Liability Auto Insurance 101 – Ramsey – NewsRoomUS

Legal responsibility is an important kind of automotive insurance coverage. However what does legal responsibility insurance coverage cowl? How does it work? And the way a lot of it do you want, anyway?

We’ll cruise by means of the solutions to all these questions—plus how a lot legal responsibility insurance coverage prices in your state. So buckle up, and let’s get began!

What Is Legal responsibility Insurance coverage?

Legal responsibility insurance coverage is an important kind of automotive insurance coverage. Right here’s why.

Meet Travis. Travis will get in a automotive accident that’s discovered to be his fault. Now he’s liable for the damages he brought on—which means he has to pay for the opposite driver’s automotive repairs and medical payments.

Travis doesn’t have 1000’s of {dollars} to pay these prices. However he does have legal responsibility insurance coverage. (Whew! Good transfer, Travis.)

Legal responsibility insurance coverage pays to switch or restore the opposite particular person’s broken property after an accident you brought on. Plus, it pays the medical payments for them and their passengers in the event that they acquired injured.

Do You Want Legal responsibility Insurance coverage?

Sure! We are able to’t say it sufficient: You want legal responsibility insurance coverage on your automotive. That’s why it’s required by legislation in nearly each U.S. state. (Besides New Hampshire and elements of Alaska, however they’re simply bizarre.)

Don’t let car insurance costs get you down! Download our checklist for easy ways to save.

Critically, if 48 and a half states assume legal responsibility insurance coverage is so necessary they made legal guidelines about it, you would possibly ought to concentrate. (The truth is, when you personal a automotive with a rebuilt title, it might be the one insurance coverage you can get.) Plus there are main penalties for driving without liability insurance.

And when you get in an accident that’s your fault? You’ll face even harsher penalties—plus get caught paying the opposite particular person’s restore and medical prices. That’s a quick observe to monetary smash if we ever noticed one.

So, sure, you want legal responsibility insurance coverage. However how does it work? And the way a lot do you have to get? Let’s have a look.

What Does Legal responsibility Insurance coverage Cowl?

Legal responsibility insurance coverage covers two varieties of prices that include a automotive accident: bodily harm and property injury. The catch is that it covers these prices for the different particular person. Right here’s the way it works.

Bodily Harm Protection

Bodily harm protection helps pay for the opposite particular person’s medical payments in the event that they acquired harm throughout an accident you brought on. That features different drivers, their passengers and pedestrians.

This a part of your legal responsibility insurance coverage additionally covers issues like:

  • Misplaced wages if the opposite particular person can’t work due to their accidents
  • Authorized charges if that particular person sues you
  • Funeral prices after a deadly accident

Property Injury Protection

This a part of your legal responsibility insurance coverage covers the associated fee to restore or exchange one other driver’s car after an accident. It additionally pays for damages to different property, like guardrails, buildings or phone poles.

What Does Legal responsibility Insurance coverage Not Cowl?

Legal responsibility insurance coverage covers the opposite particular person’s bills—however not yours.

In case your automotive is trashed otherwise you acquired whiplash, your legal responsibility insurance coverage gained’t cowl your restore or medical payments. That’s the place different varieties of protection—like your health insurance or auto collision insurance—are available.

(And that’s why it’s necessary to have the right types of insurance to guard your self financially from a automotive accident.)   

Legal responsibility Insurance coverage Protection Limits

Right here’s one thing else you must find out about legal responsibility insurance coverage: It gained’t cowl each single expense from now until ceaselessly. Like all insurance coverage, legal responsibility insurance policies include protection limits.

The protection restrict is the utmost quantity the insurance coverage firm pays after you pay your deductible. Something over the protection restrict, it’s important to pay out of pocket.

There are two varieties of protection limits for legal responsibility automotive insurance coverage.

Cut up Protection Limits

Most legal responsibility insurance policies have separate (aka cut up) protection limits for every kind of harm. Meaning the insurance coverage firm pays as much as a certain quantity for bodily accidents and as much as a special quantity for property injury.

In your insurance coverage coverage, cut up protection limits are often written out as three numbers. For instance: 25/50/15.

Right here’s what every quantity means.

The primary quantity is the bodily harm per particular person restrict. On this case, your insurance coverage would pay as much as $25,000 to cowl medical, authorized, funeral or misplaced wage prices for one particular person within the different car—whether or not they have been the driving force or a passenger.

However what if a number of individuals acquired injured? That’s some huge cash for the insurance coverage firm to pay out. So insurers made the bodily harm per accident restrict—which is the second quantity in your coverage.

In our instance, the bodily harm per accident restrict is $50,000. Meaning the insurance coverage firm pays for accidents to the opposite driver and their passengers as much as $50,000. After that, you’re chargeable for all prices.  

The third quantity is the property injury per accident restrict. That is how a lot the insurance coverage firm pays to restore or exchange the opposite particular person’s car or different property you broken. With a 25/50/15 coverage, the insurance coverage firm would pay as much as $15,000 for repairs.

Single Protection Limits

The draw back to separate protection limits is that you may’t use leftover cash from one class to assist pay for the opposite. Right here’s what we imply:

Amy carries a 25/50/15 coverage. She causes an accident that ends in $2,000 value of medical payments and $20,000 in property injury. Her bodily harm legal responsibility will cowl all of the medical payments. However as a result of her property injury restrict is $15,000, she nonetheless has to pay $5,000 to repair the opposite driver’s automotive.

That’s why some drivers select a single protection restrict (additionally known as a mixed protection restrict) coverage. As a substitute of getting three separate protection limits of $25,000, $50,000 and $15,000, their coverage would simply have one protection restrict of $90,000. The insurance coverage firm would use that $90,000 to cowl any legal responsibility prices for the wreck—irrespective of in the event that they have been accidents or property injury.

Single protection limits provide you with extra flexibility when paying for damages, so it may be value asking your insurance coverage agent concerning the prices of switching to any such auto legal responsibility coverage.  

How A lot Legal responsibility Insurance coverage Do You Want?

It’s tempting to only purchase the minimal legal responsibility insurance coverage your state requires. And we’ll be sincere, typically that might be sufficient.

The typical value of property injury in a automotive accident is $4,600.1 And the price of an harm accident ranges from about $23,000–28,000.2 So your bodily harm protection would possibly pay the opposite driver’s and passengers’ medical payments.

However right here’s the factor . . . your accident won’t be common. You would possibly do main injury to a brand-new automotive—and a brand new automotive prices round $40,000.3 Your piddly state minimal insurance coverage gained’t be practically sufficient to switch it.

And never all accidents heal. For those who trigger an accident that disables somebody within the different car, you’re bills of round $98,000.4 And if somebody dies in a wreck? The prices rise over $1.7 million.5

Now, we hope that by no means occurs to you. However the reality is, it can. The very last thing you want is to face monetary smash on prime of the emotional ache and stress of a foul automotive accident.

That’s why we suggest carrying not less than $500,000 in legal responsibility insurance coverage. (For those who’ve acquired cut up protection limits, that’s a 100/300/100 coverage.) Which will sound like lots, however let’s have a look at how this protection compares to a state minimal coverage.

State Minimal Legal responsibility Protection Instance

Jake lives in Tennessee and has the state minimal 25/50/15 legal responsibility protection.6 He hits a brand-new Toyota Camry value $30,000. The Camry’s totaled . . . and Jake’s insurance coverage solely covers $15,000 value of property injury. Meaning he’s on the hook for the opposite $15,000. Ouch!

To make issues worse, the Camry’s driver incurs $26,000 of medical prices and misplaced wages. Since Jake’s insurance coverage coverage solely covers bodily harm as much as $25,000 per particular person, now he owes one other $1,000 for the remainder of these payments.

Whole prices for Jake to pay: $16,000.

$500,000 in Legal responsibility Protection Instance

Tammy additionally lives in Tennessee, however she has 100/300/100 auto legal responsibility insurance coverage. She causes a horrible visitors accident and does $60,000 in property injury. Yikes! That’s costly, however Tammy’s insurance coverage pays to switch the entire thing.

Moreover, the opposite driver and their three passengers all acquired injured. Their medical payments and misplaced wages add as much as $85,000 . . . which Tammy’s insurance coverage additionally covers.

Whole prices for Tammy to pay: $0.

Although her accident was approach worse than Jake’s, her insurance coverage will cowl the prices—so she will be able to concentrate on changing her personal automotive and therapeutic from her personal accidents. See why it’s so necessary to have all that protection?

Okay, we’ve drilled on the significance of getting loads of legal responsibility protection. However yet another tip earlier than we transfer on: In case your internet value is over $500,000, it’s your decision an umbrella insurance coverage coverage along with your legal responsibility auto insurance coverage.

Umbrella insurance coverage offers you further safety in case the opposite driver finds out you’re rich and tries to sue you. (You might also need this further protection if in case you have an occupation that’s perceived as high-paying, like physician, lawyer or dentist.)

How A lot Does Legal responsibility Insurance coverage Value?

Surprisingly, lots lower than you assume. Legal responsibility could be the solely kind of automotive insurance coverage required by legislation, however fortuitously it’s additionally the most affordable. It prices round $644 a yr (that’s solely $54 per thirty days).7 Check out the common value in your state:


Common Annual Value

Common Month-to-month Value
























































































New Hampshire



New Jersey



New Mexico



New York



North Carolina



North Dakota















Rhode Island



South Carolina



South Dakota





















West Virginia









Some states even provide packages for high-risk drivers to assist scale back their insurance coverage prices, so if that’s you, you’ll be able to nonetheless get loads of legal responsibility insurance coverage to protect yourself on the roadways.

And when you’re simply carrying the state minimal, elevating your legal responsibility protection to the really helpful $500,000 really gained’t value you that rather more. (Critically, it may add as little as $5 a month to your insurance coverage. And that $5 now can prevent tens of 1000’s later. That’s value it!)

The best way to Replace Your Legal responsibility Insurance coverage

Getting the really helpful legal responsibility insurance coverage is tremendous simple: Simply speak to certainly one of our Endorsed Native Suppliers (ELPs). Or unbiased insurance coverage brokers will store round with a number of insurers to seek out the perfect legal responsibility protection on your car, they usually’ll assist you perceive what’s in your coverage. They’ll even examine for different coverages you would possibly want, like umbrella or collision insurance.

Able to work with an auto insurance coverage agent you’ll be able to belief? Get started here.

Leave a Comment