While the state’s minimum auto insurance requirements are a necessity to operate a motor vehicle, optional coverages are also available. Of course, by just carrying the minimum coverage you’re paying less than if you cover yourself and your vehicle with more protection. Then again, if the occasion arises when you need the extra coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, you might be thrilled to have them.

A lot of drivers believe they’ve got full coverage insurance but, in essence, that so-called “full coverage” doesn’t actually exist. It refers to the state-required liability or no-fault car insurance, combined with basic collision and comprehensive, which are optional coverages. Some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist in addition to the mandated liability insurance.

When referring to optional collision and comprehensive coverage, as part of the policy agreement, a deductible will apply for any damage to your vehicle and property involved in an accident. Depending on your deductible, your insurance company will only pay a sum that is minus your deductible to repair your vehicle or property.

For example, if you sustain $4,000 worth of damage to your vehicle from an accident and your deductible is $1,000 – your insurance would pay you $3,000 and you would be responsible for $1,000 out of your own pocket. So, choose the amount of your deductible carefully in order to be able to repair your vehicle if and when the time comes without undue financial hardship.

Aside from what is typically considered the standard coverages, several other lesser-known or offered optional coverages are available. These are:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage – required in some states as part of their mandated minimum liability insurance limits, UIM protects you against the many high-risk and uninsured drivers sharing the road with you. It pays for the policyholder’s injuries and property damage caused by a hit-and-run driver or one without the proper liability insurance, as well as a driver with an inadequate amount of coverage. In other words, UIM will also pay when medical expenses and vehicle repair bills exceed the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
  • GAP insurance – if you’re financing your vehicle as a purchase or a lease, this coverage is often referred to as loan/lease insurance. It can protect you if your vehicle is totaled in an accident or stolen and unrecovered. GAP usually covers the difference between what your car is worth and what you still owe on it. With newer vehicles, this is one of the optional types of auto insurance coverages that can save you a good deal of money and worth considering.
  • Towing and labor – pays for covered towing and labor costs if your vehicle is disabled, up to your policy limits.
  • Car rental insurance – first you have to ask yourself if your auto insurance company will cover your car rental cost if your vehicle is in the repair shop. This is an optional coverage item that can be invaluable. Rental reimbursement or extended transportation expenses coverage can pay for a rental car if your car is damaged in a covered accident and is out of service for longer than 24 hours. Without it, you can be forced to pay full-price for the rental car as opposed to a reduced insurance or shop rate.

Optional coverages will add to your premium, but the cost is often affordable, depending on which insurance companies you get your quotes from. When shopping for car insurance quotes, obtain at least 3 or 4 in order to have a better idea of what you can expect to pay for coverage – basic or optional.

Begin by making sure you’re getting the best rate on your current car insurance. Why not get a free car insurance quote today?

Do you take advantage of optional coverages or do you stick with the standard coverages?