The term "full coverage" gets tossed about with some frequency when discussing auto insurance, but it's less a reality than what most drivers actually think they're paying premiums for. According to Allstate, insurers don't offer anything specifically called a full coverage policy, but it typically means you're covered for both liability and property damage. To really insure yourself to the hilt, take advantage of all the protections your insurer offers, and also meet or exceed the highest thresholds of coverage required by your state.

Liability coverage is required

Allstate indicates that liability insurance is required in all 50 states. This coverage is the part of your policy that protects you if you cause damage to others - either property damage or personal injury - because you're at fault in an accident. Each state requires that you carry minimum amounts of coverage for bodily injury per person and bodily injury per accident, as well as for property damage, but the required minimum coverage varies from state to state. In New York, for example, the American Institute of CPAs indicates that state law requires coverage of at least $25,000, $50,000, and $10,000 respectively.

Comprehensive and collision coverages protect you

State laws don't require you to carry comprehensive or collision insurance coverage for damage to your own vehicle, but your lender might require it if you have a loan against your auto or if you're leasing it. Collision coverage is just what it sounds like - you or another insured driver - dinged or totaled your car while behind the wheel. Comprehensive coverage kicks in if damage occurs when you're not driving the vehicle - maybe a severe hail storm resulted in hundreds of little dents, or your garage burned down with your car in it. The specific damage that comprehensive coverage will actually pay for can vary by insurer, so check with your insurance provider to find out what exactly is included in your policy.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

If someone plows into your beloved four-wheel baby, his liability insurance should pay for your property damage, but ?should? is the key word here. Not every driver shoulders up under the legal responsibility to carry liability insurance. If you're hit by someone who is uninsured, or even underinsured - not carrying enough coverage to pay for all of your damages - your own policy will cover you if you carry uninsured/underinsured coverage. According to the American Institute of CPAs, this type of insurance is mandatory in some states, including Connecticut, Illinois, and Oregon.

Personal injury protection

Twelve states and the District of Columbia are ?no-fault? insurance states, as of 2016, according to the AllLaw website. They are: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. In a no-fault state, your insurer will pay your medical bills and maybe even a portion of your lost earnings if you're injured in an accident, regardless of whether you or the other driver caused it. Some states protect insurers by requiring drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance, or PIP. The American Institute of CPAs offers a full list of those states, as well as other mandatory insurance coverage. Some insurers also offer coverage for special medical payments that protects you if you're injured while a passenger in someone else's vehicle, or even by a driver while you're walking down the street.

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