What is car insurance?

Car insurance covers damage to your vehicle and protects you financially if you’re liable for someone else’s injuries or damages. Additionally, auto insurance can pay for medical bills if you or your passengers are injured in an accident or you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Your policy protects you up to certain limits, agreed upon by you and your insurer.

Do I need car insurance?

Car insurance is required in all states, except New Hampshire (New Hampshire still requires financial responsibility if you cause an accident, so you'll still want to be properly insured). If you drive without insurance, you could get a fine, have your license revoked, or even go to jail.

What does auto insurance cover?

Auto insurance covers a variety of situations that can occur on or off the road. Although coverages may vary by state, here are the standard coverages on most auto insurance policies.


Liability coverage is required in 49 states. If you’re liable in an auto accident, liability coverage can pay for:

  • Damage to other cars
  • Damage to objects (mailboxes, phone poles, houses, etc.)
  • Injuries to other drivers and their passengers
  • Lawsuits if you’re sued because of an accident

Explore more on liability insurance.


Comprehensive coverage protects against damage to your car from events beyond your control, including:

  • Theft
  • Windshield and glass damage
  • Vandalism, riots, explosions, and fire
  • Falling trees/branches and other objects
  • Rocks or other objects kicked up by cars
  • Storms, floods, wind, hail, earthquakes, and lightning
  • Accidents with animals (e.g., hitting a deer)

Explore more on comprehensive insurance.


Collision coverage covers your vehicle if it overturns or collides with another vehicle or object, including trees, guardrails, and fences.

Explore more on collision insurance.

Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP):

Medical payments coverage is offered in most states, while personal injury protection is available only in the states that require it to be offered. Both coverages cover medical bills if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident (regardless of fault). PIP is a broader coverage that varies by state and, depending on the state, may pay for medical bills, lost wages, rehab costs, and other expenses resulting from an auto accident.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury:

Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage pays for injuries if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or not enough coverage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage:

Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage pays for damage to your car if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Explore more on uninsured motorist coverage.

Rental car reimbursement

Rental car reimbursement coverage pays for rental car fees while your car is being repaired due to a covered accident.

Loan/lease payoff:

Also called gap coverage, loan/lease payoff coverage pays off the gap between what your car is worth and how much is left on your loan.

Explore more on gap insurance.

Roadside assistance:

Roadside assistance coverage covers situations like lockouts, towing, jump-starts and more, so you're never stranded on the side of the road.

Explore more on Progressive coverages.

How is car insurance is priced?

When it comes to pricing your policy, insurers consider many factors, including:

  • Accident history: Fewer accidents means you're less likely to have one in the future.
  • Violations: Tickets on your motor vehicle report typically raise the cost of auto insurance.
  • Your vehicle’s value: A cheaper car costs less to repair.
  • Age: More experience behind the wheel means you're less likely to have an accident. Your rate will usually go down as you get older, though some insurers may begin to increase rates for older drivers around age 65 and up.

Want a bit more on pricing? See more on what impacts your car insurance price or the average cost of car insurance.

What is a deductible?

Your deductible is the amount you pay out of your own pocket before your insurer will cover your claim.

For example, you have a $500 deductible, hit a telephone pole, and your car repairs cost $2,000. You'd pay $500, and your insurer would pay the remaining $1,500. You can pick your deductible amount from the options offered by your insurer.

The higher your deductible, the more of the repair or claim cost you'll have to take on. That means your out-of-pocket costs will be higher, but you'll have a lower overall rate, and vice versa.

Explore more on car insurance deductibles.

How to get car insurance

Here’s how you can purchase a policy with Progressive.


We'll ask easy questions, and you can customize your coverages.

Call a rep

Talk with a licensed representative who can help you through the process.

Through an agent

Connect with a licensed independent agent in your area.