Let’s Start With the Term “Liability”
It’s pretty simple! According to Merriam-Webster, the word “liability” means the state of being legally responsible for something. Basically, if you’re liable for something, you’re legally responsible for it.
When we talk about liability car insurance, the same meaning applies. Liability car insurance helps protect you from damages you could be liable, or legally responsible, for if you cause an accident.
Why Do I Need Liability Coverage?
Say you’re driving home after a long, stressful day at work, and your mind is still racing: Can’t forget the phone bill’s due tomorrow… This traffic’s been awful, I should’ve taken the interstate!… Did I remember to put those leftovers in the fridge?… You’re only a mile from home when, distracted by your thoughts, you run through a stop sign in your neighborhood and crash into the tail end of a minivan turning in front of you.
Thankfully, no one is injured, but the minivan will need some repairs. Can you guess who will be responsible for paying for them? Yep, it’s you. You didn’t mean for it to happen, but, because you were not paying attention and ran the stop sign, the accident is your fault and you’ll be held accountable for the damage you caused in the crash. This is where your liability car insurance comes in to help cover the damage to the minivan you’re liable for.
The same goes if the roles are reversed. If someone else causes an accident that damages your car and/or injures you, they’ll be liable for that damage and their liability car insurance should help them pay for it.
Almost every state requires drivers to carry at least a certain amount of liability car insurance (some states also require no-fault/personal injury protection and/or uninsured motorist coverage). This is because liability car insurance coverage is designed to protect other people from damage you cause. For the most part, getting additional coverage that will help protect you (like comprehensive or collision) is a choice that’s up to you and not legally mandatory.
So What Exactly Does Liability Car Insurance Cover?
If you cause an accident that injures someone (or multiple people) or results in damage to their vehicle or property, liability car insurance will help cover those expenses. Specifically, liability insurance includes:
- Bodily Injury Liability – helps pay for medical and legal protection if another person is injured in an accident you caused.
- Property Damage Liability – helps pay for damage to another person’s property that occurs in an accident you caused.
Check out our liability car insurance infographic for more on these!
Finding the Minimum Limits in Your State
The required amount of liability auto insurance coverage varies by state. The required amount is often referred to as “minimum limits.” The “limit” of your coverage is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay you. So, the “minimum limits” set by your state is the minimum amount of coverage you are required to carry.
In Tennessee, for example, the minimum limits are 25/50/15. This means you’ll need a minimum coverage of $25,000 per person injured in an accident (bodily injury), $50,000 for all people injured in an accident (bodily injury), and $15,000 for damage to another person’s property in accident (property damage).
To find the specific minimum limits or coverage requirements in your state, visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website or the Direct Auto Insurance Learning Center.
Learn More about Liability Car Insurance
If you have questions about liability car insurance or would like to talk with someone about your coverage needs, give us a call at 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) or visit your local Direct store and one of our friendly agents can help!