When you want maximum protection and peace of mind behind the wheel, a full coverage auto insurance policy is a smart choice. With a full coverage policy, you'll be protected whether you're in an accident, your car is stolen, or just about any situation in between. Before you buy a full coverage policy, though, there are a few things you should know.

What Is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?

The term "full coverage" can be confusing as it refers to auto insurance because each state's definition of full coverage can vary. Generally speaking, however, full coverage insurance means you carry significantly more than your state's minimum coverage for liability/bodily injury protection and property damage protection. It also means that you carry comprehensive coverage (which covers damage to your car caused by things not related to an accident) and collision coverage (which covers damage to your car related to an accident).

Are You Required to Carry Full Coverage?

In some cases, you may be required to carry full coverage insurance rather than state-minimum coverage. This is typically the case when you're driving a vehicle that you don't own outright. For example, you may still be making payments on a car loan or you might even be leasing your vehicle. Either way, if your car title is not free-and-clear, there's a good chance you need full coverage.

Specific requirements for full coverage may vary by lender, so be sure to check your loan agreement to find out exactly how much you need to carry — especially when it comes to bodily injury and property damage protection. Once you've paid off your loan and the title to your car is entirely in your name, you may be able to drop your full coverage insurance, though many people choose to keep their coverage for added protection and peace of mind.

What to Look For in a Policy

As you shop for a full coverage auto insurance policy, be sure to look carefully at bodily injury and property damage coverage amounts per accident. You may also want to look for policies that include coverage for underinsured or uninsured motorists. And of course, you'll need comprehensive and collision protection as well.

When comparing full coverage insurance quotes, look at your deductible as well. Make sure it's one you can comfortably afford, and understand that many full coverage policies have a separate collision deductible as well.

Full coverage auto insurance can give you more confidence behind the wheel, and even if you're not required to carry it, it's something to consider.

To learn more about auto insurance, contact an insurance agent near you.