Liability car insurance is required by 49 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. But like a lot of drivers, you may not know what it is, how it protects you, or how much you need. State Farm® is here to help.
"Liability car insurance" or "liability coverage" is insurance that pays other parties when they're hurt or their property is damaged in an accident and the insured is "at-fault." If you are sued, it also helps pay your defense and court costs.
And while drivers must have liability car insurance with minimum required limits in almost every state, it's often a good idea for drivers to purchase more coverage than the law requires.
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How It Works
Let's say you were distracted while backing out of a parking space and didn't see the car behind you. You hit the other car, slightly injuring the driver and her passenger. After the impact, one of the two cars rolls into a nearby fence.
In this case, you'd be considered "at-fault," and your auto liability insurance would pay damages for the bodily injury to others. These damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Your liability insurance would also pay to repair the damage to the other car and for damage to the fence.
There Are Two Kinds of Liability Car Insurance
Bodily Injury Liability pays damages due to bodily injury to others when you are responsible for the accident. Medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages are some examples of bodily injury damages. If you are sued, it also pays your defense and court costs.
Property Damage Liability pays for damage done to another party's property and for the loss of use of that property.
What Liability Car Insurance Doesn't Cover
If you're responsible for an accident, your liability coverage won't pay to repair damage done to your vehicle or for any injuries you may have received.
How Much Liability Coverage Should You Have?
The minimum amount of liability coverage you're legally required to carry varies by state. If you choose to get additional liability coverage, your premiums will be higher, but you may be in a much better position if you have an accident.
We suggest you ask yourself, "How much can I afford to pay out of my own pocket if I'm responsible for an accident?" Minor "fender-benders" are often fully covered by the minimum insurance required by law. But bad accidents – ones involving serious injuries, major property damage and even fatalities – can be very costly, and the at-fault driver is responsible for expenses not covered by his or her liability insurance.
You should purchase the coverage amount you feel comfortable with and can afford.
Find an Agent
Please remember that the preceding descriptions contain only a general description of available coverages and are not a statement of contract. All coverages are subject to all policy provisions and applicable endorsements. Coverage options may vary by state. To learn more about auto insurance coverage in your state, find a State Farm agent.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
State Farm Indemnity Company
State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas