I was involved in an accident and my agent tells me I don't have coverage for renting a car while my car is in the shop. Three years ago, when I bought my car, I told her that I wanted full coverage. Shouldn't that include coverage for a rental car?
If ever there was a phrase without a specific meaning, it's full coverage. Car insurance should be tailored to fit the needs of each buyer, and what's appropriate for one person may not be appropriate for another. Let's take a look at what full coverage might mean in different situations.
We'll start with a young person with limited resources and an older car that is paid for. For him, full coverage might be only the minimum required by law. In Oregon, that would be liability insurance to protect him if he's responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property, personal injury protection to cover medical and other expenses for him and his passengers, and uninsured motorist coverage to protect him if he is injured by someone who does not have insurance or does not have adequate limits.
Now let's look at a married couple with a newer car. Full coverage for them might include increasing the limits on their liability and uninsured motorist coverage, and adding physical damage coverage. If they have a car loan, physical damage coverage would be required by the lender. Typically, there are two parts to physical damage coverage, collision to take care of damage caused by collision or roll over, and comprehensive which covers other damage including fire, theft, and vandalism.
With physical damage coverage, there are choices to be made. A higher deductible, for example, may reduce the cost of the coverage but has to be weighed against the buyer's ability to pay the deductible if the car is damaged. Loss of use coverage is also an option and would cover renting a car when your car is in the shop due to a covered loss. If the buyer has a second car or access to public transportation, he or she may not choose to pay the additional premium. Again, full coverage has no real definition. It depends on the person and the circumstances.
A long answer to a short question, but I'll close with a couple of suggestions. We suggest periodically reviewing your insurance policies with your agent or company to be sure you have the protection you need. Ask questions about each coverage and ask what your options are. Also, car insurance policies renew at six- or twelve-month intervals. You will receive a summary of your coverage choices at renewal. Take a few minutes to review them and contact your agent if you need clarification.