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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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Standard insurance refers to the most basic coverage available, usually the limits required by the state
  • Usually, the only type of insurance included in a standard car insurance policy is liability coverage
  • Other types of insurance such as comprehensive and collision can be added to your policy for more protection

If you are new to car insurance and signing up for your first policy, you may come across a term stating standard car insurance.

Standard auto insurance is not always what the majority of the population purchases, but it does give a driver peace of mind and the legal right to drive.

Standard insurance usually refers to the insurance coverage that is required by law in order to make a car legal.

Learn all about what is included with a standard auto insurance policy and then enter your ZIP to start comparing online car insurance rates!

Table of Contents

The Importance of Liability Insurance

First and foremost, a standard policy will include liability coverage. Liability coverage protects the consumer against the cost of damages and injury that might result from a collision on the road.

This coverage does not cover your car’s damages, but only the car of the person you collide with.

There are two aspects of liability coverage:

  • Bodily injury – coverage handles personal injury that results due to your negligent or accidental actions
  • Property damage liability – covers the damage you inflict upon another person’s property, including their vehicle

The industry-recommended standard for liability insurance is usually about $100,000 for bodily injury caused to another person, $300,000 for total bodily injuries for everyone in the vehicle, and $100,000 for property damage.

Medical costs and car costs are drastically rising, so the 100/300/100 standard is actually a minimum of cover protection.

Each state is different concerning minimum standards.

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What is covered in a standard liability policy?

Liability policies are designed to cover victims of an accident you cause.

Each state has its own requirements for minimum liability, usually expressed in a three-number formula that looks something like Pennsylvania’s 15/30/5.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s list of required coverage defines those numbers as $15,000 to pay for the injuries of one person, $30,000 to pay for the injuries of multiple persons, and $5,000 to pay for damages caused to another person’s property.

Although amounts vary from state to state, the categories of liability insurance are consistent throughout.

Minimum liability insurance does not cover damage to your own car.

It also does not cover your medical expenses or those of your passengers. Those expenses will typically be covered by your own health insurance or extra personal injury protection (PIP) coverage you may decide to carry.

If you want coverage to protect damage done to your car, you’ll need to add collision and comprehensive coverage. If you want protection against glass damage, fire, and theft, you’ll need even more extra coverage.

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Other Policies Worth Noting

Collision and comprehensive damages are not included in a standard policy. These are extra policies you can buy to protect your own car from car collisions, vandalism, and other threats.

Many motorists choose to eliminate their collision and comprehensive coverage altogether and just pay for liability. With no obligation to pay for your own car’s protection, you can save a lot of money on premiums.

Be aware that if you owe money on your vehicle the loan holder will likely require those coverage options as part of your lending agreement.

There are a few other policies which may be covered in an insurance contract.

  • Medical payments insurance – covers the immediate treatment of injuries that take place during an automobile collision. This policy allows motorists to go to the doctor and have their injuries treated
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – covers miscellaneous expenses for lost wages, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and other avenues as well as the immediate treatment of injuries

Not every state will require these special policies to be included in a standard contract, but some do.

Standard Car Insurance Quotes

Don’t always accept the standard policy offered by a new auto insurance provider.

Make sure that you read the contract and understand what coverage options are offered and what situations are not covered.

A car insurance rate quote tool can help you search different insurance companies and compare policies.

Why not compare rates on your car insurance now? Enter your ZIP code in our comparison tool below to compare car insurance quotes for FREE.