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Understanding broad form insurance

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Have you ever heard of broad form insurance and wondered what it is? Or maybe you’ve never heard of it at all? If so, you are not alone.

If you are a driver with very limited coverage needs, broad form car insurance may be a way to put some money back into your pocket each month. And we’re all looking for ways to save money, right? But, not so fast! Leaving gaps in your auto insurance coverage could lead to devastating financial loss.

Before you consider calling your insurance agent to switch to broad form coverage, it is important that you understand what it is, what it covers, what it doesn’t cover, and whether or not it meets the requirements of your state.

What is board form insurance?

With the word “broad” in its name, broad form insurance instantly gives the impression that it is a type of insurance with extensive or broad coverage. In reality, it is quite the opposite.

So, what is it?

Broad form auto insurance also called broad form named operator coverage is minimal auto liability insurance for one named driver. This means very limited coverage for one person and one person only, driving a personal vehicle or vehicles. In fact, the coverage is so limited it does not meet the auto insurance requirements of most states and is currently only available in 11 states: Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington.

This type of limited liability broad form coverage means if you are in a car accident with another vehicle, your policy will only cover the other vehicle and the injuries sustained by the other driver.

Broad form coverage limitations

It is safe to say that there are more things broad form insurance does not cover, than things it does. It is important to be aware of the gaps in coverage should you go with a broad form policy.

Here are some things broad form coverage does not include that most standard auto insurance policies do include:

  • Comprehensive: Non-collision damages to your car that are caused by events that are out of your control. Some examples are theft, vandalism, fire, acts of nature, and weather.
  • Collision: Collision damages to your car like an accident with another vehicle or object, like a tree.
  • Others driving your vehicle: Since broad form auto insurance is for one named driver only, the liability coverage will not apply when others are driving your vehicle.
  • Your own personal injuries: Though you can purchase additional personal injury protection in addition to a broad form policy, your own personal injuries will not be covered with broad form auto insurance.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist: If you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this coverage provides protection.

Who should get broad form insurance?

The reality is, with state limitations and gaping holes in coverage, there are few people that this insurance by itself, is sufficient for. If you fall into these categories, broad form coverage may be a low-cost option to consider. However, it is important to remember that there is still a significant risk of financial loss with broad form coverage.

  • You are a driver seeking minimal liability coverage with the financial resources to pay out of pocket for other losses.
  • You do not own a vehicle and only occasionally drive other’s vehicles, or your vehicle has a very low value.
  • You never drive with passengers in the vehicle.
  • You are covered under a standard insurance policy but are seeking some additional coverage.

Penny Gusner, Insurance.com’s Senior Consumer Analyst, shared her thoughts on who should and should not get broad form insurance coverage. She said, “For most drivers, this is not a good policy to obtain because the limits are low and the coverage is restricted.

Broad form insurance can be helpful to drivers who are in need of cheap insurance on a cheap car they have. It can also be useful for drivers who are trying to get their license back and need to provide proof of the minimum required liability coverage.”

What does broad form insurance cost?

If you are looking to save some money, it may be tempting to compare the cost of broad form insurance with the cost of a more thorough coverage, like full coverage. If you compare the cost of a broad form policy with that of a full coverage policy, you will find broad form auto insurance to be much lower in cost.

But that is because broad form insurance covers much less.

To illustrate, here is a table to compare costs, by state, of minimum required liability and full coverage. Note that this includes the 11 states where broad form insurance is available, but standard minimum liability rates are shown. At the time of this reporting, five insurers we contacted to get broad form insurance rate estimates had not responded.

State Full coverage State minimum Difference
Michigan$3,141$1,855$1,286
Louisiana$2,601$771$1,830
Nevada$2,402$717$1,685
Kentucky$2,368$669$1,699
DC$2,188$839$1,349
Florida$2,162$828$1,334
California$2,125$606$1,519
New York$2,062$867$1,195
Rhode Island$2,040$738$1,302
Connecticut$2,036$891$1,145
New Jersey$1,993$846$1,147
Montana$1,963$447$1,516
Colorado$1,948$553$1,395
Delaware$1,921$843$1,078
Georgia$1,865$684$1,181
Texas$1,823$538$1,285
Maryland$1,816$853$963
Oklahoma$1,815$418$1,397
Missouri$1,798$546$1,252
Arizona$1,783$578$1,205
Wyoming$1,782$328$1,454
Arkansas$1,763$449$1,314
Alabama$1,713$498$1,215
Pennsylvania$1,700$502$1,198
Kansas$1,689$464$1,225
Mississippi$1,684$413$1,271
West Virginia$1,654$541$1,113
South Carolina$1,653$617$1,036
South Dakota$1,643$323$1,320
Washington$1,620$537$1,083
Minnesota$1,619$614$1,005
New Mexico$1,604$479$1,125
Hawaii$1,589$485$1,104
North Dakota$1,577$423$1,154
Alaska$1,560$412$1,148
Illinois$1,538$493$1,045
Nebraska$1,500$393$1,107
Oregon$1,496$674$822
Tennessee$1,493$462$1,031
Utah$1,492$565$927
Massachusetts$1,466$520$946
North Carolina$1,425$438$987
Vermont$1,410$398$1,012
Iowa$1,352$326$1,026
Wisconsin$1,335$401$934
Idaho$1,285$377$908
Indiana$1,266$430$836
Virginia$1,196$380$816
Ohio$1,191$406$785
New Hampshire$1,086$424$662
Maine$1,080$355$725

How to get broad form insurance

If you live in a state that offers broad form auto insurance and have decided it is a good option for you, start by reaching out to at least three insurance providers for quotes. Many providers offer online quoting tools on their website, but since you are looking for a very specific type of coverage, it may be a better option to call and speak with an authorized agent to request a quote.

Once you have received quotes from various providers, compare both the premium and deductibles you’ve been quoted.

Next, visit sites like A.M. Best, JD Power and Associates, and National Association of Insurance Commissioners to research the company’s financial strength, reputation, and consumer complaints. By assessing all of these factors, you will find which insurance company will provide you the best value.

After you decide which insurance company to go with, they’ll work with you to finalize the policy.

Final thoughts

Car insurance, like any insurance, can be expensive. It may be tempting to switch to broad form insurance to reduce costs. However, we recommend looking for other solutions first. There are some great ways to save money on your car insurance without sacrificing coverage.

  • Get competitive quotes from other companies to make sure you’re getting the best value.
  • Use tools like our Car Insurance Coverage Calculator to avoid paying for more than you need.
  • Speak with your insurance agent about discounts.
  • Speak with your insurance agent about bundling options.
  • Keep a clean driving record.

There are very few instances when broad form insurance is a good option. Penny Gusner summed it up nicely, “if you are considering broad form coverage, first consider shopping for a standard policy. With a clean driving record, a standard policy may not cost much more but will give you a lot more protection than a broad form policy.”

It is important to have adequate auto insurance coverage to avoid leaving yourself and others at risk of major financial loss.