What is Broad Form Car Insurance Coverage?

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Broad form auto insurance is a type of liability coverage only available in select states. It’s typically cheaper, but it can also be riskier.

Broad form car insurance coverage provides coverage for one driver, no matter how many cars the driver owns or drives. It’s liability coverage, although it does not extend coverage to third parties.

Many drivers like broad form insurance coverage because of its low price tag. However, broad form car insurance is not ideal for most drivers because of its coverage limitations. Broad form coverage is also only legal in a handful of states – including Washington.

What is broad form insurance coverage? Is broad form insurance coverage the right choice for you? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about broad form auto insurance.

broad form insurance coverage

How Broad Form Insurance Coverage Works

Broad form insurance covers one driver, no matter how many cars are owned or driven. The only person covered by broad form insurance is the person listed on the insurance policy.

That means that if another driver borrows your vehicle, that person will not be covered by your insurance (although you may still be legally responsible for any damages or injuries).

This type of insurance is also known as broad form named operator coverage. It excludes coverage for anyone else driving the vehicle under any circumstances.

It also means that insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle in an at-fault accident. You do not have any collision or comprehensive coverage.

Broad form insurance covers you in almost any vehicle you’re driving. Traditional car insurance follows the vehicle – not the driver. Broad form insurance covers the driver across-the-board.

However, broad form auto insurance does not cover you while driving company cars, not does it cover non-traditional vehicles like an RV or motorcycle.

Broad form auto insurance is not legal in all states. Since broad form auto insurance is restricted to one driver, it may not meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements. Most states do not allow broad form insurance coverage.

Even if broad form insurance is legal in your state, it may not be a good idea. Broad form insurance can expose you to significant liability, leaving gaps in coverage that you may need to pay out of pocket.

Who Should Get Broad Form Car Insurance?

Broad form car insurance is suitable for drivers who know that no one else will drive their vehicle under any circumstances.

It is not suitable for those with a family, a significant other, or anyone else who could occasionally drive your vehicle. If you have broad form insurance coverage and someone else drives your vehicle, then that person may not be covered – although you’re still liable for any damages.

Broad form car insurance is also suited for those who can cover the cost of repairing or replacing their vehicle out of pocket. If you cause an accident and have broad form insurance coverage, then your broad form coverage does not cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. You need to cover these expenses out of pocket. If you have a high-end or brand new vehicle, you may be required to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

In an at-fault accident, your broad form insurance coverage will cover damage to the other driver’s vehicle. It will also cover the other driver’s injuries. If your car is damaged or totaled, however, then you will receive no compensation.

In an accident where you’re not at-fault, the other driver’s insurance may cover your medical bills and vehicle damage (assuming the other driver has insurance).

Gaps in Broad Form Insurance Coverage

Broad form insurance coverage is risky. It leaves gaps in your insurance coverage. It can expose you to significant liability, forcing you to pay tens of thousands of dollars – or more – in out of pocket expenses.

Gaps in broad form insurance coverage include:

No Collision Coverage: Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing your own vehicle after an at-fault accident. Without collision coverage, you receive no compensation for vehicle repairs after an accident where you are at fault.

No Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers theft, vandalism, fire damage, and any other damage to your vehicle that could occur outside of an accident.

No Coverage for Other Drivers: Broad form insurance covers you and only you. If someone else is driving your vehicle, then your insurance policy does not extend to that driver. However, you may still be liable for any damages caused by that driver in your vehicle. In an accident, you may be liable for medical bills and other expenses incurred by the other driver and passengers, for example.

No Coverage for Other Vehicles: Broad form insurance will not extend to company vehicles, RVs, trailers, snowmobiles, ATVs, and other unique vehicles.

Not Legal in All States: Broad form car insurance is legal in some states but not others. In some states, broad form insurance does not provide the minimum required level of car insurance, which means you are driving illegally. States have different requirements for liability insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, medical payments coverage, and other types of insurance.

Pros and Cons of Broad Form Insurance Coverage

Broad form insurance coverage is the right choice for some drivers but not others.

Pros

  • Could be cheaper, especially if you own multiple vehicles
  • Easy to manage for drivers with multiple vehicles (you don’t have to add each individual vehicle to your policy)

Cons

  • Only covers one legal, licensed driver per house
  • Does not cover other drivers that use the vehicle
  • Does not cover vehicle repairs or replacement costs (no collision coverage)
  • Does not cover vehicle theft or vandalism (no comprehensive coverage)
  • Not ideal for high-risk drivers
  • Not ideal for those with costly, high-end, or new vehicles
  • Does not cover certain vehicles, including company cars, RVs, motorcycles, or ATVs
  • You are still liable for any damage caused by your vehicle even if you’re not driving
  • Only available in select states (including Washington)

Final Word

Broad form insurance is a type of car insurance policy only legal in a handful of states. A broad form insurance policy covers the driver in any vehicle. However, it also leaves significant gaps in coverage.

Broad form insurance is the right choice in some unique situations – say, if you’re the only person driving your vehicle and have enough cash to cover damage to your own vehicle. However, it’s not the right choice for most people – and it’s not legal in many states because it does not mean minimum insurance requirements.

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