What Does Auto Liability Insurance Cover?

Damage from a car hitting another car requiring an auto liability insurance claim

We all strive to be safe and responsible drivers, but everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, mistakes can result in automobile accidents that cause significant and expensive damages. Almost all states require drivers to have a certain amount of auto liability insurance.

When a driver is involved in an accident and the accident is determined to be their fault, their auto liability insurance typically covers the costs of the resulting bodily injury and/or property damages to another. Auto liability insurance can help the victim of an automobile accident to recoup  financial losses caused by the accident. Thus, auto liability insurance provides financial protection to both parties involved in the accident.

Read on to learn more about what auto liability insurance is and what it typically does and does not cover.

What Does Auto Liability Insurance Typically Cover?

An auto insurance policy with auto liability coverage not only covers the costs of resulting damages to another’s property but also the costs of bodily injuries they may have suffered.

Property Damage Coverage

Automobile accidents can occur in many different ways and can involve many different types of property. For example, a moment of inattention may have caused the driver to sideswipe another vehicle, ripping off their side-view mirror, scraping their paint job, or denting a door. Or the driver may have taken a corner too quickly in their vehicle, causing it to jump a curb and hit someone’s fence or even their house or a storefront.

Auto liability insurance covers costs of a wide range of damages to vehicles, buildings, landscaping, and structures like fences, gates, mailboxes, and light poles, as well as road infrastructure like signs and concrete barriers for which a driver may be financially liable if they are determined to be at fault. Whether the driver has damaged private, commercial, or government property as a result of the accident, auto liability insurance helps cover the costs of repair or replacement of the damaged property.

Property damage liability component of auto liability insurance may also cover other costs incurred as a result of property damage caused by an automobile accident. For example, if the driver has damaged someone’s vehicle to the point that they can no longer drive it, liability insurance  typically covers rental fees for a temporary replacement vehicle as they look for a new vehicle or wait for their vehicle to be repaired. Similarly, if the driver has damaged a family home, and the individuals residing in the home must live elsewhere while repairs are made, liability insurance may cover the costs of their lodging.

Bodily Injury Coverage

Vehicles are large, heavy machines, and the forces involved in a collision with another vehicle can cause severe injuries. If the driver is determined to be at fault and other people were injured as the result of the accident, the driver’s auto liability insurance covers the costs for their medical care, including, but not limited to:

  • Emergency care 
  • Extended hospital stays
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Prescriptions for pain medications
  • Long-term care

Along with providing coverage for the costs of medical bills, liability insurance may also cover costs for an accident victim’s pain and suffering they may have experienced as a result of the accident. Automobile accidents can cause a lot of emotional distress and trauma, both in the instant they happen and in the days, weeks, and months following. Emotional pain and suffering can be especially acute when compounded by severe injuries or long-term disabilities.

Accident victims may need counseling and other types of treatment for conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. If those conditions were a result of an automobile accident or the injuries sustained from the accident, auto liability coverage may cover the costs of treatment.

Bodily injury component of auto liability insurance may also cover the costs of the victim’s lost income if they are unable to work due to the injuries caused by the accident.

What Does Auto Liability Insurance Typically Not Cover?

Auto liability insurance only covers certain costs for damages caused to another if a driver is determined to be at fault. It does not cover damages to the driver’s own property or person. To cover those costs, the driver needs to have collision or comprehensive insurance (the pay the costs of damages to their vehicle) or personal injury protection (to pay the costs of treatment for the injuries sustained by the driver).

Do You Need Auto Liability Insurance?

As previously mentioned, most states require drivers to maintain liability insurance as part of their auto insurance policy. The minimum coverage amount required for coverage varies from state to state, so drivers should check their state’s requirements when they shop around for auto insurance.

Aside from the legal requirement to maintain auto liability insurance, having auto liability insurance is an important responsibility. You can’t always predict the future, but having auto liability insurance provides financial protection to you and third parties for costs of damages incurred in the event you cause an accident. If such a time comes, you’ll be grateful for your auto liability insurance.

How Much Does Auto Liability Insurance Cost?

How much you pay for auto liability insurance depends on the amount of coverage (the amount of money the insurance company will pay for different claims), and the types of coverages included in the policy.

Most states require drivers to have auto liability insurance, but some states may require lower amounts of coverage than others, and drivers in those states are able to purchase less expensive plans.

Some states may require drivers to maintain additional coverage types of auto insurance, which may include coverage for costs of damages resulting from an accident caused by a driver who is underinsured or uninsured. Even if your state does not legally require you to have certain types of auto insurance coverage, you should consider adding them to your auto insurance policy to provide yourself with extra financial protection for costs of damages caused by an automobile accident.

Auto liability insurance is an important part of auto insurance, but there is more that goes into purchasing your auto insurance policy. If you are looking for auto insurance that will meet the legal requirements in your state and give you peace of mind, contact Acrisure today. We'll help you find an auto insurance policy that is right for you. Or get started now by requesting an online quote.

Share a Story

Have you noticed a trend in financial services? Curious how
we craft our content? Looking for Acrisure to comment in
the media?