Extra Protection or Extra Cost? Deciding on Additional Car Insurance Coverage 

Standard car insurance provides a financial safety net for drivers, protecting against accidents, theft, and unforeseen events. These policies typically include liability coverage for damages you cause, collision coverage for vehicle damage from accidents, and comprehensive coverage for non-collision events like natural disasters and theft. Understanding these basics is key to deciding if extra coverage is needed for your situation. 

Access Insurance provides Auto and Car Insurance in Edmonton, offering comprehensive coverage tailored to your unique needs. Assessing your car insurance needs is crucial to find the right balance. Each driver’s situation is unique, influenced by factors like vehicle value, driving habits, lifestyle, and financial stability. For example, newer or high-value vehicle owners may benefit from gap insurance, covering the difference between what’s owed and the car’s value in a total loss. Those in disaster-prone areas might need extra comprehensive coverage. Understanding your risk factors and finances is key for choosing additional coverage. 

What is  the Basics of Car Insurance? 

Car insurance is an essential tool for protecting yourself financially in the event of an accident, theft, or other damages involving your vehicle. At its core, most policies include three primary types of coverage: 

  • Liability Coverage: This is the foundation of any auto insurance policy. Liability insurance covers the costs associated with damage and injury you may cause to others if you’re found at fault in an accident. This coverage is so crucial that it’s required by law in most states, which specify minimum coverage amounts. 
  • Collision Coverage: Collision coverage is designed to cover the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage is especially important for those with newer or more expensive vehicles. 
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Unlike collision coverage, comprehensive coverage protects you against damages to your vehicle that are not the result of a collision – for example, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. It’s an optional coverage that can provide peace of mind in unpredictable situations. 

Understanding these basic components will help you to make informed decisions about the insurance products that best meet your needs. Each type of coverage comes with its own deductible and limit, affecting the overall cost of your policy and the amount of protection it provides. Keep in mind that while you may be tempted to save money by choosing lower amounts of coverage, doing so can expose you to significant financial risk in the event of an accident or other loss. 

Assessing Your Coverage Needs 

When considering which insurance coverages to select, it’s vital to perform a personal risk assessment and truly understand what you’re potentially exposing yourself to. Your vehicle’s current market value, driving habits, and personal financial situation should heavily influence your decision-making process. If your vehicle is older or already fully paid off, comprehensive or collision coverages might not be as crucial, considering the replacement value of your car versus the cost of these coverages. On the other hand, if you have a new or expensive vehicle, gap insurance and comprehensive coverage become more attractive, protecting your investment effectively.  

Consider the environment you live and drive in; is it prone to natural disasters, high traffic accidents, or vehicle thefts? These factors increase the risk and potential need for additional coverages like comprehensive or uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, reflect on your driving habits. Frequent drivers, long-distance commuters, and those who often drive in dense urban areas may want higher coverage limits due to the increased risk of accidents.  

Finally, analyze your financial situation. Would you be able to afford repairs or replacement if your vehicle were damaged or totaled? Your financial capacity to handle out-of-pocket expenses should guide the amount and types of coverages that best suit your needs. Balancing between being over-insured and risking under-insurance requires a nuanced understanding of your personal risk factors and financial stability. 

Types of Additional Car Insurance Coverage 

Expanding your car insurance beyond the basics can provide you with more comprehensive protection and peace of mind. Besides the standard liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, there are several additional types of car insurance coverages you might consider: 

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM): This coverage protects you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who either lacks insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the damages they’ve caused. In such scenarios, UM/UIM coverage can help cover your medical bills and, in some cases, damages to your vehicle. 
  • Medical Payments Coverage/Personal Injury Protection (PIP): These coverages are designed to cover medical expenses for you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault in an accident. They can also cover other costs such as lost wages and, in the case of PIP, sometimes funeral expenses. 
  • Gap Insurance: Particularly valuable for those who lease or finance their vehicles, gap insurance covers the “gap” between what you owe on your vehicle and its current market value if your car is totaled or stolen. Without it, you could be left paying out of pocket for a vehicle you can no longer use. 
  • Rental Reimbursement Coverage: If your car is out of commission due to an accident or covered loss, this coverage helps pay for your rental car costs. It’s a convenient option for those who rely on their vehicle daily and need uninterrupted transportation. 
  • Roadside Assistance: For those moments when you’re stranded because of a flat tire, dead battery, lockout, or other minor mechanical malfunctions, roadside assistance can be a lifesaver, providing services such as towing, fuel delivery, and more. 

Each of these coverages adds an extra layer of protection, but they also add to the cost of your policy. It’s important to weigh the costs and benefits, considering your specific needs and financial situation, before adding them to your insurance package. 

Pros and Cons of Additional Coverage 

Adding extra layers of coverage to your car insurance policy can significantly increase your sense of security when on the road. However, it is essential to weigh these benefits against potential drawbacks to make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and financial capacity. 


  • Enhanced Protection: Additional coverages like UM/UIM, PIP, and Gap insurance provide broader protection against a wider range of incidents, ensuring that you’re covered in many unforeseen circumstances. 
  • Financial Security: In the event of an accident, having comprehensive coverages can safeguard you from large out-of-pocket expenses, offering peace of mind and financial stability. 
  • Flexibility and Support: Services like rental reimbursement and roadside assistance add convenience and support when you need it most, minimizing disruption to your daily life. 


  • Increased Premiums: More coverage means higher insurance premiums. It’s crucial to determine whether the added cost aligns with your budget and is worth the extra expense based on your risk assessment. 
  • Potential for Over-Insurance: There’s a risk of paying for coverage that may not be necessary for your situation, which can unnecessarily increase your insurance costs without providing proportional benefits. 
  • Complex Policy Details: With the addition of multiple coverages, understanding the specifics of your policy can become more complicated, making it crucial to read and comprehend all the details to avoid surprises in the event of a claim. 

Careful consideration of these pros and cons, along with a thorough assessment of your individual needs and financial situation, will help guide your decision on which additional coverages, if any, are right for you. 

How to Decide What You Need 

Deciding on the appropriate levels and types of car insurance coverage is a personal process that requires a balance between protecting your assets and managing your budget. Here are steps to guide you in making an informed decision: 

  1. Assess Your Vehicle’s Value: Use resources like Kelley Blue Book to determine your car’s current market value. This information is crucial in deciding if you need comprehensive or collision coverage or how much gap insurance you should have. 
  1. Understand Your Risk Factors: Consider your driving habits, the environment you drive in, and your historical claims. These factors significantly influence the kinds of coverage and limits that suit your situation. 
  1. Evaluate Your Financial Situation: Reflect on your ability to pay out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident. If such costs would be financially crippling, opting for higher coverage limits and additional protections might be beneficial. 
  1. Consult with a Professional: An insurance agent can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and help you understand the trade-offs of different coverage options. 
  1. Consider Legal Requirements: Ensure you meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements. Then, based on your risk assessment and financial situation, consider if it’s prudent to exceed these minimums for added protection. 
  1. Review Regularly: Your insurance needs can change over time as your vehicle ages, your financial situation evolves, or your driving habits change. Make it a practice to review and adjust your coverage accordingly. 

By following these steps, you can tailor your car insurance policy to provide the right amount of coverage that gives you peace of mind while being cost-effective. 


Selecting the right car insurance involves assessing your vehicle’s value, understanding risk factors, evaluating finances, and seeking professional advice. Ensure adequate protection beyond legal requirements. Regularly review and update your policy to match changing needs for peace of mind.