Accidents Are a Fact
Even if you're the best driver on your block, accidents have a chance of happening any time you get behind the wheel. To protect yourself, your family, and your vehicle, it's important to have a reliable auto insurance policy.
But should your insurance policy cover the other driver, too? Find out what bodily injury liability insurance is and learn why this type of coverage is critical for Illinois drivers.
What Is Bodily Injury Liability?
Bodily injury liability is a type of auto insurance coverage. However, it doesn't cover costs related to your vehicle's damage. Instead, it pays for injuries that other people sustain as a result of the driver's actions.
This type of policy generally applies to the driver of the other car, passengers in either car, and even pedestrian bystanders.
Bodily injury liability insurance may sound like an optional add-on. However, for most drivers, this coverage is a requirement. In fact, aside from Florida and New
Hampshire, every state in the U.S. requires bodily injury liability.
That means Illinois drivers need this type of coverage before getting behind the wheel.
Most bodily injury liability policies provide coverage for the following:
- Medical expenses and hospital bills.
- Legal expenses related to the accident.
- Lost wages resulting from accident-related injuries.
- Funeral expenses.
Although Florida and New Hampshire drivers don't need bodily injury liability, they do have to be prepared to cover costs in other ways.
In Florida, drivers are required to have both personal injury protection and property damage liability coverage. In New Hampshire, drivers have to prove that they have cash reserves to cover any damage.
The extent of bodily injury liability coverage varies widely from policy to policy, and most include limits for a few separate categories. That's because auto insurance policies typically state bodily injury liability limits in relation to other liability limits.
When you review the liability insurance for your auto coverage, you'll notice a series of three numbers separated by slashes. For example, your policy might indicate "25/50/25." These numbers reflect the various limits of your policy. To interpret the numbers, multiply each by 1,000 and then follow this short guide:
- The first number reflects the upper limit of what your insurance policy will pay out for injuries to a single person involved in an accident. In the example above, the policy would pay out $25,000 toward one person's accident-related injuries.
- The second number indicates the total amount your insurance provider will pay out for injuries to everyone involved in an accident, except for you. Most auto insurance policies include separate coverage for drivers, so expenses for your own injuries aren't included in this number. In the example above, the policy would payout up to $50,000 toward the total of everyone else's accident-related injuries.
- The third number shows the total amount your provider will pay out for property damage resulting from an accident. This coverage applies to damage to vehicles, buildings, and other structures. In the example above, the policy would payout up to $25,000 toward accident-related property damage.
Keep in mind that all three numbers reflect the limit your insurance provider will pay after the deductible. To calculate the final amount, subtract your policy's deductible, which maybe $500, $1,000, or another amount.
In some cases, your auto insurance policy might show just two numbers separated by a slash, such as "25/50." That's because some policies state bodily injury liability separately from property damage liability. To find all three liability insurance limits, you may need to read further through your policy.
If you get in an accident and the other driver is at fault, their bodily injury liability insurance should cover your injuries. If you cause an accident while driving, however, your bodily injury liability policy provides coverage. For example, if you drive through a stop sign and collide with another vehicle, these scenarios illustrate how your coverage would work:
If a passenger in the other vehicle breaks an arm and has to go to the hospital, your bodily injury liability insurance covers their medical expenses up to your policy's limit. If their expenses total $20,000 and you have the minimum coverage for Illinois drivers, your policy would pay for all of their costs.
If the passenger has to miss several days of work and has $5,000 worth of lost wages, your bodily injury liability would also cover this amount as long as no other passengers file claims.
Every state has its own requirements for bodily injury liability coverage. Before purchasing an auto insurance policy, you should make sure it includes the minimum coverage your state requires.
For example, Illinois state law requires drivers to have 25/50/20 coverage. As an Illinois driver, your policy should provide $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $20,000 in property damage liability per accident after your deductible.
In some cases, the minimum amount doesn't provide enough coverage. If you're at fault for an accident that results in extensive injuries, your bodily injury liability policy may not cover all of the necessary expenses. When this happens, the other people involved in the accident can sue you to cover their costs, which you may have to pay out of pocket.
To avoid excessive out-of-pocket costs, consider purchasing a policy with additional liability coverage. In some cases, you might also want to consider a personal umbrella insurance policy. These policies let you add extra liability coverage to your auto insurance policy. If claims exceed the limits of your auto insurance coverage, the umbrella policy will cover the additional amount, up to the stated limits.
Whether you need auto insurance or an SR-22 quote, the American Auto Insurance team is at your service. Get a free quote today and protect yourself without breaking the bank.
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