What is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

Car accidents occur every day, and some cause serious injuries. When a driver or passenger is injured in a car accident, the driver responsible for the accident is frequently held financially responsible. They may be asked to compensate the injured party for any medical bills, pain and suffering, or financial losses related to the injuries. Bodily injury liability coverage helps protect drivers from covered injury-related claims and lawsuits that arise from accidents they cause. 

Bodily injury liability coverage is usually purchased as part of an auto insurance policy. Both personal and commercial auto policies frequently include it as either a standard or optional coverage.

How Are Bodily Injury Limits Structured?

Bodily injury coverage is typically written with two limits, which are often expressed as $XXX,XXX / $XXX,XXX. For example, a policy’s bodily injury coverage might have limits of $500,000 / $1,000,000.

The first of the two numbers is usually a per-occurrence limit, and the second is normally an aggregate limit. Thus, a policy will normally provide coverage for a single accident up to the first number, and the amount of protection provided over the course of the policy generally won’t exceed the second number.

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What Potential Expenses Are Covered by Bodily Injury Coverage?

When an auto insurance policy’s bodily injury protection covers a claim, it normally covers several potential expenses associated with the claim. Depending on a policy’s terms, conditions, and exclusions, these may include:

  • Legal defense fees associated with defending the covered driver
  • Medical costs related to injuries sustained by a claimant
  • Losses of income arising from a claimant's injuries
  • Compensation for a claimant’s pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses if injuries prove to be fatal

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What’s the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability Coverage?

Bodily injury coverage and property damage liability coverage are two different types of liability protection. Bodily injury coverage generally protects drivers from claims related to injuries that other people sustain. Property damage coverage typically provides protection from claims that seek to hold a driver responsible for damage to property (e.g. other cars, buildings, or signs).

Are Drivers Legally Required to Carry Bodily Injury Coverage?

Laws regarding auto insurance vary from state to state. Many states have laws requiring drivers to carry auto insurance that includes bodily injury coverage, but not all do. Drivers can find out what their state's requirements are by speaking with an insurance agent who's licensed in their state.

Even when drivers don’t legally need bodily injury coverage, lots of drivers still choose to get an auto policy that has this coverage. Accidents that cause injuries can be expensive. Without insurance coverage, few drivers could afford a major bodily injury claim. 

Is Bodily Injury Coverage Expensive?

Adding bodily injury coverage to an auto insurance policy almost always increases the policy’s premiums, but the rate increase is often small compared to the increase in coverage. In many cases, drivers can get a lot of bodily injury coverage at very affordable rates. 

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How Can Drivers Purchase Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

As mentioned, bodily injury liability coverage is usually obtained through an auto insurance policy. For assistance finding an auto insurance policy that provides the right amount of bodily injury coverage, drivers should talk with an independent insurance agent. An independent agent can help drivers determine how much bodily injury coverage they want, and then an agent can request quotes for auto policies that provide that amount of protection. Because independent agents can get quotes from multiple insurance companies, drivers can be confident that they’re getting the bodily injury coverage they need at an affordable rate.


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Jeff Kroeger

Principal, Senior Vice President, and Head of Commercial Lines, Mr. Kroeger also manages the company's hospitality book of business and is that unit's primary producer. He is a graduate of Montclair State University and was named a 2015 Young Gun Insurance Business America.

Jeff has been providing exceptional insurance for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and more for many years. He understands the unique challenges this industry faces and delivers the right coverage at an affordable price.

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