All About Liability Car Insurance

Learn more about liability coverage car insurance, what it covers, and how much you need to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
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Liability insurance covers medical expenses for injuries to drivers and passengers in a car accident you cause, as well as any property damage. This type of insurance represents the basic car insurance coverage you need to meet state requirements.
Your state laws determine a minimum amount of coverage you need to carry. Many experts suggest you should carry at least $100,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $300,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, and $50,000 of property damage coverage. Here are some must-know facts about liability car insurance, including how it works and what it covers.

How liability car insurance works

Liability insurance covers personal injury and property damage resulting from an accident you cause. Mandatory in every state, liability insurance includes bodily injury and property damage liability.
Bodily injury liability pays for:
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Legal fees
  • Funeral expenses
Property damage liability pays for:
  • Damage to another car
  • Damage to a house or other property struck by your car
  • Legal fees arising from a lawsuit associated with the accident
Coverage requirements vary by state. The following chart from ValuePenguin details the liability coverage requirements of each state.
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<table class="tg"> <tr> <th class="tg-pxac" colspan="2">Liability Coverage Requirements by State</th> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-amwm">State</td> <td class="tg-amwm">Body Injury Liability per Person/<br>Bodily Injury Liability per Accident/<br>Property Damage Coverage Requirements</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Alabama</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Alaska</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$50,000/100,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Arizona</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Arkansas</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">California</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/5,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Colorado</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Connecticut</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$20,000/40,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Delaware</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">District of Columbia</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Florida</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$10,000/20,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Georgia</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Hawaii</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$20,000/40,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Idaho</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Illinois</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$20,000/40,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Indiana</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Iowa</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$20,000/40,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Kansas</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Kentucky</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Louisiana</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Maine</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Maryland</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$30,000/60,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Massachusetts</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$30,000/60,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Michigan</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$20,000/40,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Minnesota</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$20,000/40,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Mississippi</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Missouri</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Montana</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Nebraska</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Nevada</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">New Hampshire</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">New Jersey</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/5,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">New Mexico</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">New York</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">North Carolina</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$30,000/60,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">North Dakota</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Ohio</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$12,500/25,000/7,500</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Oklahoma</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Oregon</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/20,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Pennsylvania</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000/30,000/5,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Rhode Island</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">South Carolina</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">South Dakota</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Tennessee</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Texas</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$30,000/60,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Utah</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/65,000/15,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Vermont</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Virginia</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/20,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Washington</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">West Virginia</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/25,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Wisconsin</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/10,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Wyoming</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$25,000/50,000/20,000</td> </tr> </table> Source: ValuePenguin

What liability car insurance does not cover

While liability insurance does pay for the medical and property expenses of other drivers and persons involved in an accident you cause, it does not pay for any costs associated with injury to yourself or your property. This exclusion also includes passengers in your vehicle, although MedPay coverage does pay for the injuries of passengers in your vehicle if you cause an accident.
Specific types of insurance exist for the purpose of paying for any injuries to yourself, your passengers, and your property, including collision, comprehensive, MedPay, and Personal Injury Protection coverage.

Do you need liability coverage car insurance?

All car owners must carry liability coverage car insurance. Considered the most basic form of car insurance coverage, liability helps protects others from accidents not caused by them. In states with no-fault laws, drivers do not need to carry bodily injury liability coverage on their policy. Instead, no-fault states require drivers to carry PIP coverage, which pays for any medical bills or lost earnings, although limits exist.
The following table shows the states that require you to purchase PIP coverage as a part of your car insurance and the minimum amounts, according to Accidentdoctor.org.
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<table class="tg"> <tr> <th class="tg-pxac" colspan="2">States That Require PIP and the Minimum <br>Coverage Amounts</th> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-amwm">State</td> <td class="tg-amwm">Minimum Amount of Coverage Required</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Florida</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$10,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Hawaii</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$10,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Kansas</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$4,500 per person for medical, <br>$4,500 rehabilitation, $2,000 funeral</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Kentucky</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$10,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Massachusetts</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$8,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Michigan</td> <td class="tg-baqh">Unlimited medical, up to $5,189 <br>a month in lost wages</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Minnesota</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$40,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">New Jersey</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$15,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">New York</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$50,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">North Dakota</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$30,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Pennsylvania</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$5,000 per person</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tg-baqh">Utah</td> <td class="tg-baqh">$3,000 per person</td> </tr> </table> Source: Accidentdoctor.org
While liability car insurance is required in some form in every state, it comes in a variety of different coverage levels, ranging from basic levels mandated by state laws to more extensive coverage. Make sure you know what your state requires before you buy insurance.

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