What Will My Auto Liability Policy Cover?

Many drivers assume that as long as they have auto liability cover on their policy, that they are completely protected from any damage on the road. This is actually not the case. Learn what auto liability cover actually protects against before you purchase your insurance. You may be surprised to uncover that there is much more to coverage on the road that what is offered through your liability coverage.

How Auto Liability Coverage Works

Auto liability is required in almost all states. It is part of the basic coverage policy and it is against the law to drive without it. If you are caught without liability coverage on your vehicle then you will risk a fine and a license suspension in some instances. You will most likely not be able to lease a car or drive away from the dealership without proof of liability insurance.

If you are living in a state that uses a tort system which most do, then you need both bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. How much you need to purchase will depend on your state’s requirement. Most states will have a basic coverage requirement of bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident and property damage protection of anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000.

But what are the auto insurance differences regarding coverage exactly? Bodily injury liability coverage will pay for the costs to the other driver if he is injured. If, for example, the other driver has broken his leg, your liability coverage will pay for his medication, hospitalization and surgery costs. It will not, however, pay for your own medical related costs.

Property damage liability coverage pays offers compensation to the other driver or other property owner if you have caused damage to his car or other property. If, for example, you crash into a car, then your property damage liability will pay to have that car fixed. If you crash into a house and break a window, then your liability protection will pay to have this window replaced. It won’t, however, pay for your own expenses to your vehicle during the incident.

Basic Liability Insurance Vs Full Coverage

It is important to understand that your auto liability will only cover the costs to the other driver, not to yourself. It comes into effect if you are found accountable or liable for the accident. If you are hit by a driver or if you are in an accident that is caused by someone else your liability coverage will also not be used. Instead, the other driver will be responsible for using his liability insurance to pay for your losses, including medical costs and damage to your car. This means you will not need to make a claim through your insurance agency and do not risk higher premiums because of someone else’s mistake on the road.

With that being said, if you are found liable for the accident and are facing injury and vehicle damage, then you are fresh out of luck if you only have auto liability coverage on your policy. This is why many people will invest in full coverage in addition to the mandatory basic liability insurance. With full coverage you also get collision and comprehensive coverage which pays for damage to your car when you are liable as well as damage to your vehicle in the event of an act of God or a third party accident. Make sure you look into the additional coverage options apart from the standard auto liability insurance that is on your policy to ensure you are fully covered in any instance.

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