Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Feb 10, 2019

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Motorists usually focus on just three things when purchasing or renewing their auto insurance policies. Those are the three liability coverage amounts required by every state in the United States and the District of Columbia.

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State by state, required liability coverage is quoted as a ratio of three numbers. For example, in New York State the minimum liability insurance requirements are 25/50/10. These amounts provide $25,000 of coverage for one person injured in an auto accident, $50,000 for two or more persons and $10,000 for property damage.

Kinds of Auto Coverage

In addition to basic liability coverage for personal injuries and damaged property, most car insurance policies cover a wide variety of potential expenses should the need arise. Some of these items may be covered under general liability claims while others may require separate policy riders.

In addition to liability coverage, the most common kinds of auto coverage include comprehensive, which protects the policyholder from damages to his vehicle regardless of the cause, and collision coverage, which covers repairs to a vehicle involved in an accident caused by the policyholder him or herself.

In more than a dozen states, uninsured motorists’ coverage is required. These insurance provisions are designed to protect drivers whose vehicle is involved in an accident with a motorist who has no insurance at all or may be underinsured.

Other common types of auto insurance coverage, according to the Better Business Bureau, include coverage for medical expenses due to an auto related injury and personal injury protection which covers medical expenses incurred as a result of an injury accident.

Personal injury protection also covers an insured individual even while riding in another driver’s vehicle or walking down the street. Some forms of PIP insurance even cover lost wages that result from a covered accident.

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Things Car Insurance Will Cover

Lesser-known items that may be covered in your auto insurance policy include a number of important and potentially costly items. Check with your insurance provider to see if any of the following are included in your current policy or may potentially be added.

Legal services

According to the international investment firm, IFG Trust Services, Americans have a one in ten chance of being sued in any particular year and a one in three chance of being sued at some point in their lives.

Car insurance, like a standard homeowner’s policy, will provide for an attorney to defend you if you are sued for something that your policy covers.

If a court finds against you, your insurance company will cover the plaintiff’s awards up to the limit of liability coverage in the policy. Because of the high risk of being sued, many homeowners carry additional liability coverage in the form of an umbrella policy. Most umbrella policies extend coverage up to a million dollars.

Emergency Road Services

Many insurance providers now include some form of roadside protection for their policyholders. Other companies offer optional roadside coverage. They join the increasing number of organizations willing to step in with assistance should you be stuck somewhere due to a non-accident related mishap.

Roadside assistance contracts may be provided by the car dealer, the vehicle manufacturer, and even your credit card company. Of course, the old standbys are still available such as the Automobile Club, AAA, but they have a lot of competition.

Roadside assistance programs, such as the one offered by Progressive insurance, come to your aid if you’re stuck at the side of the road with a mechanical problem, if you’ve run out of gas or lock yourself out of your vehicle.

Roadside coverage usually provides at least limited towing services, flat tire changes, battery jumpstarts, and emergency gasoline delivery as well as locksmith services. As optional coverage, roadside assistance is usually quite economical and well worth the extra few dollars.

Injured Pets

Auto insurance providers such as Farmers Insurance will pick up the tab for medical expenses and veterinary care for your pet should it become injured or die following a covered accident in your vehicle. Farmers will pay up to $600 if you have their comprehensive and collision coverage but pet coverage is not available in all states.

Terrorist Acts

If you have comprehensive automobile coverage, your provider will cover damages to your vehicle that may result from a terrorist attack such as a bomb or other explosive device. Your car would also be covered in the event of a hijacking or theft. While terrorist acts may be covered by your policy, acts of war are excluded.

Biological attacks and nuclear attacks would not be covered. Following an attack that damaged your car, the government would declare if it were an act of war or terrorism and your insurance company would then respond accordingly.

Drunken Friends

If a friend leaves your home in an inebriated or drugged state and causes a traffic accident in their own car, you could be held liable under several varieties of social host laws that are cropping up in many areas of the country.

For this reason, many experts recommend upping your liability coverage to $500 thousand or even a million dollars. Many homeowners choose to add umbrella coverage to their auto and homeowner’s policies for just such an eventuality.

Reckless Friends

Lend a friend your car to drive and your insurance company will be responsible for any accidents your friend is involved in. A traffic ticket will go on the driver’s record; an accident will become part of yours for the next three to five years.

Your auto insurance policy covers the car and anyone who may be driving it with your permission. Even if your friend has their own car insurance, your insurance policy will cover any damages your friend may have caused while behind the wheel.

If you use your collision coverage to make necessary repairs, you will also be responsible for the deductible. This is usually an amount between $200 and $1,000 dollars that you’ll have to come up with, out-of-pocket, before your carrier will authorize the repairs.

Stolen Property and other Possessions

Damage to your vehicle caused by vandals or equipment that is stolen from your vehicle such as a built in video or sound system, tracking system such as GPS or OnStar, or other factory-installed equipment, would be covered under your vehicle’s comprehensive insurance provisions.

After market equipment that is added to cars, such as stereo, video and GPS systems as well as customized fixtures and trim, may or may not be covered under a standard auto insurance policy.

Your insurance provider may allow you to purchase additional coverage for your custom gear or it may be covered under your present policy with some exceptions. Either way, you will want to check with your insurance company before adding any expensive equipment that might catch the eye of a passing thief.

Any possessions lying loose in the passenger compartment or stored in the glove box or trunk are generally not covered by your auto insurance policy. Your personal property, and that of your family and friends, will however be covered under most homeowners and renters’ insurance policies.

Sales Tax

If your car is totaled as the result of an insured accident and you must purchase a replacement, some states require that your insurance company cover the sales tax you must pay on the new vehicle. Since not all policies will cover this expense, you should check with your carrier in the state in which you live to see if sales tax is covered.

Things that May Not Be Covered

AOL Autos recently published an article on the web that discusses the things that your auto insurance policy won’t cover. These include paying off your car loan if your car is stolen or totaled in a traffic accident.

Your insurance will only cover the used market value of your vehicle according to accepted value guidelines such as those in the Kelly Blue Book. If you owe more than the vehicle is worth, your bank will expect you to cover the difference out-of-pocket.

Your insurance company will not cover an accident for which you are at fault if you do not have collision coverage. Similarly, your company will not pay out on claims for damages caused by vandals or acts of nature if you do not have comprehensive coverage.

Business use of your vehicle may be rated separately. Your insurance provider may require additional coverage if you regularly use your car for business purposes, not including commuting to and from your workplace.

If you drive a vehicle that you don’t own, your insurance may cover you if you suffer an accident, and then again, it may not. You may be covered under the owner’s policy, but again, that will depend on what coverage the owner may have.

Rental car costs may be covered by your insurance policy if your vehicle is in the shop for repairs stemming from an accident, but this coverage is often optional and may not be included in many policies unless specifically requested and paid for.

Get the Right Coverage

Consumer Reports provides shoppers with many helpful tips when considering what kinds of auto insurance coverage you and your family may need.

While you cannot predict every eventuality, you can determine with some degree of accuracy what insurance coverage would be necessary in the state and region in which you live.

Consumer Reports, as well as a number of other consumer-oriented websites, can help sort out the mysteries of auto insurance and provide you with invaluable facts and other information.

Find the best auto insurance policies available in your area by putting your ZIP in the FREE box on this page!