When it comes to auto insurance, it’s easy to sign up for your state’s minimum coverage requirements and call it a day. But what happens if you need to file a claim after an accident? If you’ve purchased a bare-bones policy, there’s a good chance you’ll have bare-bones insurance coverage after a collision or other mishap. Here are 7 important car insurance coverages worth considering to help you avoid financial woes down the line.

1. Medical payment coverage

Did you know most health insurance plans won’t cover injuries related to car accidents? And even if yours does provide accident-related protection, medical payment coverage on your car insurance policy can kick in as secondary coverage and help ensure you have enough funds to cover expenses. In some states, this coverage is required, but in most it’s still optional.

Medical payment coverage not only safeguards you, the driver, but also your passengers and other drivers on your policy. It can even save the day if you’re injured as a passenger in another person’s car, if you’re struck walking or cycling, or if passengers are injured while you or a family member are driving.

Just remember medical payment coverage isn’t to be confused with personal injury protection (aka PIP or no-fault insurance), which is a separate injury-related auto insurance coverage offered or required in some states.

2. Comprehensive coverage

Say you’ve recently moved to an area with a higher-than-average auto theft rate and you want your auto insurance coverage to reflect the right amount of financial protection for your new neighborhood. That’s where comprehensive coverage comes in.

With defense against theft and vandalism, glass damage, collisions with animals, fire, and natural disasters, comprehensive coverage is, indeed, comprehensive. And while you’ll often see it go hand in hand with collision coverage, you can purchase comprehensive coverage on its own if you’d prefer (but often not the other way around).

Comprehensive coverage usually requires a deductible, which is the out-of-pocket amount you agree to pay in the event you need to file a claim (though many insurers allow you to choose a $0 deductible for this coverage in some states).

3. Roadside assistance

Also known as emergency road service or towing and labor, coverage for roadside assistance on your auto insurance can help you avoid so much hassle and wasted cash — and typically at a very low premium.

Not only does it cover a tow to the nearest garage if you get into an accident or experience a mechanical breakdown far from home, but it can also come to the rescue if you run out of fluids (like oil, water, or gas), lock your keys in your car, have a dead battery, or suffer a flat tire. With many insurers, you’ll need to carry comprehensive and collision coverages on your policy to add roadside assistance.

Even if you have this coverage with another provider, it’s always wise to get a quote from your car insurer so you can compare what each policy offers, as well as price. You might be able to save some money while maintaining the same amount of coverage.

4. Collision coverage

If you’re financing or leasing your vehicle, there’s a very good chance collision coverage (in addition to comprehensive) is required by your lender. But even if you’re not making payments, collision coverage is essential to consider if your car still retains a high resale value.

This policy protection is designed to safeguard your finances by paying to repair or replace your car if you’re found at fault in a collision (while property damage liability coverage protects you if you damage someone else’s car or other property).

Like comprehensive, collision coverage generally requires a deductible. So if you opt for a $500 deductible upon purchasing your policy and you cause an accident that results in $5,000 worth of damage to your car, you’ll pay $500 before your car insurance pays the remaining $4,500.

5. Rental car coverage

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s essential to have another way to get from A to B while your ride is in the repair shop. And as many of us know, renting a car can get expensive very quickly. That’s why it’s worth exploring rental car coverage, which reimburses you for the cost of renting a car after you get into an accident — regardless of your fault in the situation — up to the coverage limits you choose.

It’s important to mention that rental car coverage typically doesn’t step in if your car is broken down due to mechanical problems, since those are a maintenance issue you’re responsible for as the owner. And with most insurers, you’ll need to carry comprehensive and collision coverages on your policy in order to add rental car coverage.

6. Loan/lease gap coverage

Say you’ve recently financed a new ride and get into an accident that totals it. It’s important to know that your auto insurance company won’t pay your claim based on what you owe on your car, but on your car’s value right before the accident.

So if you owe $25,000 on a new Toyota Prius, but it’s only worth about $20,000 now, you may get an actual cash value (ACV) claim settlement check for $20,000 if you get into a collision that deems the vehicle a total loss. But that leaves a potential out-of-pocket amount of $5,000 to pay off your loan.

Cue gap coverage, which bridges the, well, gap between your ACV payment and the amount you owe on your loan or lease. All of this is to say that if you’re financing or leasing a vehicle, you can’t afford to skip this relatively inexpensive protection.

7. Customized parts and equipment coverage

This one’s not for everyone, but customized parts and equipment coverage is super important for certain motorists. If you’ve customized your car with a TV, stereo system, paint job or mural, grille, rims, and/or navigation system, this optional coverage can be a major money-saver if a thief or any other covered loss damages or destroys them. It also provides financial protection for custom equipment used by disabled drivers and passengers. With Esurance, you can choose up to $4,000 worth of coverage.

And the best part about all of these coverages? Esurance offers them at affordable prices and limits you can customize. Grab a quick, free car insurance quote online.

Insurance 101 | Car insurance 101


about Megan

After beginning her Esurance career in 2012 as a sales agent in Phoenix, Megan made her way out to San Francisco to join the company’s editorial team and pursue her love of writing. She spends most of her free time baking fancy cookies and forcing her cats to snuggle with her.