Selecting the Right Auto Insurance Coverage

Car Insurance booklet

Tips to help you choose which insurance coverage is right for you

Deciding on the type and amount of auto insurance coverage you need can be difficult.  In this section, we outline common types of auto insurance to help you choose which coverage is right for you.

Types of Auto Insurance

When it comes to auto insurance coverage, there are five common types.  They are:
  • Auto Liability Insurance
  • Comprehensive/Collision
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • Medical Payments
  • Uninsured/Underinsured

Auto Liability Insurance

Simply put, auto liability insurance covers the person you hit if an accident is your fault.  Auto liability policies are broken into three numbers, with each number representing a dollar amount — in thousands — that covers injuries and property damage in an accident.  Some states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto liability coverage, while other states have no minimum requirement. 


If your vehicle is damaged by something beyond your control, such as a flood, hail, fire or theft, comprehensive auto insurance would cover the damages.  If your car collides with another vehicle or an object, collision auto insurance would cover the damages.  If you don't own your vehicle outright and your lender still holds title to the car, you may be required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage. 

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection insurance (PIP) typically covers medical, hospital and funeral costs of the insured, as well as any passengers in the insured's vehicle.  PIP may also cover lost wages and other damages.  Requirements, limits and coverage vary from state to state, so it's important to check with your insurance provider regarding the PIP guidelines in your area.

Medical Payments Coverage

When the limit of PIP coverage is reached, medical payments coverage takes over.  If the insured's medical expenses — or the medical expenses of the insured's passengers — are higher than the limits set forth in the PIP policy, medical payments insurance would cover the rest.  This is important for accidents in which serious injuries are involved and in which medical or hospital costs are significant.

The Uninsured and the Underinsured

Uninsured and underinsured policies cover costs involved with an accident in which you are not at fault and in which the other driver isn't insured — or doesn't have enough insurance — to cover the damages or injuries you sustained.  Collision deductible waivers are also available, ones that waive your responsibility to pay a deductible if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.

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