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You should have at least as much bodily injury liability insurance coverage as your state requires, and it’s good to purchase coverage limits that are equal to your assets. Maintaining enough bodily injury liability insurance to cover your net worth is recommended to prevent lawsuits.
Bodily injury liability coverage pays for other drivers’ and passengers’ injuries when the policyholder is at fault in an accident. Bodily injury liability can cover medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, legal fees, and other related costs.
How Much Bodily Injury Liability You Need
Drivers everywhere except New Hampshire, Virginia, and remote parts of Alaska are required to carry at least their state’s minimum required amount of bodily injury liability coverage. And in every state, you are legally responsible for serious injuries resulting from car accidents that you cause.
In most states, if your bodily injury limits are not high enough to pay for all the medical bills from an accident, the not-at-fault driver and their passengers can sue you for any uncompensated expenses. Drivers with a high net worth are especially vulnerable targets for lawsuits if their bodily injury coverage does not pay for all of the other driver’s expenses.
Consequently, you should have enough bodily injury liability coverage to equal your assets, rather than just carrying your state’s minimum. After all, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that the average bodily injury liability claim in 2016, the latest year with data, was $19,201 – more than some states require in coverage.
If you need more coverage than car insurance companies sell, you can always purchase an umbrella policy to keep your assets from being seized in the event of a lawsuit.
Bodily Injury Liability Requirements by State
Limit (per person)
CA, LA, PA
CT, HI, ID, MA, MI
NY, IL, OH, GA, and 30 others
MN, NC, TX, VA
Bodily Injury Liability Limits Example
The limits for bodily injury liability will usually be displayed as 15/30 or $15,000/$30,000, which is the minimum required for California. These numbers mean that, for any given accident, a driver's bodily injury liability insurance will cover:
- $15,000 for injuries sustained by any one person
- $30,000 for injuries sustained by all people involved in the accident
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