protects other drivers from or you might cause in an at- . It is the most basic form of and does not cover you or your in an . It is required by nearly every state in order to legally drive and register your .
- Bodily injury covers the medical bills for which you are responsible in a collision. Bodily injury insurance is allocated on a per-person and per-accident bases.
- Property damage covers the property damage you cause — to a vehicle, structure, bicycle, or other property.
Useful liability coverage terminology
When you see coverage amounts in a quote or policy, you might be a little confused about what each number actually means. For example, 50/100/50. The following table can help you understand exactly how these numbers apply when it comes to your car insurance coverage.
|50/||$50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person|
|100/||$100,000 in bodily injury coverage per incident|
|50||$50,000 in property damage liability per incident|
The amount of you carry depends on your personal preference and the laws in your state. Because is regulated at the state level, each state sets minimum policy limits for .
In this article, we'll discuss the basic components of and how much it costs:
- Liability covers damages you cause to other drivers and their property.
- Liability covers attorney's fees if you are sued because of an accident.
- Liability insurance is mandatory in all states except New Hampshire.
- Liability insurance costs vary depending on the level of coverage you choose and the company from which you purchase a policy.
- What other varieties of liability insurance exist?
- How much liability insurance are you required to carry?
is a type of that covers injuries caused by an at- driver. Alongside physical injuries, covers pain and suffering, loss of income, and other expenses for which you may be deemed liable after a . is mandatory in every state except Florida and New Hampshire and helps to cover:
- caused by injuries
- Emotional and physical pain or suffering
- Wages lost or diminished earning capacity caused by
pays for to another person's property or any loss-of-use costs for which you're found liable. helps to cover expenses like:
- and repairs
- Repair of damaged structures
- Debris removed as a result of an incident (trees, signage, etc.)
Other uses for
can also cover your legal fees if you are sued because of an . If you were to lose your case, your would be likely to assist in the settlement up to your limits. Any amount beyond your must be paid out of pocket.
How much does cost?
Within any facet of , how much you pay for will vary. For a 30-year-old male driving a 2016 Honda Civic with no accidents, the average cost of a 50/100/50 policy is $64 per month.
|Coverage||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
|State Minimum Liability Only||$597||$50|
|50/100/50 BI/PD Liability Only||$764||$64|
|100/300/100 BI/PD Liability Only||$748||$62|
Dynamic auto insurance data methodology
Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.
Which insurance company has the cheapest liability insurance rates?
Using the methodology outlined here, we compared rates for liability-only auto insurance by coverage levels.
USAA is the cheapest across the board for -only at all levels. If you do not qualify for USAA, GEICO is the second-cheapest option. Depending on your individual driving profile, your premium could vary. Use our rates as estimates and begin your search for with USAA and GEICO.
Although carrying high costs more, it can save you money in the long run. Not only will exceeding your limits leave you responsible for any additional costs, but a history of low is also considered a risky driving factor by . Any time your views you as a potentially risky client, you can expect a higher premium as a result.
Next, we'll examine how your rate will change if you opt for and on top of your required . The addition of these physical coverages is what makes a policy full . The driver profile used for the following analysis has a $1,000 deductible.
USAA and GEICO are the cheapest insurance companies for full coverage insurance.
On average, expect your rate to increase by about 56% if you add comprehensive and collision coverages to your policy. Liability-only policies tend to be the cheapest for a reason — they don't protect you or your vehicle if you're involved in a collision.
Our sample driver profile may not perfectly match your personalized pricing. Submit your zip code below to compare car insurance quotes side-by-side and ensure you get the best insurance at the lowest price.
Compare liability insurance rates online today.
Most large in America offer a variety of options. These commonly include:
- Commercial : For company vehicles, a commercial may be necessary to cover gaps a personal policy does not cover. Commercial policies offer additional for business vehicles such as trucks and transportation vehicles. A commercial would be useful in a situation where an employee backs into another on a job site.
- Business owners policy (BOP): A BOP is similar to a Commercial but offers additional property protections. This policy can help to cover store merchandise or equipment, expenses caused by business interruption, and on-property costs. If a hurricane were to destroy your shop, a BOP could help cover the cost of repairs and offer employees some compensation while the business is interrupted.
- Professional (errors and omissions ): This type of policy covers costs stemming from lawsuits for professional errors. These include being sued for negligence or giving bad professional advice.
What doesn't cover?
The big omission of is it does not cover any or bodily to you or your . Physical to your , aka comprehensive and , are separate you can elect to add to your .
What is not covered by ?
- : If you drive a valuable , i.e., worth more than $4,000, consider adding this to protect your from by striking a fixed object (such as a wall or another )
- : Usually paired with , protects your from incidents not covered by . This includes theft, vandalism, or animal .
- Uninsured/: This protects you and your from done by a driver without - or someone with insufficient . Like , it is broken down into and options. This can also apply if you're injured by a hit-and-run driver.
- (PIP): This add-on provides assistance for and work-loss after an , independent of . If you don't have health , PIP is worth considering. This is commonly coupled with no- .
Liability insurance does not cover damage or bodily injury to you or your vehicle - physical coverage to your vehicle would be separate coverage,
Per-occurrence limit vs. split limit policies
Different policies and companies can structure their differently. A per-occurrence limit is the most your policy will pay after one occurrence. For example, if you have a per-occurrence limit of $50,000, that is all you will receive after an at- for the other driver's and .
A split limit policy is more common and is what we described above. You will have separate amounts of for your and . Generally, a split limit policy is more recommended than a per-occurrence policy.
How much do you need?
Each state has its own mandatory minimums. While we've listed the minimum amounts of required by state at the end of this section, it's often a good idea to carry more than the minimum. We generally recommend limits above 50/100/50 - especially if you have financial assets.
Although you might save a few bucks by dropping , it's not recommended to maintain a low level of because:
- You are responsible for any remaining not covered by your
- You could be perceived as high-risk by
You're responsible for damages not covered by your :
Because some states have very low , you end up being responsible for any not covered by your . Let's say you're a California resident who totals another driver's 2019 Ford F150 - listed at $28,155 - in an at- . In California, mandatory minimum covers $5,000. You would be responsible for the remaining $23,155. Depending on your financial situation, this could be a tricky hole to climb out of without sufficient levels of .
You appear as a high-risk driver to :
Carrying your state's minimum not only leaves you on the hook for any damages leftover from a claim but also stands out as a red flag for insurers. If you elect to carry high , you shoulder some of the 's and risk. If you carry the bare minimum of and , you pass more risk along to the insurer - leading to more expensive premiums, in many cases.
To avoid higher insurance rates, consider keeping your liability coverage at 100/300/100, if possible, and find out more about how much car insurance coverage you need.
If you carry only the bare minimum of insurance, you pass more risk along to the insurer - which can lead to more expensive premiums.
State-by-state minimum liability limits
Explore the table below to learn how much liability insurance you need in your state. Or, use The Zebra to gather quotes and get coverage today.
Compare rates and find the policy that's right for you today.
- Vanishing Deductible
- Best Car Insurance with a $1,000 Deductible
- Car Insurance Calculator
- Car Insurance for Road Trips
- What is the New Car Grace Period for Insurance?
- Choosing Car Insurance Deductibles
- Accident Forgiveness Policy Comparison
- Is Car Theft Covered by Auto Insurance?
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- What is Car Storage Insurance?
About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.