UPDATED: May 25, 2021

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Written By: Chris TepedinoReviewed By: Daniel WalkerUPDATED: May 25, 2021Fact Checked

The world of car insurance can be confusing enough as it is, but then you hear a new term such as broad form insurance and feel even more confused. The important thing to keep in mind is that a good majority of terms for auto insurance end up just overlapping. In other words they are different terms for the same type of coverage. Getting an understanding of what one term means often results in finding others with the same meaning. Once you get one, you grasp the other; you just need to know what each one means.

So, what is the basic idea behind broad form insurance? How to Make Sense of Broad Form Insurance

  • Generally, this refers to a type of policy that is more expansive than basic car insurance coverage. Broad form car insurance should usually mean you have more coverage with your policy than a basic policy.
  • What exactly is the difference? Basic coverage is usually what a driver gets to meet the state minimum requirements and be a legal driver on the road. In most states this is a certain amount of liability insurance, which only covers the car and medical bills of the other driver involved in a wreck if you are deemed the at-fault driver. If you have a financed car, your basic coverage would be more extensive but still have the lowest possible minimums and not include extra coverage.
  • What this usually means then is that broad form auto insurance provides extra coverage. This could mean full coverage if you only need liability. It could also mean having higher maximums when it comes to paying for repairs or medical bills. For those who carry the basic amount, there is still a high risk of being sued and having to cover amounts that are past what the car insurance covers. Having to pay for medical bills or the replacement of a car above what your insurance pays can leave you with astronomical bills.

How Does Your Policy Hold Up?

You may think you have great premium rates on your car insurance policy but don’t realize what is included in this coverage. Find out if your broad form insurance covers everything you think by putting it to the test. For example, you should find out if you have car insurance coverage for:

  • Fire, explosions or smoke damage
  • Theft, vandalism or damage caused as a direct or indirect result of riots
  • Flooding or storm damage
  • Anything deemed an ‘act of God’
  • Falling objects
  • Broken windshield or glass

There are plenty of other seemingly minor details that can be included in a broad form car insurance policy but not a basic one. In fact, a great number of these ‘details’ are items most drivers assume are included in their policy but actually are not. It is important not to make this same mistake. What usually happens is you find out how little your basic auto insurance policy covered when you need to use it. Unfortunately, for many, this is when you find out these details would have been covered by a broad form auto insurance policy.

Other Things to Consider

Still the definition of a broad form can vary. If you have heard it used or have been told you need to get it, these are other times when it may be referenced:

  • Business car insurance coverage – For companies that must cover employees who drive company vehicles, broad form insurance may be required. This is more common for those who actually use the car as a personal or off-the-clock mode of transportation as well.
  • Comprehensive coverage – Comprehensive auto insurance is a fairly extensive type of policy to have. Therefore, it is also sometimes referred to as broad form coverage because it covers the same types of details. If you are required to get either broad form or comprehensive, just verify what exactly the specifications and minimum guidelines are to make sure they are met.
  • More than the minimum – In many cases broad form auto insurance is basically a way of stating the policy covers more than the minimum liability coverage required by the state to drive legally. So while it may not be as expansive as other policies, it still covers more than liability does.

Often times working with a knowledgeable insurance agent will get you the answers you need. Start now with getting quotes for broad form insurance by using just your zip code.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati....

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent for 15 Years Daniel Walker