“FULL COVERAGE” Auto Insurance – Full May Not Be Full Enough
What exactly is “full coverage” auto insurance? It likely does not mean what you think it means. While there is no car insurance coverage that goes by the name “full coverage,” most individuals think of full coverage as an auto policy that combines the following: State-required liability or no-fault insurance coverage to cover bodily injury and property damages to others in an accident you cause. Many of our clients are surprised to find out, usually after it is too late, that their own injuries and damages are not covered by their auto insurance policy after they had been told by their agent they had “full coverage.”
Other insurance adjusters and agents may use this term loosely to mean you might have more than just liability insurance (which covers damage caused to others), such that you may also be covered for damages someone else causes to you (such as having UIM / Underinsured Motorist Coverage, UM / Uninsured Motorist Coverage, PIP / Personal Injury Protection, MedPay / Medical Payments). Since Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured drivers, make sure you know exactly what “full coverage” means on your policy. Do not wait until it is too late to discover that you are not covered for your injuries and damages when the other driver does not have insurance.
Likewise, do not be misled by the term “full,” either! Does the definition of “full” mean complete? Does the term “full” apply to your damages or only to the other driver’s damages? Actually, it is neither! More accurately, “full” applies to the types of damages one or the other driver may have like: property, injury, lost wages, etc. “Full” has nothing to do with the amount of the policy limit and most certainly does not mean the insurance coverage is “in full amount” or necessarily covers the “complete” amount of damages to either driver. In other words, “full” neither means your insurance will cover all damages you may cause in an accident, nor will it necessarily cover all damages caused to you by another driver. Thus, it is possible to have “full coverage,” but only have the state minimum policy limit, or coverage up to $30,000. Even if you have the other types of insurance that cover damages caused to you by another driver, “full” may not be full enough. You must still consider how much policy limit to purchase to make sure you are fully covered in the event of a horrible accident. Your damages may far exceed a $30,000 state minimum policy that the other driver might have and a $30,000 state minimum UIM policy that you might have (and that is presuming that both you and the other driver both end up having valid insurance).