline delivery and even locksmith services.

This can be a valuable addition, especially if you don’t relish the idea of having to pay those types of expenses out-of-pocket.

Loan/Lease Payoff Coverage

If you have an outstanding loan balance on your vehicle, or if you’re leasing your vehicle, adding loan/lease payoff coverage can protect you from having to pay out-of-pocket if you total your car but still owe more than it’s worth.

This type of coverage is sometimes known as “gap” coverage, because it protects you for the gap between what the car is worth when it’s totaled and what you still owe on the loan or lease. Some leases include this coverage already, so you should check with your lease company to find out whether it’s included in your lease agreement. If not, it may make sense for you to purchase your own coverage through your auto insurance policy. This is something ready available at your request, but yet again like most of the coverages we have discussed today this may not be included in the ” full coverage auto insurance ” as one would think. This why we can make sure, that VOS insurance can suit your insurance needs, like a tailor fits a suit for a groom.  

Conclusion

Whatever your auto insurance needs are in San Antonio, Texas, the knowledgeable insurance professionals at Vos Insurance are here to help. If your goal is to pay as little out-of-pocket as possible when a claim occurs, we’ll talk with you about lowering the amount of your policy deductible. When a covered peril occurs, you’ll only have to pay the amount of your policy’s deductible to repair or replace your car. Of course, the trade-off for a lower deductible is higher insurance premiums, but lower deductibles can provide enormous peace of mind by limiting your out-of-pocket costs. We won’t just place you in a ” full coverage auto insurance ” that is not really covering your needs. 

Keep in mind that not all policies or coverages are created equally, so it’s important to take the time to understand your policy. At Vos Insurance Agency, before you buy a proposed auto insurance policy, we’ll have a thorough conversation with you. We’ll explore what your policy will cover, and we’ll discuss whether that      ” full coverage auto insurance ” will actually meet your needs.

To learn more and to get quotes on an automobile insurance policy that will meet your needs, contact us online today.