In most states in the country, liability insurance is a requirement. Without this type of insurance, you won’t be able to legally register or drive your car. But what are bodily injury and property damage liability coverage?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what auto liability coverage is and how it protects you in the case of an accident. We’ll also discover how much liability insurance costs, and what happens if you’re caught driving without it.
Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability Insurance Coverage
Most states in the United States are what’s called “at-fault” states. That means that, in the event of an accident, the person who caused that accident is financially responsible.
Of course, most of us couldn’t be reasonably expected to pay for damage to vehicles, medical expenses, time missed from work, and all the other expenses associated with a car accident. That’s why liability coverage is required.
Liability insurance is exactly what its name implies: it’s insurance that protects you financially if you’re found liable for accident-related damages. Bodily injury liability coverage will assist with medical expenses for the other party. Property damage liability coverage will assist with the repairs for physical property.
It’s against the law in many states to drive without these types of coverage. But why are they so important? What, exactly, do they cover? Let’s take a look.
What Does Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Do?
The bodily injury liability coverage you carry on your vehicle covers the medical expenses of the other party involved in the accident. This may include:
- Doctor visits
- Hospital visits
- Emergency transport
- X-rays and other tests
- Lost wages
- Legal fees
- Funeral expenses
Each state that requires this coverage has specified a minimum amount. Check with the DMV in your state or with your insurance agent to discover what that minimum is.
What Does Property Damage Coverage Do?
Your property damage insurance covers damages to the other party’s physical property. The insurance will certainly help cover expenses related to a damaged vehicle, but other property may be covered as well. For instance, if you hit someone’s fence or mailbox with your vehicle, your property damage liability coverage will pay for this expense.
Note that property damage liability coverage does not pay for the damages to your own property. If you need this insurance protection, consider comprehensive and collision insurance coverage. These insurance types will help pay for repairs to your car after an accident.
How Much Does Auto Liability Coverage Cost?
The price of your liability insurance will vary based on a number of factors, most notably the state you live in. Michigan has the highest-priced insurance in the country-your liability insurance will average $1,368 per year here. The least expensive liability insurance is bought in Maine where you’ll pay, on average, $927 per year.
In addition to your location, your insurance rates may be different than your neighbor’s. This is because insurers will look at:
- Your age
- Your sex
- Your zip code
- The type of car you drive
- How frequently you drive
- How you use your vehicle (personal, ride share, etc.)
- Your marital status
- Your credit score
- Your insurance history
As you can see, bodily injury and property damage liability coverage isn’t a one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to get a personalized quote from an insurer to determine exactly what your premium will be.
Can I Drive Without Liability Insurance?
In states where liability insurance is required, you can get into some serious legal trouble if you’re caught driving without it. The immediate consequence is usually revocation of your license plates and suspension of your registration. In some states, you may have your license suspended if you don’t have adequate liability coverage.
The repercussions for driving without liability insurance may be more severe if you’re involved in an accident. You can face license and registration revocation, heavy fines and fees, and even jail time. Subsequent offenses can mean harsher penalties and may even mean permanent loss of your driving privileges.
To put it simply, it’s best to keep your car insurance current and up to date. Failure to do so can mean time in court, pricey fines, and a great deal of inconvenience.
Conclusion: Bodily Injury and Liability Insurance
In most states, bodily injury and property damage coverage are not optional. These coverages are mandatory, but they protect you against financial responsibility if you’re in an accident. Talk to an agent at your preferred insurance company to ascertain how much liability coverage is right for you.