Drivers Fail Car Insurance Test with Average Score of 32 Percent

Share Article’s quiz reveals scant understanding of car insurance fundamentals.

Drivers may see their policies as gobbledygook. Their eyes are moving over the words but there’s no understanding.

Drivers failed's new test of car insurance basics, with an average score of only 32 percent. In an analysis of results by gender, age and region, no group scored higher than 39 percent accuracy.'s "Insured and Confused" survey asked 500 drivers 10 multiple-choice questions about auto insurance coverage terms and discounts. The findings show that many drivers have no understanding of what they're buying when purchasing auto insurance.

The quiz asked respondents to identify the correct definitions of basic auto insurance terms. On seven out of 10 questions, less than half of respondents were able to make the correct picks. Accuracy was even in the single digits for a few questions:

1. What does comprehensive coverage pay for? -- 2 percent
2. What are typical discounts auto insurance companies will offer if you qualify? -- 7 percent
3. What factors can car insurance companies typically use when setting rates for full coverage? -- 8 percent
4. What does uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pay for? -- 14 percent
5. What does collision coverage pay for? -- 23 percent
6. What does auto liability coverage pays for? -- 26 percent
7. If a friend told you she has liability limits of 25/50/40, what does that mean? -- 41 percent
8. If your car is totaled, what does gap insurance pay for? -- 55 percent
9. What does Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments coverage pay for? -- 69 percent
10. If a friend borrows your car and crashes it, whose insurance pays? -- 71 percent

“An accuracy rate of 2 percent for defining ‘comprehensive coverage’ is especially troubling,” said Michelle Megna, managing editor of “Unfortunately its name is quite misleading – it’s not ‘comprehensive’ at all -- which clearly leads to confusion among auto insurance buyers.”

Women know more

Here are notable average scores by demographic:    

  •     Ladies outscore men. Women scored 35 percent on the test; men could answer 27 percent of the questions correctly.
  •     Drivers in the South beat those in the Northeast by 10 percentage points:

South: 34 percent
West: 32 percent
Midwest: 31 percent
Northeast: 29 percent

  •     Drivers age 40 and older got 39 percent of the answers right; those age 18 to 29 answered 24 percent of the questions correctly.

Results indicate that taking the time to read an auto insurance policy does not lead to a better grasp of the basics. Drivers who have never read their policies scored the highest in basic knowledge.

“Drivers may see their policies as gobbledygook,” said Megna. “Their eyes are moving over the words but there’s no understanding.”

  •     People who have read their entire policy scored the lowest, getting an average score of 28 percent.
  •     People who have read part of their policy also got low marks, with an average score of 29 percent.
  •     Those who never read their policy performed the best, with an average score of 35 percent.

Despite lack of knowledge, there’s no shortage of bravado. Drivers who think they have "excellent" car insurance knowledge scored the lowest.

  •     Drivers who rated themselves as having "excellent" car insurance knowledge got an average score of 26 percent.
  •     Those who said they have a "poor" level of knowledge received an average score of 27 percent.
  •     Those who claim a "terrible" level of knowledge snagged an average score of 28 percent.
  •     Drivers who rated themselves as having "good" or "O.K." levels of knowledge had an average score of 34 percent.

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Methodology commissioned a survey of 500 drivers age 18 and older and asked 10 multiple-choice questions on the basics of car insurance. The survey was fielded in January 2013.

About                            is a comprehensive resource of consumer insurance information and data. The website features articles, news and tools on auto, home, health and life insurance topics; life insurance quotes; and guides to help consumers find cheap car insurance. Consumers have access to free car insurance quotes and guidance on finding the right insurance policy, saving money and solving claims problems. is owned and operated by QuinStreet Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit

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Michelle Megna
Managing Editor,

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