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Bodily Injury Car Insurance Coverage

woman and man going over their insurance policy

If you ever walked into an auto insurance agency, then you must have purchased or looked at bodily injury coverage during those times. The majority of the drivers in the United States are familiar with bodily injury insurance because it’s required in a majority of the states. The legislation and practice aim to fulfill a significant purpose -so that whenever you injure another driver or damage their car, you would be able to pay for the repairs and treatment. Anything from medical payments to legal fees is covered with the various types of liability insurance. What’s more, there are adjustable limits and other types of policies that can help the insurance company fully cover your expenses should they go over your coverage limit. You’d also be able to list additional drivers on the policy so that they can be covered. If you’re hearing and reading about this for the first time, the information can be overwhelming. This guide exists to break down that information, and perhaps by the end of the reading, you’ll have the know-how to approach bodily injury coverage.

What is Bodily Injury Coverage, And How Does it Work?

For many new policyholders, bodily injury and liability coverage is the policy they’re first acquainted with. It’s a great introductory course to insurance because its function is pretty simple -to cover you, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket for damage expenses. Accidents happen, so it helps to be prepared for them, and they shouldn’t take a chunk out of your money. If you think about it that way, the insurance requirement laws are in place to financially protect yourself and others you’re in an accident with. But how exactly would it work?

Here’s how a typical situation where bodily injury and liability coverage is used. You are driving down the road or highway and hit the driver in front of you at an intersection—accident accountability matters for injury liability coverage. In this case, you caused the collision. Your car is damaged, and you’re not hurt badly. However, the other car was also damaged, and the driver sustained minor injuries like bruises. You would file a claim with your and the other driver’s insurance company. Based on your policy, you would receive coverage for the injury of the other driver and the damage to their car. Your insurance has limits that you are able to set, which you will then receive coverage in the same amount when a claim is filed. Additionally, you would be covered for any legal fees in the event of a lawsuit and funeral expenses should a fatality occur.

In this situation, you would need to use your bodily injury to pay for the other driver’s medical expenses within your policy limits. The second type of liability insurance -property damage liability would be required to cover the damages done to their car. To cover yourself and your car, you’ll want to look into full coverage. This page focuses only on basic coverage.

What, Along With Bodily Injury Liability, Makes Up Basic Coverage?

Basic coverage refers to only bodily injury liability and property damage policies. Often these types of coverages and certain limits are required by most states. As previously mentioned and for the final time, bodily injury coverage provides financing for any injurers to another driver that you cause. If there are multiple people in the other car, then they would be covered as well. Property damage coverage supplies payment for repairs to a car that you damaged or was involved in an accident that you caused. Insurance companies regularly offer free quotes for policies such as these.

What Other Expenses Does Bodily Injury Coverage Include?

No more being vague. Let’s get right down to the specific details about everything that bodily injury coverage includes in its policy:

  • Medical fees - Not only are associated medical fees of the other driver covered but so are any costs of follow-up medical attention or additional care.
  • Lost wages - While recovering in medical care, the afflicted driver may miss work, and their income must be made up for. Bodily injury coverage reimburses them an amount depending on absent days.
  • Legal bills- If you are sued or taken to court, your insurance company can provide adequate defense against a lawsuit regarding the accident since you were covered at the time.
  • Funeral expenses - Funeral and burial expenses are covered in the event of a fatality, as mentioned before.

How Much is The Coverage Limit For Bodily Injury Liability?

You can do two things to get a feel for how much your bodily injury coverage limits should be. The first is to look up the minimum limit requirement for your state at their Department of Motor Vehicles website. An even easier way is to simply remember “25/50/25.”

Each number refers to a liability policy and its limit amount:

  • 25 - The first 25 refers to the $25,000 minimum coverage limit on bodily injury of a driver you hit in an accident. This is often called “per person.”
  • 50 - The middle 50 is to the $50,000 minimum coverage limit on bodily injury of multiple people like passengers in the other car involved in the accident. This is often called “per accident.”
  • 25 - The third and last 25, or $25,000 minimum, doesn’t refer to the bodily injury policy but rather to the property damage, which covers damage to another driver’s car.

What Are The Minimum Bodily Injury Liability Requirements by State?

$25,000 as the minimum required amount of bodily injury liability insurance is pretty universal in the United States. A couple of states set their minimum at $15,000, like California and New Jersey. When it comes to per accident limits, they can range anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000. Here in Illinois, the limits are $25,000 and $50,000, as is over 70% of the states. However, you shouldn’t let your state’s requirements dictate what your limits and coverage should be. Every policyholder’s insurance limits are different because the cost truly depends on their individual cases.

How Much is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage And What Are The Rates?

Now let’s take a look at the average sticker price and monthly rates for bodily injury coverage. As a new customer, the insurance company will check your driving history to assess whether or not you are what they consider to be a high-risk driver. A driving record that would warrant this is one with numerous traffic violations and a couple of collisions. Right off the bat, this can result in increased premiums or rates to compensate for the associated risk. Rates, however, can be reduced if more coverage is bought.

Here’s what an Illinois state minimum bodily injury liability limit would cost on average. Say that your limits are $25,000/$50,000 in bodily injury liability. Property damage isn’t included here. The annual cost for this insurance would be $560, which is around $47 a month. You’ll notice a more significant difference if the limits were at $100,000/$200,000, then the annual cost would go up to $627. This is closer to the national average of $611 that many pay. In conclusion, if you put higher limits on your coverage, your premiums will be higher, but you’ll have more coverage-per-dollar-spent. When it comes to affordability, bodily injury liability isn’t a big strain on the average budget, and there are much pricier policies. While shopping around, check to see what discounts or bundles you qualify for to lessen the sticker price if you feel it is too much.

How to File an Insurance Claim With Bodily Injury Liability

If you’re reading this page as an introduction to liability insurance, you may be unfamiliar with the claim filing process with the insurance company. And by insurance company, we don’t mean yours but the other driver’s since the claim will be against them if they are at fault. Whether it’s you or another driver at fault, standby while the claim is processed and accepted by your insurers. Filing a bodily injury liability claim takes some documentation.

You should be able to provide:

  • Account of accident - Include the details of the accident such as where, when, and how since who is already established.
  • Photos of damage - Documenting the damage and accident scene with photos is always a good idea to solve unclear or crucial details.
  • Medical treatment records - If someone involved had to be taken directly to the hospital to receive care, then those records of that visit and treatment should be included in the claim.
  • Additional receipts - Any expenses related to the auto accident, like the repair receipt, should be saved and submitted as well.
  • Proof of missed work pay - This is also the time to report any lost wages on account of missing work. Employers usually provide documentation for cases like this.

After contacting your insurance company and submitting the claim, it may take time for them to return back to you with new information. They may get you in contact with a claim examiner, whom to report all the above information. There’s also a time period between when the claim is accepted and when you’re able to collect the compensation. Any legal settlements are also disputed during this time frame. There’s a single release form you must sign before it is made official as well. For the most part, as long as you have all your documentation and records, the claim process is primarily the waiting game.

How Much Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Should You Get?

Every policyholder sets their limits and coverage differently based on the value of the assets they’re trying to protect so they don’t get liquidated to pay for damages. Odds are the value of your assets greatly exceeds the state minimum of $25,000 and $50,000. Financial risk tends to be more for those with a greater value of assets. Therefore they often opt for higher limits. Think of it this way when setting your limits, if you were taken to court with a significant lawsuit, how much would you have to lose? Set that as your bodily injury liability coverage limit. Or, simply set them as your net worth as most policyholders do.