McKayla Girardin, Car Insurance Writer
Bodily injury liability works by covering other people’s medical expenses and lost wages if they are injured in an accident you cause. Bodily injury liability insurance will not pay for your own medical costs if you are at fault, but it can help pay your legal fees if you are sued as a result of the crash.
Bodily injury liability is a key part of liability insurance, along with property damage liability coverage. Most states require drivers to have at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 per accident.
How Bodily Injury Liability Limits Work
Bodily injury liability insurance comes in either single-limit or split-limit policies.
Single-limit policies offer a set dollar amount for both property damage and bodily injuries per accident. How much goes toward bodily injuries is determined by the nature of the accident.
Split-limit policies have a specific maximum dollar amount for each injured person and for the entire accident. These types of policies are typically written as 25/50/20, for example, in which the first number is your per-person bodily injury coverage and the second is your per-accident bodily injury limit. The third number is how much your insurer will pay for property damage per accident.
Example of How Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Works
Here’s an example of what might happen if your insurance policy has a split-limit of 25/50/20 and you cause an accident on the highway injuring three other people:
- Person 1’s medical expenses: $10,000
- Person 2’s medical expenses: $26,000
- Person 3’s medical expenses: $15,000
- How much bodily injury liability would pay: All of Person 1’s and Person 3’s expenses. $25,000 of Person 2’s expenses (because your per-person limit is $25,000).
- How much you would need to pay out-of-pocket: $1,000 of Person 2’s costs (the amount in excess of both your per-person and per-accident limits)
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s guide to bodily injury liability insurance.
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