What is bodily injury liability insurance? – Forbes Advisor
Editorial Note: We earn a commission on partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
If you are involved in a car accident and found guilty, personal injury liability insurance covers the medical expenses of others. It also covers other costs, such as the other driver’s loss of income and your legal costs if you are sued because of the accident.
In most states, some level of bodily injury liability insurance is required.
What is bodily injury liability insurance?
Bodily liability insurance is part of your motor vehicle liability insurance. This helps cover the costs of injuries that other people incur as a result of an accident for which you are responsible. In other words, its purpose is not to reimburse the driver (like you) who caused the accident but to reimburse people in other vehicles involved in the accident who were injured.
Personal injury liability insurance generally has two separate limits of coverage: a limit per person and a limit per accident. These limits are often displayed as a series of numbers, such as 15/30/15. The first two digits are your bodily liability limits and the third digit is your property damage liability limit. For example, here is what 15/35/15 means.
- Limit of $15,000 in bodily injury for one person per accident
- Limit of $30,000 in bodily injury for more than one person per accident
- $15,000 property damage per accident
If you cause an accident and another person is injured, your per person limit of liability applies. But if more than one person is injured, your per accident limit applies to all of the combined injury costs that arise from the accident.
Do I need personal injury liability insurance?
All states except New Hampshire and Virginia require auto liability insurance, which includes bodily injury coverage. If your state requires it, you may need to present proof of insurance when registering a vehicle.
Even if liability coverage isn’t required by your state, it’s still a good idea to maintain basic coverage.
What does bodily injury liability insurance cover?
Personal injury liability insurance covers a range of costs associated with car accidents that you (or someone who was driving your car) cause to others.
Many types of medical expenses are covered for others involved in an accident you cause, such as emergency care, ongoing medical care and hospitalization costs.
If someone injured in the accident sues you, this liability insurance will cover your legal defense costs, court costs, judgments and settlements, up to the limits of your policy.
Loss of income
In cases where someone is injured in an accident you caused and they miss work as a result, bodily injury liability insurance can cover the income they lose as a direct result of the accident. ‘accident.
If the accident results in the death of another driver or one of his passengers, civil liability insurance can cover the funeral costs.
What does personal injury liability insurance not cover?
There are three main costs that personal injury liability insurance does not cover.
Your medical expenses
Personal injury liability insurance covers other people’s medical expenses as a result of the accident, but it does not cover your own medical expenses.
If you want coverage for your medical expenses, you may be able to purchase injury protection or medical payment coverage (MedPay), depending on your state.
If you cause an accident, the other driver’s vehicle is likely to be damaged. Or you could cause damage to someone else’s property, such as a fence or even a house or store. This is covered under the property damage portion of motor vehicle liability insurance.
Damage to your own vehicle
Personal liability insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle. If you want coverage for your vehicle’s repair bills, you’ll need to purchase collision insurance.
How much bodily injury insurance do I need?
The minimum amount of liability insurance you must have determined by state laws. But the minimum is usually insufficient and could leave you financially vulnerable if you cause an accident involving significant expense for others.
For example, auto insurance in Florida requires at least $10,000 in bodily injury per person. But it won’t get you very far if you cause a car accident and the other driver has a serious injury. You are still liable for any amount that exceeds the limits of your liability policy.
A good rule of thumb is to have enough liability coverage to protect what might be taken away from you in a lawsuit.
One way to get a higher level of liability insurance is to purchase personal umbrella insurance in addition to your auto insurance. This coverage will come into effect if the costs of an accident exceed the limits of your liability insurance.
Comprehensive auto insurance is worth considering if you want liability insurance and coverage for your own vehicle. Although there is no specific policy known as “full coverage”, it is generally a policy that includes liability insurance, collision insurance and comprehensive insurance.
Related: How much auto insurance do you need?
How much does personal injury liability insurance cost?
The national average cost of liability insurance is $650.35 per year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissions. This average includes bodily injury and property damage coverage.
The costs of your personal injury liability insurance will depend on factors such as:
- Where you live
- Your driving history
- Your coverage limits
- The type of car you drive
- Your claims history
- The policy limits you choose
Related: Civil Liability Insurance: Cost And Coverage