Does my fully comprehensive insurance cover driving any car?

Your fully comprehensive coverage will only follow you to other vehicles when you’re renting or borrowing a car to act as a temporary substitute for your covered auto.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 20, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • A fully comprehensive auto insurance policy is also referred to as full coverage
  • Full coverage policies typically include at least liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.
  • When you build a policy, the coverage that you carry is designed to protect you while you’re driving a car that you own but some of the coverage options may also protect you in vehicles that aren’t listed on your policy
  • Your comprehensive and collision coverage will only follow you to other vehicles when you’re renting a car or borrowing a car to act as a temporary substitute for your covered auto.

When you pay higher premiums for a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, it’s nice to know when your coverage will protect you and when it won’t.

You have peace of mind in knowing that you have full coverage on your vehicle if you ever need to file a claim, but the big question is whether or not your coverage will cover you in any car. Unfortunately, there’s not a simple yes or no answer to this question.

Here’s how your full coverage policy protects you in other cars:

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What is a fully comprehensive auto insurance policy?

When you’re buying insurance, it’s your job as a consumer to build a policy that will protect you and still fall within your budget.

You’ll have to decide if you want a standard auto policy that includes a minimum amount of coverage, a policy with a broader range of protection, or a fully comprehensive plan.

There’s not just one solid definition for a fully comprehensive insurance policy. Since you can’t just check a box, you have to build the policy to include the extra coverage options that aren’t required.

All full coverage policies include physical damage coverage, but the other options can vary from policy to policy.

Some of the elements of a full coverage plan include:

  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage
  • Medical Payments
  • Uninsured Motorist Protection
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance
  • Rental Reimbursement


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What does your contract consider a covered auto?

Your auto insurance contract is very detailed and to the point. Under the contract, there’s a long list of definitions to make the policy easier to understand. One of the definitions is what the insurer considers a covered auto.

Based on the standard policy definition, a covered auto is a:

  • Vehicle listed under the declarations page of the policy
  • A trailer owned by the insured that weighs less than 10,000 pounds
  • A private passenger vehicle that you’re borrowing from a friend or acquaintance
  • A private passenger vehicle that you’re renting
  • A newly acquired vehicle that you purchase during the policy term

Not All Coverage Options Extend to Every Covered Auto

If you elect to buy full coverage on the vehicle that you drive daily, that full coverage will pay for losses that you have while you’re in the vehicle that you legally own.

Some of the coverage that you’re paying for will cover you when you borrow, rent, or buy a car. It’s important to understand how each component of your policy extends.

Your Liability Coverage Will Extend While Driving Any Covered Auto

One of the most flexible components of your fully comprehensive insurance policy is your liability coverage. Fully comprehensive car insurance includes both Bodily Injury, which pays when other parties are injured, and Property Damage, which pays to repair property owned by others.

Since the third-party coverage is designed to protect your finances and not your own vehicle, the coverage will be valid if you’re driving your own car, a newly acquired vehicle, a rented vehicle, or a temporary substitute.

The only time that your liability doesn’t extend is when you’re driving an uninsured car that you’ve owned for quite some time.

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How does your first-party medical coverage extend?

Just like liability coverage, your first-party medical coverage will extend while you’re driving any of the covered autos listed in the definition. These coverage options include Medical Payments Coverage, Uninsured Motorist Protection, and Personal Injury Protection (where coverage is available).

Does physical damage coverage pay when you’re driving other vehicles?

Physical damage coverage includes comprehensive and collision. Comprehensive will pay when your car is damaged by a fire, vandal, flood, or another type of incident that doesn’t involve a crash. Collision pays when your car collides with any other type of object while it’s being operated.

Physical damage coverage can get a little complicated. It will protect you in your car, in a rental vehicle, and in a newly acquired vehicle for up to 14 days.

It will also protect you if you’re driving a vehicle that meets the temporary substitute definition. If you’re driving a friend around or borrowing a car just because the coverage won’t extend.

What is a temporary substitute vehicle?

A car is only a substitute when it’s being driven for a few different reasons. Your insurer is only going to pay for damage claims on the borrowed car if you don’t have access to your listed vehicle because you’re getting maintenance done, repairs done, or your car has been involved in a covered loss.

You can drive more than just your own car under your insurance policy. Make sure that you know how your insurance works whenever you’re borrowing a car.

If you don’t have enough coverage, you should compare several different rates through different insurers. Use an online tool to get quotes for full coverage insurance and you can bind a policy that will protect your property and your finances.

Enter your zip code below to find car insurance that works with your budget today!

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