All About Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

What bodily injury liability insurance covers

Bodily injury liability insurance helps if you or another driver covered under your car insurance policy cause a car crash that results in injury or death. While policy terms and limits vary between insurance companies, bodily injury liability insurance usually pays for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Legal defense if a lawsuit results from the car crash

The coverage and policy limits for bodily injury liability insurance are written per person and per crash. If you see $25,000/$50,000 (also written as 25/50), it means that the maximum payout is $25,000 per person, and $50,000 is the maximum payout for all people injured in a single crash.

Only the injuries to other people in a crash you cause are covered by bodily injury liability insurance – not any injuries you might sustain in that crash. You would need to buy other coverages, like medical payments (MedPay) or personal injury protection (PIP) to cover your own injuries.

Most states require bodily injury liability insurance

Almost every state requires drivers to buy bodily injury liability insurance as part of their minimum car insurance coverages. In certain states, drivers are required to carry the same liability limits on every car they own, and most car insurance companies require policyholders to carry those same limits for every vehicle listed on their policy.

Suggested limits for bodily injury liability insurance

The higher the limits you can afford, the better your assets will be protected if you cause a car crash that results in injury or death. However, insurance experts like the Insurance Information Institute (III) suggest carrying a minimum of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident (also written as 100/300 coverage) in bodily injury liability insurance.

Consequences of not carrying bodily injury liability insurance

If your state requires bodily injury liability insurance but you don't carry any, you may face fines or penalties like suspension of your driver's license and/or vehicle registration. The greater risk, however, is being left personally responsible for the injuries or deaths resulting from a car crash you cause. You could be forced to surrender your savings, property, or other assets to pay the victims if the judgment goes against you. Regardless of whether your state requires you to carry bodily injury liability insurance, it could be a worthwhile investment against losing valuable assets you've worked hard to obtain.

Low-limit bodily injury liability insurance can be risky, too. If you cause a major crash that results in injury, funeral, or legal expenses exceeding your limits, you will most likely be responsible for paying those expenses. Buying the highest limits you can afford is a good idea.

Differences between bodily injury liability insurance and medical expense insurance

Bodily injury liability insurance and medical expense insurance serve different purposes and provide different coverages. While bodily injury insurance covers others that are injured as a result of a car crash you cause, medical expense insurance covers you and any passengers in your vehicle who are injured in a car crash, regardless of who is at fault. Depending on the specifics of the plan, medical expense insurance could also cover policyholders (and other people on that policy) who are injured if they're a passenger in another person's car. It could also cover them if they're hit by a car while walking, bicycling, or using another form of non-motorized transport.

Keep in mind that bodily injury insurance doesn't cover you if you're injured as a result of an crash caused by another person – it's only for the other people who might be injured or killed by a crash you cause. Their claims could include medical expenses, pain and suffering, or loss of income. It also covers lawyer expenses if a person injured by a crash you caused takes legal action against you. Ultimately, you want your bodily injury insurance plan to be sufficient to cover your assets if you cause a serious crash which leads to a legal judgement against you – depending on the particulars, that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Take a look at your existing health insurance policy to decide if additional medical expense insurance is necessary. Your medical expenses may already be covered in part or whole by that policy.

This article is adapted with approval from carinsurance.com: http://www.carinsurance.com/how-do-points-affect-insurance-rates.aspx


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Calculate the Diminished Value of Your Car
The primary reason an individual would need to calculate the diminished value of a car is to submit an insurance claim after an accident. Naturally, if a car can no longer run or has undergone significant cosmetic damage, it isn’t...
How to Calculate the Diminished Value of Your Car
The primary reason an individual would need to calculate the diminished value of a car is to submit an insurance claim after an accident. Naturally, if a car can no longer run or has undergone significant cosmetic damage, it isn’t...
5 Essential Things to Know About Ridesharing
If If you don’t know the term ridesharing, you’re sure to know the names Uber and Lyft. These companies fall under the ridesharing umbrella, which are also known as TNCs (transportation network companies). While all those ads to become a...

Related questions

I hit an animal recently, it cracked my bumper. Is it any way related to suspension damage?

An impact from hitting the animal can do damage that's not obvious at first. Damage can occur to the frame, mess up your alignment, and a variety of other issues. You will want to examine the area that was hit....

My front bumper popped out in the corner but doesn't shake

Hi there, thanks for writing in. Anytime your vehicle strikes a solid object, the potential of damage of other components near that area exists. Beyond the simple body damage on the front end, it is possible that some of your...

What is "diminished value" as it refers to a totaled car?

Hi, thanks for writing in. The insurance company can use "diminished value" for a number of reasons. The overall condition of the vehicle not including the wreck, above average mileage, etc. I would ask them what criteria they are using...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com