How much bodily injury liability coverage do I need?

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UPDATED: 2022-08-08T15:34:06.675Z
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woman with broken arm from car accident

No matter how cautious you are while driving, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. And if you’re found at fault for an accident, you’re required to pay for the other driver’s damages and any injuries they or their passengers suffered. To avoid having to foot these bills out of you own pocket, states require you purchase minimum coverages of liability insurance.

The portion of your car insurance that protects you from any injuries you may cause to another driver or their passengers is called bodily injury liability insurance. And how much bodily injury liability coverage you have can be critical to ensuring you don’t have any out of pocket costs in the event of an accident.

What is bodily injury liability insurance?

Bodily injury liability insurance is a type of car insurance coverage that covers bodily injury caused by a driver to another person or persons (can be multiple drivers, pedestrians, and passengers). Bodily injury liability insurance typically covers medical expenses, legal expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses (in some cases) of these person or persons.

All states in the U.S., except New Hampshire and Florida, require drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage. While New Hampshire requires drivers to have adequate cash in hand to compensate people who are injured in an accident they caused, Florida drivers must meet the state’s minimum personal injury protection and property damage liability coverage.

Each policy uses a series of numbers to denote the coverage limit provided. The first number in the series signifies the maximum amount the car insurance company will pay per person in accident the policyholder is at fault for while the second number is the maximum total amount the insurer will pay in case multiple people sustain injuries in an accident.

A 25/50 policy, for instance, will pay a maximum of $25,000 to a single person and up to $50,000 to all people injured in an accident. The driver has to bear any expenses that exceed this amount.

What’s not covered by bodily injury liability?

A bodily injury liability coverage does not cover any medical expenses incurred by the driver at fault or their passengers. The policy would also not cover any damage sustained by the insured person’s car — this is covered by property damage liability insurance.

How much liability insurance do I need?

How much bodily injury liability is required varies by state. Drivers should, however, remember that this is the minimum requirement and the amount may not be adequate to cover all losses that the aggrieved party incurs, which is why it makes sense to opt for higher coverage limits.

How much bodily injury liability coverage you need will depend on your financial standing and the risk you want to take on. When shopping for a policy, your car insurance company will give you multiple options for your liability limits. A higher limit means that your insurer will pay a higher amount while a lower limit means your insurer is responsible for less coverage. Car insurance rates are higher for higher limits as your insurer is taking on larger risk.

When determining the amount of coverage you need, an important factor to consider is the amount of assets you hold. If your insurance isn’t adequate to cover the damage, the plaintiff may take you to the court. In case the judge rules in their favor, your assets may be liquidated to compensate the victim. A lower limit exposes your assets to risk, which is why it makes sense to opt for a higher limit, if you have a substantial amount of assets.

Many insurance experts recommend you purchase 100/300 bodily injury limits for sufficient coverage in the event of a costly accident.

If you’re interested in additional liability protection, you can purchase an umbrella insurance policy, which provides extra liability insurance on top of your car insurance.

Minimum liability insurance required by each state

State Minimum liability limits
Alabama 25/50/25
Alaska 50/100/25
Arizona 15/30/10
Arkansas 25/50/25
California 15/30/5 (1)
Colorado 25/50/15
Connecticut 25/50/20
Delaware 25/50/10
Florida 10/20/10 (1)
Georgia 25/50/25
Hawaii 20/40/10
Idaho 25/50/15
Illinois 25/50/20
Indiana 25/50/25
Iowa 20/40/15
Kansas 25/50/25
Kentucky 25/50/25 (1)
Louisiana 15/30/25
Maine 50/100/25
Maryland 30/60/15
Massachusetts 20/40/5
Michigan 20/40/10
Minnesota 30/60/10
Mississippi 25/50/25
Missouri 25/50/25
Montana 25/50/20
Nebraska 25/50/25
Nevada 25/50/20
New Hampshire 25/50/25
New Jersey 15/30/5 (2)
New Mexico 25/50/10
New York 25/50/10
North Carolina 30/60/25
North Dakota 25/50/25
Ohio 25/50/25
Oklahoma 25/50/25
Oregon 25/50/20
Pennsylvania 15/30/5
Rhode Island 25/50/25
South Carolina 25/50/25
South Dakota 25/50/25
Tennessee 25/50/15 (1)
Texas 30/60/25
Utah 25/65/15 (1)
Vermont 25/50/10
Virginia 25/50/20
Washington 25/50/10
Washington, D.C. 25/50/10
West Virginia 25/50/25
Wisconsin 25/50/10
Wyoming 25/50/20

(1) Drivers are able to meet liability requirements with a policy with a combined single limit. Limits vary by state. (2) These limits are for a standard policy. Drivers also have the option of choosing a basic policy with limits of 10/10/5.

What is a bodily injury claim and what does it include?

A bodily injury claim is made by the aggrieved party in an automobile accident. The claim is filed against the person who is found at fault for the accident. A bodily injury claim typically includes information related to the type of injury the plaintiff sustained, the date of the injury, how the events folded on that day, the prognosis and the length of treatment.

To prove their claims, the aggrieved party has to provide evidence, such as photographs of their injuries and the scene, medical records, proof of lost wages (to be provided by the employer) and receipts of expenses.

Once the plaintiff files the claim, a liability claim examiner interviews them to assess the nature and extent of injuries sustained by them. Based on the assessment, the person is offered a compensation. They can either accept the offer or file a lawsuit, if they think the compensation is inadequate.

How much does bodily injury liability coverage cost?

How much bodily injury liability coverage costs will depend on a number of factors, such as the driver’s age and their driving record. To see sample car insurance rates in your state, visit our car insurance rankings page and enter your zip code.

The content on this site is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. This site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an insurance company or an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. The comments and opinions expressed on this site are of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the insurance company or any individual attorney.

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