Broad Form Car Insurance Coverage

Broad form insurance is cheap liability auto insurance that covers you as a driver. It follows you no matter what car you drive, whether you own it or not (with some exceptions). But broad form car insurance doesn’t cover vehicle damage or third-party bodily injury claims, and it may not meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Written by D. Gilson, PhD
Professor & Published Author D. Gilson, PhD

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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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2022

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The Highlights

  • Broad form insurance only covers a single driver
  • It’s generally cheaper than most other forms of insurance
  • Broad form coverage is very narrow and doesn’t extend to any vehicle
  • Third parties may file bodily injury claims against you that broad form insurance won’t protect against

You’ve probably heard broad form insurance from Progressive thrown around as one of the cheapest forms of car insurance. When you compare car insurance, it’s clear that broad form coverage is generally more affordable than other forms of coverage.

This makes it an attractive option for most drivers, but broad form coverage certainly isn’t for everyone.

Before you keep reading to learn more about broad form insurance, enter your ZIP code to start comparing affordable car insurance quotes from local companies.

What is broad form insurance?

Broad form insurance coverage is a form of liability insurance that only covers a single driver. This coverage follows the driver no matter what vehicle they are in, and it’s generally much cheaper than other forms of insurance.

Currently, broad form insurance is only available in a few states, such as Washington, Idaho, and Oregon from certain insurance companies.

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What are the limitations of broad form insurance?

The problem with broad form insurance is that it doesn’t cover any vehicles. If you let a friend drive your car and they’re in an accident, damages to your car will not be covered, and you might still be legally responsible for damages or medical bills.

Broad form insurance is also what’s known as liability insurance. This means it won’t cover damages to your vehicle even if you’re the one driving or if you are at fault for the accident. Auto collision coverage on a standard policy is needed for this coverage.

Another problem with broad form auto insurance is that it doesn’t stop third parties from filing claims. If you’re the driver in an accident with a passenger, for example, that passenger could file a bodily injury (BI) claim against your insurance for their medical bills.

Your broad form policy wouldn’t cover that claim, and you may end up being responsible for thousands of dollars out of pocket. It is much different than other insurance coverage options.

Broad form insurance also doesn’t extend to non-traditional vehicles (like RVs or motorcycles), and it doesn’t cover you when you’re driving a company car.

Major limitations of broad form coverage:

  1. Your vehicle isn’t protected in an at-fault accident, whether you’re the driver or not
  2. Only you, as the driver, are covered, which means any bodily injury to passengers may be legally your responsibility
  3. It may not meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements, and therefore may be illegal on its own
  4. Even if it is allowed in your state, many of the best insurance companies won’t offer it, due to the limited scope of coverage
  5. When driving a car that you don’t own, your broad form insurance policy is considered secondary (this means that the car owner’s primary insurance will be claimed first, before single-driver broad form insurance kicks in)
  6. It doesn’t apply if you drive a car you don’t own regularly (for example, if you borrow a car from a friend or family member on a regular basis)
  7. It only applies to one legal, licensed driver per household, meaning partners who live together can’t both have this form of coverage
  8. If you’re looking into buying or leasing a new car, be aware that many lenders may require full coverage in order to qualify

Some states may have their own additional restrictions in their insurance code on broad form coverage.

Who should get broad form insurance?

Though broad form insurance rates are generally lower, it may lack comprehensive protection. This type of insurance isn’t for everyone. For example, high-risk drivers (like teens) are probably not a good match for this coverage. They are more likely to get into an accident, with collision damage or liability damages, where their broad coverage wouldn’t cover everything.

There are some situations where broad form insurance does make the most sense:

  1. If you rarely (if ever) drive with passengers, it may not make sense for you to pay for extra insurance to cover passengers in your vehicle
  2. If no one else drives your car (even on occasion) it may not be necessary to have insurance coverage for other drivers
  3. If you don’t have your own car, this insurance may provide the legally required liability protection for driving, and it may be cheaper than non-owner insurance
  4. If you rent cars frequently, you may wish to ensure you’re covered while you’re driving rentals
  5. If you don’t drive often, and this insurance meets your state’s minimum requirements, it may make the most financial sense to choose less coverage
  6. If you own an older car that has depreciated in value (and likely wouldn’t qualify for repairs in an accident, whether you’re at-fault or not), you may be able to save money on your monthly rates with this type of insurance

Before you buy broad form car insurance, be sure to consider any policy limits that might apply. Cheap auto insurance rates will save you money on your monthly insurance bill but may end up costing you an arm and a leg down the line.

If you’re ready to get cheaper car insurance, enter your ZIP code now to start comparing the best rates.

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