Liability Car Insurance

Liability auto insurance is required in most states and is used during an at-fault accident to cover damages to another driver's vehicle. While liability insurance doesn't cover damages to your own car, collision insurance and comprehensive insurance can be purchased to help finance those damages. Auto insurance rates across the United States are around $79.58/month.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Dec 2, 2020

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The Rundown

  • Liability insurance helps cover vehicle repairs to the other driver’s vehicle in the event of an at-fault accident.
  • It can also cover medical payments.
  • There are two forms of liability insurance: bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

When searching for auto insurance policies, you will find that most basic policies come with some form of liability auto insurance. But what does liability insurance cover?

This form of insurance comes into play when you are at-fault for an accident. Liability insurance will help cover the victim’s expenses, including vehicle repairs and medical costs.

Each state has its own minimum liability requirements, but it can be a good idea to buy additional coverage. When looking for cheap insurance, you will find that costs of coverage can depend on a number of different factors, including where you live, the company you go with, and your driving record.

Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about liability insurance and compare cheap car insurance rates by entering your ZIP code into our quote box.

Forms of Liability Auto Insurance

Most states across the United States require two forms of liability auto insurance: bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage.

So, what does liability insurance cover? Injuries can occur when you are in an accident, which is where bodily  injury liability coverage comes in. If you are in an at-fault accident and the other driver sustains injuries, then this form of insurance can help pay for their medical bills. This can include doctor’s visits, hospital care, and more.

Does liability insurance cover my car if someone hits me? Your liability insurance won’t cover the damages, but their’s might. 

Additionally, it is possible that bodily injury liability coverage will cover any lost wages as a result of injuries. Bodily injury liability sometimes covers legal fees if you are sued by the other party after an accident.

Property damage liability coverage, on the other hand, helps cover the victim’s auto repair bills following an at-fault accident. This form of insurance will also cover damages to someone’s home that were caused by a collision.

While property damage liability usually doesn’t pay for your repairs, most companies offer collision insurance, which can help pay for damages to your car.

Now that you know about the two main forms of liability insurance, read on to see how much liability insurance you need.

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How much liability auto insurance do you need?

The amount of liability insurance that is legally necessary depends on where you live. You will often see limits written as 25/50/25, which means your bodily injury liability maximum for one person would be $25,000, your bodily injury liability maximum for all persons would be $50,000, and that your property damage liability would be $25,000. To see how much liability is required in your state, check out the chart below.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements by State

StateInsurance RequiredMinimum Liability Limits
ALBI & PD Liab25/50/25
AKBI & PD Liab50/100/25
AZBI & PD Liab15/30/10
ARBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
CABI & PD Liab15/30/5
COBI & PD Liab25/50/15
CTBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
DEBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10
DCBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10
FLPD Liab, PIP10/20/10
GABI & PD Liab25/50/25
HIBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
IDBI & PD Liab25/50/15
ILBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
INBI & PD Liab25/50/25
IABI & PD Liab20/40/15
KSBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
KYBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
LABI & PD Liab15/30/25
MEBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, Medpay50/100/25
MDBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MABI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5
MIBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
MNBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MSBI & PD Liab25/50/25
MOBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25
MTBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NEBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
NVBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NHFR only25/50/25
NJBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5
NMBI & PD Liab25/50/10
NYBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10
NCBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25
NDBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
OHBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OKBI & PD Liab25/50/25
ORBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PABI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5
RIBI & PD Liab25/50/25
SCBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
SDBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
TNBI & PD Liab25/50/15
TXBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25
UTBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15
VTBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10
VABI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
WABI & PD Liab25/50/10
WVBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
WIBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10
WYBI & PD Liab25/50/20
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While the chart lists the minimum amount of liability coverage required by each state, many drivers opt to buy additional liability coverage. This is because accidents are unpredictable. If an accident that was your fault ends up costing more than your liability insurance will cover, then you may have to pay the costs out of pocket. Even worse, the other driver may try to sue you.

Liability Auto Insurance Rates

Where you live, your driving record, your age, and a number of other factors could affect your liability insurance rates. Some companies boast rates as low as around $30 per month, while higher-cost policies are around $70.

Those interested in purchasing liability auto insurance need to consider what they are looking for in an auto insurance company. You may be looking at a company with cheaper options, but discover their customer service isn’t great. There are also cheaper companies that don’t offer all the benefits you might need.

Additionally, it is a good idea to stay under your liability limits if possible. With a higher cost liability insurance policy, you won’t have to worry about exceeding your limits as much.

To learn more about these limits, read on.

Liability Auto Insurance Limits

Liability auto insurance limits are usually presented in the following way: 25/50/25. What these numbers mean is that your liability limits are  $25,000 limit per person for bodily injury in an accident, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for Property Damage.

Most states set their minimum-required liability coverage at 25/50/25, however, these limits are much different in other states as you have seen in the chart above.

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Find the Right Liability Auto Insurance Policy

Liability coverage is not the only type of coverage you will likely want on your vehicle. It is also a good idea to find a policy that includes both collision and comprehensive insurance, which can help greatly in the event of an accident. All these types of insurance are included in full coverage car insurance policies through some companies.

While liability insurance usually only covers the victim’s repair costs, collision coverage can help cover the damages to your vehicle, depending on the circumstances. Meanwhile, comprehensive coverage gives plenty of people peace-of-mind as it covers things like weather damage, theft, and more. Comprehensive insurance also coverages damages caused by vandalism and other types of civil disorder, as is covered by the Insurance Information Institute.

Most auto insurance companies also offer a full coverage option that can include things like 24/7 roadside assistance, gap insurance, and more. While full coverage comes at an extra cost, it could be helpful to have in the long run.

If you are worried about affording an auto insurance policy, then you’ll be happy to know that most top companies offer a multitude of discounts. Examples of these discounts include Good Student, Good Driver, Driver’s Ed, and much more. Be sure to inquire with the company you are interested in about their discounts.

Now that you have everything you need to know about liability auto insurance coverage, use our comparison tool to find great car insurance quotes in your area.

References: 

  1. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-civil-disorders

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