Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
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We get insurance to protect us when the unthinkable happens. And when our own actions on the road result in an accident, that protection becomes even more vital.
Bodily injury liability coverage can shelter you from financial responsibility when you are at fault in an accident that results in physical injury to your passengers or any other person. Whether it’s minor bumps and bruises or injury-related death, you (the at-fault driver) will carry the burden of paying for medical care and much more.
When you shop for a car insurance policy, bodily injury liability coverage typically falls under the general umbrella of liability coverage. "Liability" means "responsibility," and it refers to two different types of financial responsibility in an accident: damage done to people (bodily injury) and damage done to the vehicles or other property (property damage).
If you get into a wreck and are at fault, your bodily injury liability coverage will then kick into action.
Note: Fault is a very critical factor in car accidents, because it determines who must pay for all the damage. If the accident results in physical injuries to you, your passengers, or anyone else involved, be sure to contact law enforcement (if they are not already present). The law enforcement officer will typically declare someone at fault after learning the details of the collision.
Bodily injury liability coverage does not cover your own injuries or the injuries of anyone else named on your insurance policy. Those injuries are usually covered by personal injury protection coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage does, however, cover any other person involved in the accident. It is often used to pay for one or more of the following:
- Medical bills
- Time lost from work
- Legal representation for injured parties
- Funeral expenses
- Long-term rehabilitation or nursing care
- "Pain and suffering," which is an amount determined by a court to address the emotional or physical stress the accident or injuries caused
There are exceptions to every rule, and this goes for your liability coverage. Be sure to check your policy carefully to know these exceptions. Here’s one that’s probably common to all policies, and probably also a no-brainer: Your policy won’t cover injuries in an accident that you intentionally caused.
Simply put, every driver. You never know when you might cause an accident, and you can easily protect yourself from the staggering debt caused by legal suits or extensive medical costs.
At this time, however, not all states require this coverage. But you should know that the states that don’t require it also don’t offer any extra protection against financial responsibility in an accident―meaning that no matter where you live, if you cause an accident with bodily injury to a person, you will be liable for all costs.
Some states that require the coverage will waive that requirement as long as you can show proof of financial responsibility in another way. Usually that means a bond in a specific amount (varying by state) issued by an authorized company, or a certificate of self-insurance (this mostly applies to dealers or companies with more than 25 insured vehicles).
All major car insurance carriers offer bodily injury liability coverage, even in states where it is not required. Shop around to find the coverage that best suits your needs.
Your cost for the coverage is based on how much coverage you want. The higher the amounts, the higher your cost will be.
If bodily injury liability coverage is required in your state, chances are that the minimum requirement is listed in a "split" amount, such as 15/30 or 50/100. Bodily injury coverage policies always have two amounts, representing:
- The maximum payout per person
- The maximum payout in total
If your policy has bodily injury coverage of 50/100, that means it will pay up to $50,000 per person injured in an accident, but only to a maximum of $100,000.
A good rule of thumb for many buyers is to purchase the highest bodily injury liability coverage limit they can afford. If your coverage isn’t sufficient to pay for all injury-related costs in an accident you caused, the injured person’s lawyer can then come after you for the remainder of the money.
However, if you’re bringing in barely $30,000 a year and don’t own a home or any other valuable assets―meaning the lawyers wouldn’t get much even if they did sue you―it might make more sense to purchase a lower level of coverage for the time being. Just remember to increase your coverage as your needs change and your assets increase.
In This Section
Other Topics in This Section
- Liability Insurance Requirements
Find out about bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, including what they cover and how your policy's limits determine how much you'll receive in the event of a claim.
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Online Guide To Bodily Injury Liability Coverage. Get Online Info Cover Auto Insurance, Liability Insurance, Bodily Injury Coverage And Personal Injury.
- Property Damage Liability Coverage
Get Info On Property Damage Liability Coverage And Auto Insurance. We Cover Liability Insurance And Car Insurance Info If You Are Involved In An Auto Accident.
- When To Buy Liability Insurance
Find out how liability coverage can help protect your finances after an at-fault car accident.
- Non Owner Liability Insurance
Guide To Non Owner Liability Insurance. Learn More On Nonowned Vehicle Liability Coverage, Hired Auto Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance And Related Types Of Car Insurance Policies.
- Liability Limits
Info On Liability Limits And Auto Insurance Coverage. Limits Of Liability Insurance Vary By State. Learn How To Determine Liability Coverage Limits And Why States Have Car Insurance Minimums.
- Liability Investigation
Get Liability Investigation Info And Tips On Taking Care Of Auto Accident Damage With Car Insurance. Each Auto Insurance Company Will Investigate To Determine Who Is At Fault.
- How To Buy Liability Insurance
Liability coverage is required in many states. Find out how much you'll need and how to shop for an affordable policy that includes it.
- How To Get A Competitive Liability Insurance Quote
Tips On Getting A Competitive Liability Insurance Quote. Shop Multiple Car Insurance Companies. Compare Liability Coverage And Auto Insurance Rates Online. Learn How To Save Money.
- What To Look For In A Liability Policy
Get Liability Policy Info To Ensure You Get Adequate Car Insurance Coverage. Liability Insurance Policies And Limits Vary. Be Certain You Get Liability Coverage That Suits Your Needs.
- Tips On Working With A Liability Adjuster
How To Work With A Liability Adjuster If You Are Handling Car Accident Damages With An Auto Insurance Company. Get Info On Accident Claims, Liability Insurance And Car Insurance Coverage.
- How To Prepare For A Liability Investigation
Steps On Getting Prepared For An Auto Insurance Liability Investigation Following An Auto Accident. Learn More On Handling Car Insurance Claims And Car Accidents With An Insurance Company.
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