What Is Liability Car Insurance? Do You Need It?

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  • What is it?
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  • Who needs it?
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Liability car insurance is required in every state except New Hampshire. Designed to protect the other drivers involved in accidents that you cause, liability insurance is an important part of your overall car insurance policy.
Jerry has compiled everything you should know about liability insurance. This will help you decide on the right coverage when you shop for cheap car insurance.
Jerry can speed up the insurance-shopping process for you by gathering quotes in seconds. If you decide to switch car insurance plans, you just have to click a button—Jerry takes care of the rest by handling all the paperwork and phone calls to set up your new policy and cancel your old one.
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What is liability car insurance?

Liability car insurance is the part of your car insurance policy that provides protection to other drivers on the road when you’re at fault in an accident. So if you hit another person’s vehicle or property, your liability coverage will help cover the cost of any medical bills and/or property damage.
It’s made up of two basic components: bodily injury liability (BIL) and property damage liability (PDL).

How much does liability insurance cost?

Getting liability insurance on its own is relatively cheap, and the price varies according to where you live, your age, and other important factors.
Here are the average annual rates for liability car insurance in every state, plus the District of Columbia.
If you’re not sure how much you should be paying for liability insurance, sign up with Jerry. Being a licensed broker, Jerry can compare prices from over 40 major insurance companies to find you the right coverage at the best price.

What does liability car insurance cover?

When you damage another vehicle or another person’s property with your car, the other person involved will file an insurance claim. Depending on the claim, either your BIL or PDL will then pay to cover any costs, up to your policy limits.
If your insurance doesn’t cover all of the costs, then the other party will have to take you to court to cover any remaining expenses above and beyond the maximum coverage amount. But what exactly does each of the liability insurance types cover?
Bodily injury liability: The BIL portion of your liability insurance policy covers you as the at-fault driver, paying the bodily injury costs stemming from an accident you cause. These costs include any ongoing medical expenses, funeral costs, or lost income. BIL also helps cover any legal fees arising from a lawsuit.
Property damage liability: The other component of liability insurance, PDL helps cover the costs associated with repairing vehicles and property damaged in an accident that you cause. Covered property can include buildings, signs, and other roadside objects.
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What does liability insurance not cover?

While liability car insurance is great at protecting you in the event that you’re found to be at fault for a car accident, it won’t do anything to protect you or your property, including your own vehicle.
For that you’ll need comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, depending on how the damage was caused.
To ensure that you’re properly covered, you can shop with Jerry. Whether you need comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, or other types of insurance, Jerry can find the right policy for you at the right price.
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How to choose the right amount of liability coverage

Above and beyond the minimum amount of coverage required by your state, the amount of liability insurance you should get comes down to your net worth.
Designed to protect your assets, liability insurance will only cover those assets up to your policy maximums. For anything over that, the other driver and their passengers can sue you for damages in court.
If you don’t have a large net worth, then there isn’t much you can be sued for and the minimum amount of insurance should be enough. If you have a high net worth, though, you should consider getting additional liability insurance coverage to protect your assets.

Liability insurance coverage limits

In most cases, there is a dollar limit to how much your liability car insurance will cover for bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident.
Fortunately, you can purchase additional liability insurance coverage if you need it. Of course, any additional liability insurance you buy will cause your premiums to go up.

Who needs liability coverage?

Unlike collision and comprehensive coverage, liability car insurance is required in almost every state in the U.S. This means that just about every driver in the nation should have liability insurance.
If you do not, you could face severe penalties and fines, up to and including jail time. In many cases, the penalties and fines for violations increase with repeated offenses.
Additionally, each state in the U.S.—except for Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania—requires that those caught driving without insurance file an SR22 certificate.
While the certificate is relatively cheap to file, an SR22 puts you into a higher-risk category, which means that you will pay more for insurance.
Plus, on average, drivers with an SR22 have to keep it on file for at least three years in most states, which means that the higher insurance premiums can really add up over time.
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What states require liability coverage? ||| Where’s it required?

All states other than New Hampshire require drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability car insurance. The amount of coverage you need to have varies by state.
You can find the minimum amount of liability car insurance required by each state below.
Alabama
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Alaska
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Arizona
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
Arkansas
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
California
  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident
Colorado
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
Connecticut
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Delaware
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $15,000 personal injury protection per person
  • $30,000 personal injury protection per accident
District of Columbia
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $5,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
Florida
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $10,000 personal injury protection
Georgia
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Hawaii
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $10,000 personal injury protection
Idaho
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
Illinois
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
Indiana
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Iowa
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
Kansas
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Also required: personal injury protection, including $4,500 in medical expenses, up to $900 per month for a year for disability or loss of income; $25 per day for in-home services; $2,000 for funeral burial or cremation costs; and $4,500 for rehabilitation survivors benefits, including up to $900 per month for a year for disability or loss of income and $25 per day for in-home services.
Kentucky
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Louisiana
  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Maine
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $2,000 medical payments coverage
Maryland
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $30,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $60,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $15,000 uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage per accident
Massachusetts
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $20,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $40,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $8,000 personal injury protection
Michigan
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident outside Michigan
  • $1 million property protection within Michigan
  • $250,000 personal injury protection (lower personal injury protection limits available for certain Medicare and Medicaid recipients)
Minnesota
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $40,000 personal injury protection
Mississippi
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Missouri
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
Montana
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
Nebraska
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Nevada
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
New Hampshire
If you purchase optional car insurance, these are the minimum limits:
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage
  • $1,000 medical payments coverage
New Jersey
Basic policy:
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $15,000 personal injury protection
New Mexico
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
New York
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 liability for death per person
  • $100,000 liability for death per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $50,000 personal injury protection
North Carolina
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $30,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $60,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
North Dakota
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $30,000 personal injury protection
Ohio
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Oklahoma
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Oregon
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $15,000 personal injury protection
Pennsylvania
  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $5,000 medical benefits
Rhode Island
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
South Carolina
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage
South Dakota
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Tennessee
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
Texas
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Utah
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $65,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $3,000 personal injury protection
Vermont
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $10,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
Virginia
If you purchase optional car insurance, these are the minimum limits (drivers who don’t purchase insurance pay a $500 fee):
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $20,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident
Washington
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
West Virginia
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage
Wisconsin
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
Wyoming
  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
What are the differences between liability coverage and comprehensive coverage? ||| Comprehensive coverage
In addition to liability car insurance, you might also have comprehensive coverage. Unlike liability car insurance, comprehensive car insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by the perils listed on your policy.
These perils usually include:
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage from falling objects
  • Flood damage
  • Fire damage
  • Animal damage (from collisions)
  • Damage from natural disasters
  • Glass damage (such as a cracked windshield)
Also, unlike liability insurance, comprehensive coverage has a deductible you must meet before your coverage will kick in.
What are the differences between liability coverage and collision coverage?
Collision insurance is designed to cover any damage suffered by your vehicle in a collision, even in accidents you’re at fault for.
Collision insurance covers the following:
  • A crash you cause
  • A collision with an object (including a tree, fence, or mailbox)
  • Your car rolling over
  • Another driver hitting your car if they don’t have any or enough insurance (if you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage)
Just like comprehensive insurance, you must pay a deductible on your collision coverage before it will pay out anything following an accident.

How to shop for liability insurance

By shopping around, you can easily find the cheapest liability car insurance available. If you really want to speed up the insurance-shopping process, you can use the Jerry app.
Jerry uses artificial intelligence to compare prices from dozens of top insurance companies and present you with affordable quotes. Local agents and other online shopping sites can only show you prices from five or six insurance companies.
On top of that, Jerry will handle all the phone calls and paperwork if you decide to switch policies. It will even send you new car insurance quotes before every renewal.
This level of service has earned Jerry a 4.6/5 rating in the App Store. Check out what one user had to say in their five-star review:
“Within minutes I had quotes, made adjustments, and initiated a request for a final price. Within the half hour, they handled canceling my last policy and had me set up with my new policy. Saving almost $1,000 a year now with a better policy than before.” - Satisfied Jerry User
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