Liability Only vs. Full Coverage Car Insurance- How to Choose

Let’s be honest- we’ve all said “Full Coverage” in reference to car insurance. Even us insurance agents have said it a time or two (due to its popularity with the general public). But do you know what it REALLY means? And how it affects you? How about liability only insurance? Do you know what that means? And how to decide which option is best?

This article offers definitions, examples and tips to decide whether liability only or “full coverage” car insurance is the best option for you.

What does “Full coverage car insurance” mean?

First off, let me say that “full coverage” is a made-up word. There is no such thing, as no insurance “fully” covers anything. HOWEVER, since it’s a very common word used by much of the population, I’m going to offer up a definition. Full coverage typically means that someone has liability PLUS collision and comprehensive coverage.  Some quick definitions to help this along:

  • Liability- pays for bodily injury and property damage to OTHERS
  • Comprehensive and collision- pays for damage to YOUR vehicle.
    • Comprehensive covers fire, theft, vandalism, glass, falling objects, and animal contact.
    • Collision is collision with another object besides animals, overturn or upset of your car and single vehicle accidents such as going off the road.

When talking about full coverage car insurance, most times you’re talking about having the liability PLUS comprehensive and collision coverage. 

What is Liability Only car insurance?

Liability only car insurance leaves YOU out of the picture, only covering OTHER people and their property. The other people part is pretty easy to understand- could be people in the other vehicle or even a pedestrian. The bodily injury portion of the liability coverage pays for injuries sustained by the other person. The property damage pays for any property you damage as a result of the accident. Examples include a vehicle, house, fence, commercial building- you get the idea. Someone ELSE’S property. 

It also makes sense that the less pieces you have in your auto insurance policy, the less the premium will be. So liability only car insurance is less costly than a policy that also includes comprehensive and collision (i.e. the “full coverage” term you’re used to using).

Liability insurance is what the state of Ohio requires to show you’re financially responsible to operate a vehicle.

Tips to Help Decide If Liability Only Car Insurance Is Best For You

Here are two things to consider before choosing to carry liability only car insurance. 

  • How much money do you have in savings?  If your car was totaled tomorrow, would you have enough to purchase a vehicle to replace it?  If you only have enough for a down payment, could you financially handle car payments? 
  • How much is your car worth?  If the car is worth $10,000, then you would be more likely to want to insure that value.  If it’s worth only $1000 or less, you might feel it’s a risk you’re willing to take. 

The key here is to think about what would benefit you the most.  Look at the insurance cost of liability only or full coverage car insurance (hint, hint- we can run this comparison for you.) 

Note: The exception to this rule often occurs when adding a teen driver. In this case, a “liability only” car can be a great idea to save big premium dollars, since the majority of the auto insurance premium for a teen driver comes from the comprehensive and collision coverage (we’ve seen 50-65% easy). And as always, you can contact our friendly agents to quote vehicle and coverage differences when getting ready to add a teen driver. 

Need help choosing which option- liability only car insurance or full coverage car insurance- is right for you? Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to review your policy!

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Are you ready to save time, aggravation, and money? The team at Alan Galvez Insurance is here and ready to make the process as painless as possible. We look forward to meeting you!

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