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6 Types Of Car Insurance: What To Know (2023) – Jalopnik

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There’s a lot to sort through when shopping for car insurance to fit your needs. Many types of car insurance exist, but the six most common types of coverage you’ll encounter are:
Depending on where you live, you may not be required to carry every type of car insurance, but it’s always helpful to know what kinds of coverage are out there. Our research team has researched the best car insurance options. We’ll go through what each is and how it works.
If you cause a car accident and it results in property damage or medical bills, liability insurance covers the payments. This type of car insurance is required in 48 states–the only exceptions are New Hampshire and Virginia. Each state that requires liability insurance sets its own minimum-liability limits.
There are two main types of liability insurance:
It’s important to keep in mind that liability car insurance won’t cover your damages or injuries if you’re in an at-fault accident–only the other party’s.
Nearly every state law requires drivers to carry liability insurance to legally drive. Though Virginia and New Hampshire allow drivers to opt out of liability insurance, doing so isn’t recommended. Liability coverage helps you avoid paying for expensive repairs to someone else’s vehicle or property out of pocket.
Collision insurance covers your vehicle for any necessary repairs or replacement in the event of an accident, no matter who’s at fault. It also covers damage caused by a hit-and-run or a collision with a tree, fence, or guardrail. Damages from road hazards like potholes are also taken care of. Unlike liability insurance, collision insurance applies to your vehicle only.
However, collision insurance won’t cover damage or injuries from non-crash incidents. Collision coverage won’t protect you or your vehicle for these situations:
While no state requires that drivers have collision coverage, we recommend it for those who can afford it. Repair costs can be steep, and collision insurance makes them much easier to afford, even if you’re at fault.
You can purchase collision insurance as part of a full-coverage policy, and most providers offer it as a coverage add-on. Insurers use the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle minus your deductible to determine your maximum amount of collision coverage.
While collision insurance covers your car if you get into an accident, comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle while it’s parked. It also fills in some of the gaps left by collision insurance, including covering damages from hitting an animal. There are a few exclusions from comprehensive coverage, including medical bills and car repairs after an accident.
Generally, comprehensive insurance covers theft and vandalism to your car, as well as damages from:
Like with collision insurance, insurers use the ACV of your vehicle minus your deductible to determine the maximum amount of comprehensive coverage available to you.
Comprehensive insurance is optional in every state. However, most lenders require full coverage on a financed vehicle. Many leasing agents also require you to add comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy.
Even if your lender doesn’t require it, we recommend comprehensive coverage for those who can afford it. The cost of certain repairslike windshield replacement–can be high, but may be covered under a comprehensive policy.
If you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t hold car insurance, uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance covers medical bills and repairs to your car. A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that in 2019, almost 13 percent of drivers in the U.S. didn’t have car insurance. Driving without coverage is illegal in most states.
There are two main types of uninsured motorist coverage: uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
Drivers in 20 states and Washington, D.C., are required to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Twelve states require drivers to hold underinsured motorist insurance. The table belows gives a breakdown of the UM coverage required in each of these states:
If you live in one of the states listed in the table above, you’re required to carry uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally. If you don’t live in a state that mandates UM or UIM, you may want to consider it anyway, especially if you’re unable to afford costly repairs from a car accident involving an uninsured driver.
Medical payments coverage (or MedPay for short), covers certain medical costs, health insurance deductibles, and even funeral expenses in the event of a fatal car accident. MedPay covers you and your passengers regardless of who caused the collision.
MedPay is optional coverage in all but three states. Below are the states and their coverage limits:
It’s worth thinking about adding MedPay to your car insurance policy, as it can help cover significant medical expenses. You should be aware that MedPay and PIP can’t be purchased on the same policy.
Personal injury protection coverage (PIP), sometimes referred to as “no-fault insurance,” covers certain medical bills, child care costs, lost wages, and funeral expenses after an accident. PIP is specifically for injuries and costs associated with car accidents, covering gaps sometimes left by health insurance.
No-fault states require this type of coverage, though Pennsylvania drivers must choose between PIP and MedPay. Delaware and Oregon are at-fault states that require PIP coverage. Below is a table of each state’s minimum PIP requirements:
If you live in any of the 14 states above, you’re required to carry PIP to drive. If you live in a state where PIP isn’t required, it’s worth looking into. PIP is similar to MedPay but has more extensive coverage. PIP isn’t available everywhere, however, so MedPay may be your only option.
Aside from the six main types of auto insurance coverage, you’re likely to see insurers offer some of the following coverages:
When shopping for car coverage, the best way to find the cheapest car insurance is to compare car insurance quotes from several providers. Our team looked at the top insurance providers and determined that Geico and State Farm are among the best.

Geico is the second-largest insurer in the U.S., and for good reason. In addition to having some of the lowest rates on the market, Geico offers high policy limits and many discount opportunities. The company’s A++ financial strength rating from AM Best signifies its ability to pay out claims, and it holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Geico offers the six main types of car insurance on top of these add-ons:
Read more: Geico insurance review
State Farm has become the largest auto insurer thanks to its reliability and below-average car insurance rates. A big draw for the provider is its usage-based insurance program Drive Safe & Save™, which offers discounts for less frequent driving and safe driving habits. In addition to the six main types of insurance coverage, State Farm offers: 
Read more: State Farm insurance review
The six most common types of car insurance are liability coverage, collision insurance, comprehensive coverage, uninsured motorist insurance, medical payments coverage, and personal injury protection.
Full coverage refers to an insurance policy with at least liability insurance, collision coverage, and comprehensive insurance. Along with these coverages, a full-coverage policy may also include uninsured motorist coverage and either personal injury protection or medical payments coverage.
This type of insurance covers damage to your car from theft, vandalism, falling objects, rodents, and natural disasters (such as floods and fire).
Comprehensive insurance is not full coverage by itself. It must be combined with liability insurance and collision insurance for the policy to be considered full coverage.
Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:
*Data accurate at time of publication.
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