Home > Learning Center > Auto > Understanding Auto Insurance: What is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

Understanding Auto Insurance: What is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

Find Your INSURAMATCH

Already have a quote? Retrieve it.

 | May 11, 2017
What is bodily injury liability?

This article is part one in a series on auto insurance coverage. Stay tuned for the rest!

Whether a minor dent or a serious injury, automobile accidents can cause significant financial burdens without the proper insurance. “Auto insurance” is often used as a blanket term, because there are different forms of automobile insurance coverage that protect different damages and situations. Most states in the U.S. require all car owners to have some form of auto insurance to protect from the heavy costs associated with car accidents. Some of these coverage types include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • Personal Damage Liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you are in an automobile accident, it’s not just the damage of your car that you have to consider. If the driver or passenger in the other car gets injured, you may be liable for their medical expenses and related costs if you are found at fault for the accident.

This is where the bodily injury liability coverage under your auto insurance would come in to help protect you and your assets.

What Does It Cover?

Bodily injury liability helps cover the expenses from injuries to the other party or parties in an automobile accident if you are found at fault. These could be any costs related to the injury, including an ambulance ride, hospital and medical bills, and rehab or follow-up care. It also includes pain and suffering or a loss of wages if he or she can’t return to work for a period of time. In cases of fatality, bodily injury may also cover funeral costs.

Bodily injury will often also cover your legal defense in the event that you are sued for the above expenses.

Bodily injury does not cover the cost of medical injuries you may receive in the accident, though. That tends to be covered under the personal injury protection coverage offered by most auto insurers.

Is It Required?

Bodily injury coverage is required in all 50 states, and each state has its own minimum amount. The list below will give you the current bodily injury coverage minimums as of 2017 for many of our InsuraMatch states:

State

Min. Bodily Injury Liability

Connecticut

$20.000/$40,000

Delaware

$15,000/$30,000

Maryland

$30,000/$60,000

Massachusetts

$20,000/$40,000

New Hampshire

$25,000/$50,000

New Jersey

$15,000/$30,000

New York

$25,000/$50,000

Ohio

$25,000/$50,000

Pennsylvania

$15,000/$30,000

Rhode Island

$25,000/$50,000

 

What Are The Limits?

As you’ll see above, bodily injury liability plans are described in split limits. The first number listed is the maximum amount of coverage that policy will pay if one person is injured. The second number is the amount covered when two or more people are injured in the same accident.

If you see a third number listed when looking for coverage, that number represents the property damage amount, which is a separate form of coverage.

A combined single limit (CSL) is another type of bodily injury limit, but it is less common than a split limit. A CSL plan has one limit that applies to the whole accident regardless of number of people injured. It is often more costly to insure for because it is considered more flexible and risky. In this way, not all insurance companies will offer CSL bodily injury liability plans. 

How Much Coverage Do You Need?

Although there are minimum obligated amounts of coverage per state, many people choose higher limits for better protection. It is highly recommended to get enough bodily injury liability to cover all of your assets—both present and future. This includes salary promotions, investments, real estate holdings, and other appreciating assets.

If a person sues you for damages and your insurance does not cover all of your assets, you will be stuck with an enormously hefty bill. In these cases, judges will often order that remaining assets be liquidated in order to pay for damages. Without proper insurance, you could lose everything. In some instances, if you don’t have enough assets to pay for damages, you could be subject to a lien on your future earnings; this means that any money you make goes to pay for damages before you pay for your own livelihood.

Your premium cost for coverage will vary based on the split minimums and the state in which you reside. But it’s definitely less expensive than what you could pay if you were to be found at fault in an accident.

What Does A Claim Look Like?

If you are in an automobile accident, always keep thorough records. After everyone is safe, take photos of the scene and injuries you or the other party sustained. Write down the names of officers who were at the scene. Keep your medical records and receipts as well as proof of lost wages. If someone is submitting a claim against you, your insurer has the right to ask for this documentation as well. 

From there, be prepared to discuss the incident and situation with your insurance company, like a liability claim examiner or adjuster. The person filing the claim will usually be offered a settlement, but they can choose to file a lawsuit if they do not agree with that settlement. This can create a lengthy, costly court process, the cost of which can, in turn, be covered by bodily injury insurance.

Bodily Injury Liability Bottom Line

Bodily injury liability insurance can protect you from significant expense in the case that you are found at-fault for another person’s injury in an automobile accident. Don’t be left exposed—start your InsuraMatch quote online now to safeguard your assets and your lifestyle.