Wait, what is liability coverage?
It’s 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and you have a little downtime before you’re going to head home from work. You remember the last time you were paying your bills, you realized you wanted to see if you could save money on car insurance.
So you hop online, answer a few questions and seconds later you have a quote. And hey, look at that!
You think, “I don’t need all that other stuff, right? All I need is liability coverage. Oh, but wait — I have no idea what liability is, or what that covers.”
Put simply, “liability” means “damage to things or injuries to others that you’re legally responsible for.”
Liability auto insurance coverage is for other people getting hurt, and things you might hit (another car, a telephone pole, or a building). It is mandatory in most states if you own and drive a car, and requires a minimum coverage. If you own your car outright, it may be all you need — technically. However, if you are making payments or leasing, you’ll need to carry more than liability insurance.
But probably more important than knowing what it does cover is knowing what liability insurance does NOT cover.
- Damage to your car
- A rental car if you can’t drive your car after an accident
- Protection from uninsured or underinsured drivers
- Roadside assistance
Reading that list, you can see why it’s such a good idea to have the other types of coverage as well, not just liability. Understanding the basics of liability insurance is a good start. We recommend also learning about the full range of insurance coverage available when shopping for new or cheaper rates. Read more about other types of coverage here.
The LoDown: There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to insurance coverage. For example, if you own an older car, it may not be worth your while to pay for collision or comprehensive coverage. After all, the value of your vehicle may not be worth the expense. That’s not to say liability insurance is all you need; many states also require Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) and Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage.
Insurance protip: Ask questions! We know insurance jargon is tricky, and frankly, not very fun to read. No matter whom you buy insurance from (though we think it should be us), let the pros answer your questions so you can make an informed decision.