Liability Car Insurance Coverage

Liability insurance helps pay for the damages to another person’s car when you cause an accident.

Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance to help pay for damages if you cause a crash. 

Shutterstock / MakDill

What Is Liability Car Insurance and What Does It Cover?

The cost of a car accident can add up quickly. If you were at fault, you could be responsible for repairs to the other car, as well as medical bills if anyone was hurt. And if your car bounced over a curb and, say, damaged someone’s fence, you’d have to pay for that, too. Can’t cover those costs? Your wages might be garnished until all the bills are settled. When you’re at fault in an accident, liability coverage on your car insurance policy can help save the day.

What is liability car insurance?

Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance. If you cause an accident, liability coverage pays to help fix the damages. That includes injuries to others, plus damage to other people’s property. And if you get sued, your coverage can pay to repair or replace the other driver’s vehicle; reimburse other injured drivers, passengers, or pedestrians for medical expenses and lost wages; and pay for others’ damaged property—up to your policy’s limit—so you don’t have to pay those expenses out of your own pocket.

What does liability insurance cover?

Liability insurance includes bodily injury coverage, which pays medical bills and lost wages for people who were hurt, whether they were passengers, drivers, or pedestrians involved in the accident. It also includes property damage coverage, which pays to repair or replace other people’s vehicles if they were wrecked. Property coverage also pays for the repair or replacement of other people’s property that was damaged in an accident, including fences, lampposts, and mailboxes.

A liability policy is usually expressed as a series of three numbers. A 50/100/25 policy, for instance, pays up to $50,000 per person for bodily injury per accident, up to $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and up to $25,000 for property damage for each incident.

What isn’t covered by liability insurance?

Liability insurance doesn’t cover:

  • repairs to your own vehicle

  • your own medical bills

Collision insurance covers damage to your car, however, and medical payments coverage pays your own medical bills.

What is the minimum liability insurance coverage required?

The minimum auto liability coverage requirement varies by state. Be sure to check your state’s current laws and requirements. The limits in select states as of March 2019 are provided below.

Alaska

$50,000 bodily injury liability per person
$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$25,000 property damage liability per accident

Arizona

$15,000 bodily injury liability per person
$30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$10,000 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

Montana

$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident

Nevada

$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 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

Wyoming

$25,000 bodily injury liability per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000 property damage liability per accident

How much liability coverage do I need?

To figure out how much liability coverage you need, think about the total value of your assets, which you’ll want to protect. If you cause an accident and the total bill exceeds your coverage limits, you’ll have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. An insurance agent can help you find the right policy and coverage for you.

AAA provides exceptional auto insurance including liability coverage, so you can get behind the wheel without worry. AAA also offers good driver discounts, knowledgeable agents, and great perks like roadside assistance.

Exceptional coverage. Expert service. Extra savings. 
AAA Auto, Home, and Life Insurance 

More Car Insurance Definitions

The availability, qualifications, and amounts of coverages, costs and discounts may vary from state to state and there may be coverages and discounts not listed here. In addition, other terms, conditions, and exclusions not described above may apply, and total savings may vary depending on the coverages purchased. For more information regarding your eligibility for certain coverages and savings opportunities, please contact your AAA agent. Insurance products in California offered by AAA Northern California Insurance Agency. License #0175868, in Nevada by AAA Nevada and in Utah by AAA Utah. Insurance provided by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer.