When you get into an accident, the first thing you worry about is whether or not you and your passengers have injuries. However, you also have to consider the injuries of the driver and their passengers in the other vehicle.
One type of car insurance required in almost every state is bodily injury liability. Let’s take a look at this coverage. It can protect you if you’re deemed at fault in an accident.
What is bodily injury liability?
If you’re at fault in a car accident, bodily injury liability coverage pays for the other driver and their passengers’ injuries.
It’s one of two types of liability insurance. The other is property damage liability coverage, which pays for any damage you cause to the other driver’s car.
Generally, a minimum amount of both types of liability insurance is a requirement in states.
What does it cover?
Usually, it covers the short and long-term costs for injuries of the other driver and their passengers. However, it’s also for bystanders and pedestrians if they have injuries because of the accident.
Here’s what’s covered:
1. Medical expenses
The coverage pays for hospital bills, emergency care, and follow up visits related to the accident.
2. Legal fees
It’s possible that the other people involved in the accident have injuries and could take you to court. And this will help cover the costs of any legal fees for you.
3. Loss of income
If the other person suffers from an injury that interferes with their ability to work, this might result in lost wages. It would pay for compensation.
4. Pain and suffering
Even though it’s hard to quantify, the other party might seek payment for any lingering pain or emotional distress as a result of their injuries from the accident.
5. Funeral costs
It can cover the funeral costs if there are fatalities as a result of the accident.
Also, remember that if you’re deemed at fault in an accident, bodily injury insurance doesn’t cover your medical bills or lost wages. And this doesn’t cover the injuries of passengers in your vehicle.
The only thing you’re covered for is your potential legal fees.
How does it work?
Like other types of car insurance, bodily injury liability also comes with a coverage limit.
There are two coverage limits you’ll have to choose:
- Maximum amount your insurer will pay for injury expenses per person involved in the accident
- Total coverage for injuries in an accident
This means that the limit you choose is the maximum amount your car insurance policy will pay for a claim.
For example, you’re at fault for an accident and have coverage limits of $100,000/$300,000. Insurance would pay up to $100,000 per person injured. And up to a maximum total of $300,000 for all injuries in the accident.
You’ll often see the coverage limits written as: 100/300/50. The first two numbers refer to how many thousand dollars coverage you have for bodily injury coverage per person and per accident. (The third number refers to property damage liability).
What’s the requirement for coverage?
Each state has a minimum amount of coverage that’s required for you to purchase as part of your car insurance.
Most states have a minimum bodily injury liability coverage set at $25,000/$50,000, but this can change.
For car insurance in Texas, the minimums are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. And Florida doesn’t have any requirements for this particular coverage. Drivers don’t need to have it to be legally drive.
How much coverage should I get?
Keep in mind that insurance requirements in your state aren’t the recommended levels. It’s just the required minimums.
If you injure someone and their medical expenses exceed your limits, you might have to pay for the remaining expenses out of pocket. It’s a good idea to purchase more than the minimum amount of coverage required.
Think about buying the most coverage you can afford. This will protect your assets. It will also give you peace of mind that your insurance will cover expenses related to any injuries you cause.
What does it cost?
The cost of adding this to your policy varies by state and by insurers. Rates depend on other factors as well. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $170 a month.
Paying a couple hundred bucks a month is better than having to deal with potential out of pocket expenses for an accident.
Is bodily injury liability the only coverage I need?
There are many states that require other minimum policies. These might include:
- Personal Injury Protection or PIP
PIP pays out for lost wages and treatment of injuries for you or your passengers.
- Medical payments coverage or MedPay
This is similar to PIP in that it covers you and your passengers’ injuries. But MedPay won’t pay out for lost wages and the coverage limits are usually lower.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
These coverages protect you if you’re in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have any liability insurance or not enough to cover your medical bills.
- Comprehensive and collision coverage
Both coverages pay for physical damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive helps pay to replace or repair your car if it’s stolen or damaged by something other than a collision. Collision helps pay to replace or repair your car if it’s damaged in an accident with another vehicle or object.
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