Bodily Injury Liability | Bankrate

Your auto policy includes several types of coverage, and while all of these are often important, your bodily injury liability insurance plays a vital role in helping you protect yourself financially after an at-fault accident. Adequate bodily injury coverage is not only essential to a comprehensive auto insurance policy, but more than likely you will need to carry a minimum level of this type of coverage to drive legally in your state. If you’re wondering how this type of coverage works or how much you should carry, Bankrate has broken down what you need to know about bodily injury liability insurance.

key points

  • Bodily injury liability insurance offers out-of-pocket protection when you injure others in a car accident.
  • Bodily injury liability insurance does not cover medical costs for you and your passengers. Nor does it pay to repair vehicle or property damage.
  • Most states require residents to maintain minimum levels of bodily injury liability coverage, but many experts recommend increasing these limits to realistically address risk in today’s litigation environment.
  • what is bodily injury liability?

    Bodily injury coverage pays for the medical expenses of the other party if you are at fault in an accident. If you injure the other driver (or their passengers) in an accident where you were at fault, your bodily injury coverage will usually step in to pay. however, it is important to know that if the other party’s medical bills exceed the bodily injury coverage amount of your policy, you are responsible for making up the difference.

    Reading: How much bodily injury insurance should i have

    If you don’t have the funds to pay, the other party could take you to court to recover unpaid losses related to the accident. To avoid what could be a significant out-of-pocket expense, it is generally recommended that you have sufficient bodily injury coverage. the best auto insurance companies will help customize a package that balances affordability with protection.

    what does bodily injury liability insurance cover?

    Bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for several types of expenses, including:

    • Funeral expenses: If another driver or your passenger is killed in a car accident caused by you, your bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for funeral and burial costs .
    • Legal Expenses: When an accident victim sues you for causing bodily injury, this type of coverage can help pay your attorney fees and a court award.
    • Lost wages: If injuries make an accident victim unable to work, your bodily injury liability coverage can help replace lost wages.
    • Medical bills: Bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for various medical expenses, including emergency room fees, hospital costs, medical equipment, and surgery bills . coverage may also pay for doctor visits and rehabilitation costs.
    • Pain and Suffering: In addition to paying your legal costs, your bodily injury liability coverage may also pay the accident victim for pain and suffering caused by injuries.
    • What does bodily injury liability insurance not cover?

      As you can see, bodily injury liability coverage can cover a variety of expenses. however, it will not cover:

      • Medical expenses for you and your passengers: To cover medical bills for you and your passengers, you will need to have coverage for medical payments or personal injury protection.
      • Damage to another driver’s vehicle: To cover damage you cause to another driver’s car, you’ll need property damage liability coverage.
      • Damage to your car: Comprehensive and collision coverages protect your vehicle, but bodily injury liability coverage does not.
      • How much bodily injury liability insurance do you need?

        Most states require motorists to carry minimum levels of auto insurance. most require every driver to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability coverages. some also require all drivers to have medical payments or personal injury protection coverages, and some states also require car owners to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, or both.

        State laws also dictate the minimum levels of liability coverage you must purchase. When you research the required coverages you must have, you’ll likely see the requirements described as three numbers, separated by forward slashes. For example, Arizona requires drivers to carry bodily injury and personal property liability coverages, with minimum limits of 25/50/15. this is what each number means:

        • 25: $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage to cover medical costs for one person in a single accident.
        • 50: $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage to cover the medical costs of more than one person in a single accident.
        • 15: $15,000 in property damage liability to cover another driver’s repair costs when you are at fault in an accident.
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          The minimum amounts of liability coverage you must purchase vary by state. however, this three number way of describing the requirement applies to all states.

          bankrate’s study of auto insurance rates by state for 2022 includes a list of the minimum bodily injury liability limits required in each state:

          * under s481, the bodily injury minimum limit on a standard policy in new jersey will increase to $25,000/$50,000 effective January 1, 2023. this minimum limit will increase again on January 1, 2026 to $35,000/$70,000.

          Is bodily injury coverage required in all states?

          While nearly all states require bodily injury coverage, there are a few exceptions, namely Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New Jersey. While these states may not explicitly require bodily injury coverage, they do have other mandates that drivers must meet to satisfy state requirements.

          In Florida, the only two coverages you must have are Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD). While some drivers have the option to waive bodily injury coverage, that doesn’t mean Floridians don’t need to have protection for other people’s injuries. In lieu of bodily injury, drivers with a net worth of at least $40,000 may waive this coverage and meet financial responsibility requirements by submitting a notarized copy of a financial statement to DMV. however, not all auto insurance companies offer the option to waive bodily injury. In addition, you may still be charged with bodily injury if you have a serious violation on your record, such as a DUI. If you wish to waive your bodily injury coverage in Florida, you may contact your agent for more information.

          new hampshire auto insurance laws are unique. In fact, New Hampshire is one of the only states in the country that doesn’t require auto insurance. However, like Florida, the state may require you to have SR-22 insurance if you have been convicted of a felony or were uninsured in an accident.

          While Virginia does not technically require its drivers to carry auto insurance, they must pay an annual uninsured driver fee of $500 to waive the typical insurance requirement. Even if a driver chooses to pay the uninsured motorist fee, the uninsured driver is still liable for any damages or injuries they may cause in an accident. this fee is also not used to provide coverage if needed after an accident.

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          There are two main types of policies available in new jersey: basic and standard. Although bodily injury coverage is required in a standard policy, this coverage is optional for those covered by a basic policy. however, drivers with a basic policy can still choose to suffer bodily injury, but the maximum limit is quite low at $10,000 per accident.

          Even if you live in a state that does not require bodily injury, giving up this coverage could have devastating consequences. According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the national average cost of bodily injury in an accident was $20,235 in 2020. For many drivers, this unexpected expense could be a tremendous hardship, leading to asset forfeiture. and even bankruptcy.

          In addition to the potential for a hefty payout, being involved in an at-fault accident without bodily injury can result in license suspensions and fines, even if this coverage is optional. Take Florida, for example. If you are at fault in an accident, causing injury, and do not have bodily injury coverage, the DMV may suspend your license if you did not provide the proper documents to meet the financial responsibility requirements. Additionally, you may need to purchase SR-22 insurance.

          bodily injury liability limits

          California requires all motorists to have at least $15,000 in bodily injury coverage to pay medical bills for one person in an accident and $30,000 to cover medical costs for more than one person. but that is most likely not enough. In fact, the minimum liability limits required in all states do not reflect the true cost of paying for car accident injuries.

          according to the us medicare and medicaid service centers, the average cost of repairing a broken leg can cost as much as $7,500 and a three-day hospital stay can cost $30,000. therefore, if you are at fault in an accident and the other driver suffers a broken leg, medical bills could cost $37,000 or more. that does not include compensation for lost wages or pain and suffering. If you only purchased the minimum level of California bodily injury liability coverage, you’d be on the hook for at least $22,000. If the injured driver does not have health insurance or underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to sue to recover losses.

          Financial experts recommend that you have at least $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for one injured person and $300,000 to pay for the expenses of multiple victims. most major auto insurance providers will allow you to increase your coverage to these levels, maybe even higher.

          For maximum protection, purchase a general liability policy. umbrella insurance takes over when your auto insurance liability coverages reach their limits. For example, if you cause an accident and the other driver is injured costing $350,000 in medical expenses, but you only have $300,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, your umbrella policy may cover the additional $50,000.

          Although they start at $1 million in coverage, an umbrella policy is generally one of the cheapest insurance policies you can buy. A single umbrella policy adds an extra layer of liability coverage to your auto and home or renters policies.

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          frequently asked questions

            • Where can I find information about my state’s auto insurance requirements?
              • How do I file a bodily injury liability claim?
                • how much does bodily injury liability coverage cost?