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Understanding bodily injury liability insurance

What is bodily injury liability insurance?

Bodily injury liability helps protect you against expenses and damages a person might claim against you due to injuries they sustain in an auto accident you cause. When you purchase an insurance policy, your state likely requires you to purchase liability insurance. In most states, bodily injury liability coverage is included in your liability insurance policy. 

What bodily injury liability insurance covers

If you cause an accident and the other driver or their passenger is injured, your bodily injury liability insurance can help cover you against their claim for medical and rehabilitation costs, along with legal defense if you’re sued.

Your coverage helps protect you—the insured policyholder—if the other party’s insurance company pursues you for payment following an accident they believe you were responsible for. Common types of expenses that an injured person might try to claim against you include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Legal fees
  • Funeral cost
Woman in pain in front of vehicle collision

Request a free quote: Auto coverage can help protect you following an accident. 

What bodily injury liability insurance does not cover

Bodily injury liability doesn’t cover the following in an accident you cause:

  • Your own medical costs
  • Your passengers’ medical costs—refer to your policy to determine whether your passengers are covered, and under what circumstances
  • Damage to vehicles—yours or others’

It helps to consider the following types of coverages—which can supplement bodily injury liability—to keep you, your passengers, and your vehicle protected in most incidents:

Bodily injury liability requirements

Most states require a minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage. The amount of bodily injury liability insurance you’re required to hold as a car owner depends on where you live and where your vehicle is registered. 

Minimum bodily injury liability limits

The first two of the three coverage limit numbers listed within your insurance documentation indicate the limit of your bodily injury insurance. 

For example, the insurance requirements in Wisconsin are 25/50/10. This means:

  • The maximum amount your insurance will pay bodily injury liability per person in an accident is $25,000.
  • The maximum amount your insurance will pay bodily injury liability per accident is $50,000.
  • The third number refers to your property damage liability limit—in this case, $10,000.

If you aren’t comfortable holding only your state’s minimum requirement, you can always increase your coverage limits. Talk to your insurance provider to learn more about adjusting your liability limits.

How much does bodily injury liability coverage cost?

Like other types of auto insurance, the amount you pay for your bodily injury liability coverage depends on several factors, including:

  • Your driving history
  • Your insurance provider
  • Where you live

Current pricing for bodily injury liability coverage varies by state, even when many other factors are similar. To give you an idea of this variance, let’s say the same hypothetical driver receives a quote for bodily injury liability coverage in three states. Their age, driving history, credit score, and other factors are the same in all three cases, but their quotes could come back as:

  • Florida: $425 per year, or $35 per month
  • Texas: $450 per year, or $37 per month
  • Wisconsin: $480 per year, or $40 per month

Keep in mind that these rates apply to bodily injury liability coverage alone, and don’t include property damage coverage. Also, these quotes are hypothetical, based on state- and industry-specific pricing trends.

What’s the difference between liability and bodily injury liability?

Liability and bodily injury liability coverages are more related than they are different. Bodily injury is a type of liability coverage.

When you purchase an auto liability insurance policy, it includes two types of coverage: bodily injury liability coverage—which applies when other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians are injured in an accident you cause—and property damage liability, which helps pay for damage to those individuals’ property following a covered accident. 

Bodily injury liability vs. medical payments coverage

Bodily injury liability helps cover you for damages another party can legally claim against you for injuries they sustain in accidents you cause. Medical payments coverage, on the other hand, is in place to help pay for medical expenses related to injuries you or your passengers’ sustain, regardless of who’s at fault in the accident.

As we noted above, bodily injury liability is almost always required, whereas medical payments coverage is typically optional.

Contact us to discuss adding medical payment coverage or other auto coverages to your policy.

Filing a bodily injury liability claim

When you get in an accident involving another driver, you typically exchange insurance cards with them. If that person and/or their passenger is injured, they can reach out to your insurance provider to file a bodily injury liability claim.

Here are the steps you can expect to take:

  1. Make the call: After an accident, call us at 800-334-0090 to report your auto claim.
  2. Answer a few questions: We’ll ask some initial questions and then connect you with a member of our knowledgeable claims team.
  3. Receive your review and move forward: The claims associate will review your policy and work with you to determine what you should do next. 

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Bodily injury liability insurance is an important part of your insurance policy—and not just because it’s required in nearly every state. It helps ease your financial burden if others are injured in accidents you cause. And considering how stressful the post-accident process can be, that help goes a long way.

Bodily injury liability FAQs

Related links

Learning beyond liability can help you further protect you and your vehicle. Here are the differences between comprehensive and collision coverage to help you with your coverage considerations.

Other drivers and their coverages—or lack thereof—can be an important factor in your decision about auto insurance. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help.

The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.

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