What is supplemental car insurance?

Supplemental car insurance coverage allows consumers to customize coverage based on their unique needs. Types of supplemental auto insurance include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, and comprehensive coverage.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Written by Tonya Sisler
Insurance Writer Tonya Sisler

Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2022

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Several types of supplemental auto insurance coverage types exist for consumers, which allows people to customize coverage based on their unique needs. A minimum level of auto insurance is legally required, but this does not necessarily cover all types of costs related to car damages and repairs. Consumers should review the different types of supplemental insurance or discuss them with an insurance agent to see which types of insurance make the most sense for their situation.

What is supplemental car insurance?

The meaning of supplemental car insurance is essentially any coverage you add to your standard car insurance policy. Most states in the U.S. require drivers to have liability insurance, which covers other drivers’ damages in an accident you cause.

However, for many drivers, this is not enough coverage, and that’s where supplemental car insurance coverages come into play. If you want your own damages to be covered if your car is in an accident or damaged in some other way, you’ll need to add some supplemental coverages.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of supplemental auto insurance offered by most car insurance companies.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage may not seem necessary since just about every state requires drivers to carry liability insurance. However, many drivers, unfortunately, cannot or choose not to carry even the minimum insurance. Additionally, for drivers who purchase only the minimum amount of liability coverage, the provided coverage may not be enough to pay for all of the damages and medical bills that may come along with an accident. Adding this type of coverage to a policy may be a tough decision, and it needs to be weighed against the risk of being involved in an accident with a driver who has no ability to pay, or who does not have enough insurance to pay for all the repairs and medical bills. If the person at-fault cannot provide enough funds, it may force the accident victim to pay repair and medical bills out of his own pocket.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection insurance covers medical expenses for the driver and her passengers, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. This type of coverage is especially important for individuals who do not have any health insurance coverage, or only have a very limited plan. General health insurance provides much more coverage than this type of auto insurance, and drivers with good health insurance should take advantage of it while saving some money and not paying for personal injury protection insurance.

Non-Owner Auto Insurance

Coverage even exists to protect a driver who does not have his own car. This coverage especially makes sense for somebody who spends a lot of time driving rental cars. This type of coverage protects drivers in a rental car, and takes care of damage to other drivers’ vehicles, to passengers, and even to street pedestrians. When renting a car, the agency usually asks if the driver wants to buy car rental insurance. Typically, the collision and comprehensive coverage on a person’s own vehicle covers him in a rental vehicle. Otherwise, drivers who do not carry comprehensive coverage will need to buy the company’s rental car insurance, which can add up, especially when people need to rent cars often. Non-owned auto insurance can save a great deal of money in this case, and the insurance policy can include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection insurance.

Pet Injury Coverage

Many drivers like to take their pets along in the car, and a new type of coverage is being offered to pet owners to protect their precious animals. Many pet owners consider their pets to be like children, and insurers believe pets should be treated as part of the family too. If the pet is injured in a collision, the coverage pays up to a certain amount for medication and vet bills. This coverage is actually part of collision coverage and does not have any additional cost.

Comprehensive and Collision Insurance

Comprehensive and Collision insurance could be considered supplemental insurance, since the law does not require drivers to carry them. Finance companies may require these two types of insurance as long as financing is in place on the car. Comprehensive covers all types of damage to the car not coming from a collision. Collision insurance covers collision damage. For cars that are older and have experienced most of their value depreciation, the cost to carry comprehensive or collision insurance could outweigh the amount of money the insurance company would pay out in the event of an accident. The insurer only pays out the current market value of the car, according to a specific formula, regardless of the extent of the car’s damages. Individuals driving older vehicles may be better off putting some cash aside in an emergency car fund, to cover potential repairs or put towards another car.

Additional Liability Coverage

Liability coverage on its own is not considered supplemental insurance. However, even though law in almost every state in the nation requires liability insurance, the actual required amount of liability insurance is quite low, so it’s a good idea to consider additional coverage. The supplemental part is increased liability coverage limits the buyers may want to pay for, especially those who have a large number of assets to protect. When a person is involved in an accident and found to be at fault, he or she is liable for the costs, whether or not they can be covered by insurance. And, rather than being forced to sell off assets to pay for someone else’s medical costs or property damage, it might make sense to buy additional liability coverage at higher limits.

Insurance Coverage Add-Ons

Car rental allowances, towing and roadside assistance are other types of coverage that do not cost much money but provide important services to drivers in need. Roadside assistance helps when a car will not start or dies on the highway and needs to be towed into the dealership or mechanic’s garage.

Car rental reimbursement provides a car for a policyholder to use while his own car is being repaired. This type of coverage usually only costs a few dollars per month, while a rental car usually costs $20 to $30 per day. In some situations, the deductible may need to be paid before the insurance company can authorize a rental car reimbursement. However, if a driver’s car is in the shop for more than a couple of days, this coverage can save a good deal of money.

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