Car insurance is kind of like a potato. You can choose to have just the potato for the cheapest possible route. However, you can also choose to load that thing up, butter, sour cream, bacon bits, the whole nine. If you put everything on your policy, what would it cover?
Well, just the basic option is going to leave you with state minimum liability coverage. This ranges from state to state based on the legal requirements they have. However, even the state with the highest required minimums will leave you with $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident and $25,000 for property damage coverage. In short, these coverages are what pay the other party for damages you cause in the event of an accident that is considered your fault.
A capped out auto policy is going to carry $500,000 in each of these categories. This half a million dollars can be extended out by millions in the event you also carry an umbrella insurance policy.
The fully loaded option is, of course, going to cover your vehicle for any damage done to it. Unlike your typical policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, the fully loaded option is going to give you replacement cost coverage. This means if your vehicle is destroyed in an accident, they are not just going to pay you what it is worth at the time of the loss (factoring in depreciation), but instead it will pay out whatever it costs you to replace that vehicle with a new one.
The bacon bits make for some of the best parts. You'd get roadside assistance with a one hundred mile towing range, unlimited uses, the ability for your children and anyone on your insurance to use the roadside assistance with any vehicle they are in, driver or not. This means they could be with their friend, in their friend's car, and use your roadside assistance to have someone come and change their tire or tow the broken down vehicle. This coverage is cheap but for a parent, provides a tremendous amount of peace of mind.
There are also several other optional coverages you could acquire. Full glass coverage is going to waive your deductible for any damage that is glass only. Policy perks like accident forgiveness, minor violation forgiveness, and vanishing deductible would be included. Accident forgiveness and minor violation forgiveness work kind of like insurance against your insurance. It prevents your insurance rates from increasing in the event you get in an accident or have to file a claim. On the flip side, they also work as a kind of golden handcuffs. If you have accident forgiveness and minor violation forgiveness and you receive one of those, it becomes almost impossible for you to change insurance companies over the next three years as the other insurance companies will not be able to honor that waived accident or violation.
There are other perks and coverages offered in varying states. All in all, there is a decent amount of difference in cost when you compare the basic potato to the fully loaded option, but if you have a great driving history and good credit you could get the whole shebang for a lot less then you might believe. These optional coverages sometimes really help you in the event you need to file a claim, others work more passively or just as a helpful tool if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
In reality, people don't typically get or use all of the coverages an insurance company can offer you. Most people find some happy middle ground, picking and choosing the toppings they prefer.