Liability insurance is a type of auto insurance coverage required by law in most states. If you cause an accident, in other words: if you are responsible for the accident, liability coverage helps pay for the other person’s expenses.
There are two types of auto liability coverage: bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. Drivers in most states are required to have both types of coverage.
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WHAT DOES LIABILITY INSURANCE COVER?
Auto liability insurance helps cover the other person’s medical expenses and property damage with these two types of coverage:
- Bodily injury liability coverage (sometimes abbreviated as “BI”)
- If you’re at fault in an accident that injures someone else, bodily injury liability coverage helps pay for your medical expenses.
- Property Damage Liability (sometimes abbreviated as “PD”) coverage
- If you cause an accident that damages someone else’s property (your car, for example), liability coverage helps pay for repairs.
LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE LIMITS
The amount your insurer will pay for a covered liability insurance claim depends on the coverage limits you choose. Each state sets minimum coverage limits for bodily injury and property damage liability that drivers must purchase, but you can choose to buy additional coverage. You may see three liability coverage limits on your auto insurance policy:
- Property damage liability limit.
- This is the maximum amount your insurer would pay to repair the damage you cause to someone else’s property. The full payment will not exceed the limit you have set.
- Bodily injury liability limit per person.
- This establishes a maximum payment for each injured individual in an accident that you cause.
- Limit of liability for bodily injury per accident.
- This limits the total amount your insurance provider will pay for all medical expenses that other people incur from an accident you cause. It’s essential to set this limit to an amount you feel comfortable with, as it may be necessary to help pay for medical expenses incurred by multiple people.
Most insurers offer both bodily injury and property damage liability limits together. For example, you may be able to purchase liability coverage for your car with limits similar to the following:
- 25/50/10 ($25,000 bodily injury limit per person, $50,000 limit per accident, $10,000 property damage limit.)
- 100/300/50 ($100,000 bodily injury limit per person, $300,000 limit per accident, $50,000 property damage limit.)
You may have to choose your coverage limits from packages offered by your insurer. In other words, you may not be able to elect separate limits for bodily injury or property damage coverage.
HOW MUCH LIABILITY INSURANCE SHOULD YOU BUY?
Any costs exceeding your liability coverage limits are your responsibility; in other words, you would have to pay for it out of your pocket. It may be a good idea to increase your auto liability limits above the state’s minimum requirements by purchasing more coverage.
Consider the following: You are at fault in an accident that injured three people in another car. Your bodily injury liability limit per person is $50,000, and your bodily injury limit per accident is $100,000. If Person 1’s medical bills total $40,000, Person 2’s costs are $30,000, and Person 3’s prices are $25,000, you are likely covered since each person’s bills were less than $50,000 (your bodily injury limit per person). person) and the total cost of the injuries is $95,000, which is less than your bodily injury limit of $100,000 for a single accident.
WHAT DOES LIABILITY INSURANCE NORMALLY NOT COVER?
Liability coverage typically doesn’t pay for damage to your car after an accident — collision coverage helps.
Liability coverage also does not extend to costs related to your injuries after an accident you cause. If you want this type of coverage, you may want to consider medical payments coverage.