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: Feb 3, 2020

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Basic auto insurance policies consist of liability only, which protects you in the event you cause injury or damage to others. However, when two other types of coverage are added, the policy is considered “full coverage.”

Collision, which pays for damages you cause to your vehicle, and comprehensive, which covers your vehicle for non-accident related damage, such as fire or theft, are the usual additions to a liability policy.

However, there are several types of supplemental coverage that you can also purchase for your car to insure you against other types of situation or loss.

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If you have comprehensive and collision, these policies will generally cover you on a rental car. However, if you do not have these coverages, you may be asked to purchase coverage when you rent a car to protect you from liability if you are involved in an accident with the rented vehicle.

If you only rent once in a while, this is not very expensive; in fact, depending on how long you rent the car, it can be quite cheap. However, if you regularly rent cars, the cost can mount up, and it may make more sense to take out your own non-owner auto insurance policy.

Non-owner policies can be especially helpful for someone who does not own a personal vehicle, but who often travels for business or pleasure and rents cars at other locations. Your non-owner policy will cover you for any rental car you drive, providing liability and personal injury protection.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

While many people have “uninsured motorists” on the declaration page of their insurance policies, they may not be aware of exactly what this covers. Often, “uninsured motorist” means that a minimum will be paid by your insurance company to fix your vehicle, but it may not cover all of your expenses.

For this reason, a special “uninsured motorist bodily injury” supplemental policy was developed to provide extra coverage in case an uninsured motorist hits you and you have medical bills as a result of the accident. “Uninsured motorist property damage” is the section of your policy that covers your vehicle and any other property damaged by an uninsured driver.

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Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Another type of coverage to protect you from other drivers is called “underinsured motorists.” This coverage exists because many people drive with only the minimum of insurance coverage, and this is often not enough to pay for all the damages to your vehicle or to you or your passengers.

This coverage closes the gap between what the other driver’s insurance will pay and what your actual costs are.

Pet Injury Protection

Some states allow companies to add pet injury protection as a part of your collision coverage. While there is usually not a separate premium assessed for this benefit, it will reimburse you for injuries sustained by a dog or cat riding in your car in the event of an accident.

Most pet injury provisions have a deductible, just like your collision insurance, but the two may be combined. Check with your insurance policy to see if this coverage is available for you.

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Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection, or PIP, is required in some states, but in most states, it is considered supplemental. PIP provides you with payments no matter whose fault the accident was.

PIP covers any hospital, medical, or other injury-related bills, including child care and rehabilitative services.

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GAP Insurance

Gap coverage is very important if you have a vehicle that is financed, especially if you are “upside-down,” or owe more on the vehicle than the book value. Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP insurance) makes up the difference between the book value of your car and the amount you owe, or what it will cost to replace your car.

Many people have been unpleasantly surprised to discover that they owe a great deal more than their insurance is willing to pay for a totaled car; gap coverage prevents this from happening.

Rental and Towing Coverage

Rental and towing insurance are generally inexpensive options you can also add to your policy. If you are in an accident, your car can be towed and you can be provided with a rental vehicle during the time it takes for your vehicle to be repaired.

However, many people do not realize they already have this coverage through another source, such as AAA, which covers family members of AAA members, or through your cell phone plan.

Buying supplemental auto insurance can have many benefits but you do want to check your other forms of insurance and make sure you are not buying coverage you already have.

If you are not already covered, adding this supplemental coverage to your policy is usually only a few dollars per renewal period, but can save you hundreds if you ever need them.

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Related Links:

  1. What is Non-Owners Auto Insurance?
  2. What is GAP auto insurance?