Here’s Why You NEED Liability in Your Car Insurance Policy

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All finger-pointing and tattletaling aside: when it comes to a car accident, someone’s at fault.

And whether or not it’s you, it’s important to know how your car insurance policy helps you move forward, whether you’ve dealt with a minor fender-bender or devastating wreckage.

Liability coverage is one way that your insurance company helps heal injuries, repair damages, and lighten the financial blow after you’re found at fault for an accident. But your wallet shouldn’t suffer if you made an honest mistake behind the wheel.

Insurify is there to help you compare auto insurance quotes from top-ranked national and regional insurance companies. How much can you save on your auto insurance policy? You’d be surprised. The average driver saves about $489 a year with Insurify.

You can even adjust your liability coverage limits to reflect state minimum coverage or higher.

So, what does liability coverage actually refer to?

What is liability coverage? 

Every car insurance policy includes two types of liability coverage. Both are necessary and apply when you are found to be at fault for an accident. 

  • Bodily injury liability coverage (BI) covers the cost of medical expenses associated with treating injuries suffered by anyone involved in the accident…except you. This extends to other drivers, pedestrians, or unrelated passengers in your car. Bodily injury coverage applies to ongoing medical payments, loss of income, funeral costs, and legal expenses.
  • Property damage liability coverage (PD) applies to damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property. Property damage coverage applies to the cost of repairs for anything that isn’t yours, including building fronts, fences, or mailboxes.

Both types of auto liability insurance are included in your standard car insurance policy. (That’s why it’s so important to be insured in the first place.) But as a policyholder, you have a degree of freedom in determining just how high your car insurance coverage levels go. 

When you start reviewing car insurance options, you’ll notice that minimum requirements are usually expressed as three numbers in form of XX/XX/XX. These numbers (in thousands) represent the dollar amounts in bodily injury liability maximum for one person injured in the accidentbodily injury liability maximum for all injuries in one accident, and property damage liability maximum for one accident, in that order.

Here’s what these coverage limits will look like on your Insurify quotes page:

The higher the limits you set, the more covered you’ll be, and the more potential risk will be accounted for. But your premiums will rise, too. 

You also have the freedom to choose coverage options that make sense with your spending power, vehicle type, and state’s requirements. More on that below.

Non-liability policy limits and coverage

Another type of coverage typical of a car insurance policy is comprehensive and collision

Comprehensive coverage applies to damages incurred after “Acts of God” and things out of a person’s control, like a fire or flood, whereas collision coverage covers damage to objects (not animals or people) and vehicles as a result of a collision regardless of fault. You have the power to determine coverage limits for these products based on deductibles you choose. You can also opt out of comprehensive and collision altogether, although not if your car is leased or loaned. Read more about comprehensive insurance and collision insurance here.

Personal Injury Protection (also known as PIP, or no-fault insurance) is another form of coverage that applies to you and any of your immediate family members injured in an accident, regardless of fault. Some states require it by law; others offer it as a supplementary coverage option.

The term “full coverage” car insurance often refers to liability insurance, plus comprehensive and collision. “Full coverage” car insurance doesn’t really exist on its own. Companies will offer these coverages, but you have to opt into buying the “complete package.” Even then, you won’t have PIP, or other forms of coverage, like uninsured/underinsured motoristThe more coverages you purchase as part of your car insurance policy, the more secure you’ll be in any type of scenario, spanning all categories of fault, property type, and injured party. 

Q: Does liability insurance cover my car if someone hits me?

A: Yours won’t. Theirs will. 

My, how the tables have turned! In the event your car is busted up in an accident for which you’re not at fault, the other party’s liability car insurance must cover the expenses associated with the damage. The other party’s bodily injury coverage will also cover your medical bills.

Q: What if the other driver doesn’t have liability insurance? 

A: Prepare for that possibility by purchasing some uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. 

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage insures you in the event that the at-fault party does not have liability insurance to compensate for bodily injuries or property damage.

Minimum liability insurance coverage amounts

Minimum limits on policy coverage are important to note because they vary per state.

Liability limits usually come in the form of state minimum protection, standard protection, asset protection, premium protection, and custom protection. The higher your coverage limits, the higher your premium will be.

Keep in mind this language is not universal, and certain insurance companies only specialize in certain coverage levels (like state minimum coverage, i.e. the least amount of coverage required by law in your state).

On Insurify, you’ll be quoted for all of these coverage levels. Use the sidebar on your quotes page to toggle between options and see your rates go up and down accordingly.

What are my state’s minimum liability insurance limits?

StateState Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
1
Alabama$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
2
Alaska$50,000 bodily injury liability per person
$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
3
Arizona$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
4
Arkansas$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
5
California$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
6
Colorado$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
7
Connecticut$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
8
Delaware$15,000 for bodily injury, per person per accident
$25,000 for bodily injury, total per accident
$10,000 for property damage per accident
9
Florida$10,000 no-fault or personal injury protection insurance
$10,000 property damage liability insurance
10
Georgia$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
11
Hawaii$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$10,000 personal injury protection
12
Idaho$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
13
Illinois$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
14
Indiana$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
15
Iowa$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
16
Kansas$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Personal injury protection
17
Kentucky$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$10,000 personal injury protection
18
Louisiana$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
19
Maine$50,000 bodily injury liability per person
$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$2,000 medical payments coverage
20
Maryland$30,000 bodily injury liability per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
21
Massachusetts$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
$20,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$40,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$8,000 personal injury protection
22
Michigan$20,000 bodily injury liability per person
$40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
Unlimited personal injury protection
$1 million property protection
23
Minnesota$30,000 bodily injury liability per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
24
Mississippi$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
25
Missouri$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
26
Montana$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
27
Nebraska$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
28
Nevada$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
29
New HampshireIn the state of New Hampshire, car insurance is not mandatory. The state requires drivers to pay for any injury or property damage arising from their vehicles. To avoid legal repercussions of an unexpected accident, it is recommended that New Hampshire drivers purchase insurance just in case. New Hampshire’s minimum liability car insurance limits are as follows:
$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage
$1,000 medical payments coverage
30
New Jersey$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
$15,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
31
New Mexico$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
32
New York$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000 liability for death per person
$100,000 liability for death per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$50,000 personal injury protection
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
33
North Carolina$30,000 bodily injury liability per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$30,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$60,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
34
North Dakota$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
$30,000 personal injury protection
35
Ohio$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
36
Oklahoma$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
37
Oregon$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$15,000 personal injury protection
38
Pennsylvania$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$5,000 property damage liability per accident
$5,000 medical benefits
39
Rhode Island$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
40
South Carolina$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage
41
South Dakota$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
42
Tennessee$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
43
Texas$30,000 bodily injury liability per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident
44
Utah$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$65,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$15,000 property damage liability per accident
$3,000 personal injury protection
45
Vermont$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
$10,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
46
Virginia$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident
47
Washington$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
48
Washington, D.C.
$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$20,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
$5,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
49
West Virginia$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
50
Wisconsin$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 property damage liability per accident
$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
51
Wyoming$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident

So…how much liability insurance do I need?

Auto insurance coverage should, and can, be customized to fit your specific needs, financial situation, and driver profile. But they can also increase after an accident even if you’re not at fault. (Learn more about which companies allow you to skirt this with accident forgiveness.) Even if you’re a stellar driver, auto insurance rates can skyrocket if you’re not careful about setting your coverage and deductible limits in advance of an auto accident. 

But what’s most important is that others are protected in the event of such an accident. That’s what car insurance is all about!

Insurify gives you the tools you need to make empowered decisions about your car insurance. Isn’t that what we all need…just a little nudge? 

Browse, Compare, Discover with Insurify today!

Nick Dehn is a writer currently serving as a content specialist for Insurify. A seasoned writer, Nick has produced feature pieces, opinion editorials, and press releases for start-ups, small businesses, and local news publications. He now develops content full-time for Insurify, researching and writing data-driven studies and producing insights on the insurance industry. Nick is an alumnus of Williams College, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English and Sociology. He hails from Wilton, CT but has recently set roots in Cambridge, MA. Nick enjoys exploring the greater Boston area, making stir-fry, and award-show prognosticating.