If you’ve ever purchased a car insurance policy, you’ve probably heard of bodily injury coverage, at least in passing. Yet you might not know all the details about what exactly it constitutes.

When it comes to auto insurance, you’re paying for peace of mind. Knowing that you have the protection you need helps give you assurance when you’re driving around. You know you’ll be protected regardless of what occurs on the road, right?

Well, yes, in most cases. However, it all depends on the types of coverage you choose to have as part of your policy. Most insured drivers do have bodily injury coverage. Here’s how it works.

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Bodily Injury Liability Coverage:

Bodily injury coverage acts as protection in case of a collision where another driver is injured. It covers the damages you’re legally responsible for if the accident is your fault.

For example, if the other driver is injured, your bodily injury insurance will cover the medical expenses of that individual. If they have lost wages due to recovery time, need nurse care, or have to deal with an extensive amount of pain and suffering, your insurance will cover those expenses up to a stated amount.

The specified amount is listed on your insurance contract. In most states, there is a minimum liability coverage amount for both bodily injury and property damage. Both of these apply to other drivers, or other cars involved in an accident that you’re at full or partial fault for. Bodily injury insurance also acts as a legal defense in case other individuals involved sue for additional damages. Beware that this type of coverage does not cover any of your passengers, or your own injury expenses.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Depending upon your personal situation and amount of assets, you may choose to have higher amounts of bodily injury coverage than required by your state.

All of this comes down to ease of mind and is up to you and your individual situation. Raising your bodily injury coverage can offer protection in case another driver decides to sue you for additional damages. In such a case, the remaining bodily injury amount that has not been used will go towards legal fees and expenses. You may choose to increase your coverage amount so that no one can go after your assets.

Typically, bodily injury coverage is listed alongside property damage insurance under liability protection. It may read something like: 50/150/50. The first number represents the amount available for damages per individual; in this case it is $50,000. The second number represents the maximum to be paid for all injuries;  $150,000. The third number represents the amount available for property damages; again $50,000. These numbers vary by state requirements and your own adjustments, but the order remains the same.

How Does Bodily Injury Work in No-Fault States?

Bodily injury insurance does apply in no-fault states. At first, you may think that it’s unnecessary, as in no-fault states each driver is covered for expenses under their own policy. However, no-fault also means that if a specific verbal or monetary threshold is exceeded, lawsuits are possible. That’s where bodily injury coverage could be beneficial, as it would offer protection for legal fees.   

Final Points to Consider:

Remember, if the damages surpass your bodily injury coverage than the additional expenses will have to come out of your pocket. That’s why you may want to consider increasing your coverage limits, especially if you have assets, as another driver may sue for your property.

You can always speak to your agent and compare options for liability coverage. Bodily injury coverage can pay off after a serious accident, even if increasing from the minimum amount doesn’t seem worth it at first. Talk to your insurer and compare carriers to see what’s right for you. Medical expenses can be deceiving in cost, and the last thing an at-fault driver wants is to be faced with exceedingly high damages on top of an increased premium.

In the end, the amount of bodily injury coverage you have is up to you. Take into account all considerations and determine how much protection you need in order to feel safe and adequately insured while driving.

Photo Credits (top image): WikimediatOrange