Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 1, 2019

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Car insurance is all about the details of coverage and while many drivers believe they are insured for any damage or injuries the fact is many things are not covered by auto insurance.

Understanding the types of car insurance and what is and is not covered can save you a lot of frustration, money and time.

Car insurance coverage many different events but items like vehicle maintenance, personal items and many other things are not covered under auto insurance.

Auto insurance is primarily for damages and injuries resulting from car accidents or covered events (such as a tree falling on your car) but even then how much is covered and if insurance coverage even applies depends on the type of policy you have.

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What Type of Car Insurance do you have?

There are many exceptions to what is covered under car insurance and what type of auto insurance policy you have will determine whether or not your damages are covered in most cases.

This is the part that gets a little tricky since many drivers assume they have coverage for everything yet simply buy the cheapest car insurance policy.

While cheap car insurance certainly is good for the budget it can also mean you often have a lot less coverage than you may think. All states have minimum car insurance requirements yet if you purchase a policy just to comply with these laws you most likely only have liability insurance.

“Liability insurance only covers damages/injuries to other people”

Any damage to your vehicle is not covered and you better have a high enough credit card limit for the medical expenses.

While some states do also require drivers to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance and/or PIP (personal injury protection) the limits are still well below what any reasonable driver should have.

Having car insurance is one thing but always remember that any damage or injury cost above your policy limits are still your responsibility.

If you only have $10,000 in insurance and the total damage you were at-fault for is $25,000 then the injured party can sue you for the additional $15,000 in damages.

Most people opt for a full coverage auto insurance policy which includes comprehensive, collision, liability, uninsured, underinsured, property damage, personal injury protection and more.

Only a car insurance policy with diverse types of coverage can ever provide the maximum protection you need while operating a vehicle.

Auto insurance may be a single policy but only a combination of several different types of coverage is most effective.

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Are vehicle repairs always covered under a car insurance policy?

No. Vehicle damage from a car accident is covered as long the damage occurred from an insured event and the proper form of liability was attached.

For example, if you were at-fault and did not have the proper insurance place than its very possible to have no coverage for any vehicle repairs to your vehicle.

Car insurance is never a substitute for a vehicle warranty. If your brake pads need replacement or your windshield wipers break they will not be covered. Auto insurance will never pay for items damaged by normal wear and tear.

What about personal property stolen from my vehicle?

This is very common as many times a vehicle is broken in to solely for the personal goods left in clear view.

Most personal property stolen is not covered under car insurance although there may be some exceptions. Always check with your auto insurance company about how much coverage you have for personal items.

You may also want to speak with your homeowners insurance company as often they provide coverage for stolen items and filing a claim with them may just be the only way to get reimbursed for your stolen items.

Will car insurance always pay off my auto loan in a total loss accident?

No. You are never fully covered for the balance of your car loan. Car insurance companies insure the vehicle and really don’t care about how much you owe on an auto loan or lease agreement.

Their only commitment is to provide you with replacement value (book value) of the car in the event of a total loss accident with typical policy coverage.

However, you can purchase GAP insurance which will provide additional coverage for any GAP between the book value and the principal balance of your financial obligation.

For people with new cars and heavily financed vehicles, GAP insurance can be very valuable.

What about Deliberate Damage?

Car insurance fraud is huge and deliberate acts of damage are never covered. Filing a false insurance claim is illegal and can lead to very serious consequences.

If you have issues with your car or a bad day at the office its ok to kick in the side of your car but don’t even think of asking an insurance company to pay for it.

How much is full coverage car insurance?

The cost of full coverage car insurance really depends on your profile but for most drivers a well-rounded auto insurance policy runs between $1,000 – $2,000 annually.

The quickest way to find the best auto insurance rates is with a car insurance comparison search online.

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