It's important to understand the different car insurance coverages in depth. In all U.S. states, drivers are required to purchase some level of coverage. The repercussions of not meeting this coverage and the coverages required vary from state to state, but all state minimums are just that a minimum recommendation (some may say bare minimum). Based on your car, assets, and risk tolerance, you will likely want to consider more coverage than what your state requires to keep your car and yourself protected.

When choosing car insurance, you'll want to consider how often you'll be driving and what you have to protect, so choose your limits accordingly.

Types of car insurance coverage
Car insurance features several different types of coverage to help protect you from the differing costs associated with damage to your car as well as damages your car may cause. When buying car insurance, these are the coverages you'll want to consider:

Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily Injury Liability coverage covers the medical costs associated with any injuries you may cause to others while driving your car. This can include passengers in your vehicle or another vehicle. If you're in a car accident and found at fault, Bodily Injury Liability will help pay for any expenses you are found legally responsible for and the costs if someone sues you for damages. This coverage is often offered with limits per person and per accident. When trying to determine how much coverage to get, it is helpful to look at your assets and consider getting enough liability coverage to protect those assets.

Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection
Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection are similar coverages that cover medical and hospital expenses incurred during an accident. These coverages are no-fault, meaning they will cover you no matter who is found at fault in an accident. They differ in that the coverage offered by Medical Payments is more limited than Personal Injury Protection, but extends to cover passengers in your car, whereas PIP does not. If you have great health insurance, you may not need Personal Injury Protection; however, this coverage may also cover lost wages and collateral costs, like childcare, in the event of an injury, unlike health insurance.

Comprehensive coverage covers damages to your vehicle that are not the result of an accident. Perhaps it's a falling tree, theft, a flood, as long as it's covered under the policy, this coverage can help you pay for costly repairs due to an unexpected event that has damaged your vehicle. Your car isn't just vulnerable to damage from a car accident. Thankfully, comprehensive coverage helps protect you from the costs of the unexpected.

Collision coverage helps protect you from the costs of damages to your car in the event of an accident, up to the current value of your vehicle. Depending on the age, condition, and current value of your car, this coverage may or may not be for you. Depending on the type of car you own, you could end up paying more in insurance costs than what it would cost to repair the car! Do your research and talk with an agent to determine if this coverage could be right for you. As a rule of thumb, if you have a new car, it may make sense to get this coverage to protect your investment.

Property Damage Liability
Property Damage Liability coverage covers damages your vehicle causes to other cars or property, for which you are at fault. If you skip on this coverage and cause an accident or damage, you would be forced to pay for those damages and possibly sued for your assets. When choosing how much coverage to purchase, consider what you have to protect. You may want to protect them by choosing limits higher than they're worth.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
You never know who's out there on the road. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage helps pay for damages caused by someone without enough insurance to cover them. This comes in handy because many state-mandated minimums do not provide enough coverage for an accident. If you live in a state with low minimums, you should consider purchasing this coverage to help protect yourself. Yes, it's frustrating that you could be on the hook for costs from an accident where someone else is at fault, but sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry!

If you have questions about how much and what type of coverages are best for your needs, it's best to speak with a licensed insurance agent who can help you decide and explain these coverages further.

This content is made available by AutoBlog's partner, MyLifeProtected. Copyright 2009-2016 MassDrive Insurance Group, LLC.

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