It's a tough call; whether to carry collision and/or comprehensive coverage on an older vehicle. I am asked this question daily. It's a gamble and some times you lose. I'm sorry that you find yourself on the short end of the stick this time, Noodles. There are clients in my office that choose to self insure their physical damage coverage, many with high end cars. However when something happens, at least it was their decision what coverage to carry. I've never heard the term "basic" referring to a policy that includes theft, so whoever you spoke to monkey wrenched your understanding of what your policy included.
As your situation unfortunately exemplifies: generally, when discussing coverage try to avoid the common slang of "1 way", "basic" or "full coverage".
You should to address each of the following individually:
- accident benefits
- additional endorsements
You have to make decisions about each, so take the time and talk about them. If the company doesn't require a signed application for putting the policy in place, request a break-down of the coverages you've selected, IN WRITING! Sometimes waiting until they mail you a policy is too late.
When obtaining a quote most people ask what the difference is for liability only versus liability with collision & comprehensive. The difference is almost always a significant number; so people, many who are on the fence about what additional coverages they need, decline the physical damage coverage to save some money.
What is not often discussed is the price of adding just Comprehensive or Specified Perils coverage (aka: fire and theft). They are available with or without collision, depending on the company. Specified Perils is a reduced coverage vs Comprehensive therefore it is also a reduced price vs comprehensive.
Specified perils, on it's own, is what is commonly called, "parking coverage" though this is a bit of a misnomer as it doesn't really cover everything that can happen to your car when it is parked. see: Summer Rides, Winter Beaters & Insurance
This is going to become a bigger issue as many insurance companies are shying away from older cars. Most have a predetermined vehicle age (usually 12-15 yrs old) at which they want pictures from all angles of the car and some even want a current safety certificate before they will add the physical damage coverage. Those are the reasonable companies. Some will not offer physical damage coverage if your car is over 10-12 years old, period.
This is a downfall of dealing with a bank/direct writer/insurance agent. They can only propose coverage based on the rules of the single company they represent. So you may hear, "full coverage is not available because your car is too old". Do not take that as a blanket statement which applies to all insurance companies. If you are being told you can't get the coverage you asked for, the next question you need to be asking is, "is this coverage available elsewhere in the insurance market". Then call a broker. We ("we" being insurance brokers in general) represent multiple companies and can likely find you a policy with all the coverages you want.
For the record: When I started responding, the reason the coverage was not carried was unknown... I hypothesized either he opted out of it due to older car in rough shape, or the company didn't offer it. looks like it was: C) none of the above.
Noodles, what company did you insure with and how long ago was the policy set up?