Catherine Hiles
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What is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance?

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small car with crumpled front end due to a collision
Photo: W. Robert Howell via CC

There are several different types of car insurance out there; some are required by law and others are just common sense to have in case of an accident. One such type is bodily injury liability insurance. What is this type of coverage, and do you need it?

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Bodily injury liability insurance definition

Bodily injury liability insurance provides coverage in case you cause an accident where other people are hurt. The insurance will cover medical bills, lost income, and damage that you’re liable for, and provide legal defense in the case that someone sues you. And if needed, it can help pay for funeral and burial costs if someone is killed in the car accident.

When choosing how much coverage you need, consider all of your assets including your home and future earnings. Unfortunately, those assets could be at risk if you’re liable for damages that exceed your coverage limit. The more assets you have, the more coverage you should get.

Is bodily injury liability insurance required by law?

Bodily injury liability insurance is required by law in almost every U.S. state. Only Florida does not mandate this type of coverage.

Some other states have a clause that allows drivers to decline this type of coverage if they have the available funds to pay for damages in an accident. In order to waive the coverage, the driver will need to show that they have the means to pay for expenses resulting from a car accident. That could mean posting a bond or depositing savings with the state, according to WalletHub.

Each state has its own requirements for the minimum amount of coverage required for bodily injury liability insurance. In Ohio, for example the minimum requirements are $25,000/$50,000. That means drivers must carry at least $25,000 in coverage per person, and $50,000 in coverage per accident.

Besides the fact that bodily liability insurance is mandatory in the majority of states, it also gives you peace of mind. As far as auto insurance goes, this might be the most important. There’s nothing more critical than making sure people who are hurt in car accidents get the care they need, and medical bills can get out of control quickly. Protect yourself, your family, and your assets by making sure you have enough coverage for a worst-case scenario.

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How much does it cost?

Like with all types of insurance, the cost of bodily injury liability insurance will depend on several factors, including your location, age, and gender. Your best bet is to shop around (or use an insurance broker to shop around for you) to find the best quote that gives you a good amount of coverage.

In conclusion, it’s likely your state requires you to have bodily injury liability insurance in order to legally drive, so check to make sure you are properly covered.

Watch: Learn how bodily injury liability insurance works