What is Liability Auto Insurance?

08/05/2021

On the way home from the grocery store, you're distracted as you back out of a parking space, hitting the car behind you. The other driver's car is damaged and the driver may be injured.

The police cite you for the accident. Now, you're facing both medical bills and property damage repair expenses from the other person's damaged car and injuries. Are you covered?

If you're at fault for an accident, liability auto insurance will help pay for the other driver's damaged property and medical injury claims, including incurred medical bills, up to the policy limit.

Understanding Auto Liability Insurance

To better understand what liability auto insurance is and how it works, it can help to start with the basics. For starters, there are two main components of automobile liability insurance: bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage.

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Bodily injury coverage, also known as BI, helps pay for the cost of injuries you were liable for from the accident.

Depending on your policy limits, your BI coverage will help pay for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages due to the accident
  • Pain and suffering

Your policy will also help cover your legal and court fees for your defense if the other person involved decides to sue.

  • Property Damage Liability Coverage

Property damage coverage, known as PD, helps pay for property damages, as well as loss of use for the other person's property if you are found legally responsible for the accident.

Depending on your exact policy coverage limits, it will help pay for:

  • Car repair and replacement costs of the other vehicle
  • Property damage, including any damage your vehicle caused during the accident, such as driving into a fence, building, tree or utility pole

Your policy will also help cover your legal and court fees if you get sued by anyone else in the accident.

What isn't Covered Under Liability Auto Insurance?

The most important thing to remember about liability car insurance is that it's there to cover the damage you cause. But to cover the bases—such as damages to your own car and your own medical bills—you'll want to make sure you have other forms of car insurance, including collision and comprehensive coverage. If you have other assets, such as your home, a boat or RV, you may want to consider umbrella coverage. It can increase your overall liability insurance limits.

Why is Liability Insurance Important?

Nearly every state requires drivers to have liability insurance. If you're unsure about the minimum requirements in your state, visit the department of motor vehicles website, you should find the information there. If not, ask your local independent insurance agent, they can help provide numbers, too. While you can choose the scope of your policy, you have to meet your state's required minimums.

In Ohio, for example, the state requires a minimum of $25,000 bodily coverage per person and $50,000 for all persons injured in any one accident. For property damage, it's a minimum of $25,000. If you live in Ohio and have the minimum levels of coverage, you may be required to pay any additional costs for damages and medical bills above your coverage amount if those costs are higher.

You can purchase more coverage if you want to. It is recommended that people have liability insurance up to their net wealth. So, if your net wealth is $300k, you should really have around that amount in insurance coverage. A good question to ask yourself is, "If I get into an accident do I have enough insurance limits to protect my net wealth?" If the answer is no, then you might want to consider adding higher coverage levels to your policy.

Stay protected

Once you're ready to hit the road, connect with Westfield. Our local agents live in your area so they know the ins and outs of coverage requirements and can help you make the best choice for your needs.

If you want to get more for your money, consider a Wespak Estate policy. You'll be able to combine your home and auto coverage for even more protection.

Interested? Get in touch with a Westfield agent near you today.