what-is-property-damage-liability-insurance?

You’re driving home from work and a deer dashes across the road. Swerving to avoid it, you hop the curb, and smash through the neighbor’s fence. Who pays to fix it? 

If you’re insured, your insurance company covers the cost, minus your deductible. This is the role of property damage liability insurance—coverage for damage you cause to another person’s property. Liability coverage is the most basic form of car insurance, and all states—exceptNew Hampshire—require it. 

Key Takeaways

  • Most states require car owners to buy property damage liability insurance.
  • This  coverage pays for damage to someone else’s property, such a fence, lamp post or another driver’s car.
  • It doesn’t cover damage to your own vehicle.
  • Minimum liability requirements vary by state.
  • On average, a policy that meets state minimums costs $52 per month.

How Does Property Damage Liability Insurance Work?

Property damage liability insurance usually makes up just one part of your car insurance policy. Car insurance policies typically contain the following coverage types: 

  • Bodily Injury Liability: If you or a covered family member cause injuries to someone else, bodily injury liability coverage helps paytheir medical bills and lost wages. 
  • Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP): If you’re in an accident and you or a passenger are injured, medical payments coverage or PIP will pay for your medical payments, lost wages, and even funeral costs. 
  • Collision: Collision insurance pays for repairs or replacement costs for the policyholder’s vehicle after an accident.  
  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage reimburses policyholders for losses from theft or weather damage. 
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If you’re in an accident with a person who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pay for your car repairs and other expenses. 
  • Property Damage Liability: Property damage liability insurance covers repairs to another person’s car or property, such as a fence or building, when you are at fault in an accident. It will also pay for the removal of debris, such as a damaged tree or signs, that occurs after an accident.  

Liability coverage is typically written with three numbers, such as $50,000/$100,000/$50,000. The first number reflects your bodily injury coverage, the second number is your bodily injury coverage per incident limit, and the third number is the property damage liability portion. 

Property damage liability doesn’t cover repairs for your own vehicle or your medical expenses, so you’ll need additional coverage to protect yourself, such as collision and comprehensive insurance.  

How Much Property Damage Liability Insurance Is Required? 

How much property damage liability insurance you’re required to have is dependent on what state you live in. Below are the minimum requirements for each state and Washington, D.C.: 

  1. Alabama: $25,000
  2. Alaska: $25,000
  3. Arizona: $10,000
  4. Arkansas: $25,000
  5. California: $5,000 
  6. Colorado: $15,000
  7. Connecticut: $20,000
  8. Delaware: $10,000
  9. D.C.: $10,000
  10. Florida: $10,000
  11. Georgia: $25,000
  12. Hawaii: $10,000
  13. Idaho: $15,000
  14. Illinois: $20,000
  15. Indiana: $25,000
  16. Iowa: $15,000
  17. Kansas: $25,000
  18. Kentucky: $25,000 
  19. Louisiana: $25,000
  20. Maine: $25,000
  21. Maryland: $15,000
  22. Massachusetts: $5,000
  23. Michigan: $10,000
  24. Minnesota: $10,000
  25. Mississippi: $25,000
  26. Missouri: $25,000
  27. Montana: $20,000
  28. Nebraska: $25,000
  29. Nevada: $20,000
  30. New Hampshire: $25,000
  31. New Jersey: $5,000
  32. New Mexico: $10,000
  33. New York: $10,000
  34. North Carolina: $25,000
  35. North Dakota: $25,000
  36. Ohio: $25,000
  37. Oklahoma: $25,000
  38. Oregon: $20,000
  39. Pennsylvania: $5,000
  40. Rhode Island: $25,000
  41. South Carolina: $25,000
  42. South Dakota: $25,000
  43. Tennessee: $15,000
  44. Texas: $25,000
  45. Utah: $15,000
  46. Vermont: $10,000 
  47. Virginia: $20,000
  48. Washington: $10,000
  49. West Virginia: $25,000
  50. Wisconsin: $10,000
  51. Wyoming: $20,000

How Much Does Property Damage Liability Coverage Cost? 

Since property damage liability coverage is required by law in most states, you’ll need to purchase coverage from an insurance company. How much your car insurance policy will cost is dependent on your location, vehicle, driving record, age, gender, insurance options, and coverage amounts. 

If you intend only to get state-minimum liability protection, the average cost for a 30-year-old man is $52 per month. 

Most drivers find liability-only policies insufficient. To give themselves more protection, 78% of insured drivers add collision coverage . A policy that includes liability protection and comprehensive and collision coverage with a $500 deductible will cost on average $1,483 per year or $124 each month. 

Buying Car Insurance

All cars require insurance. At a very least, owners  should buy a policy that meets state-minimum bodily injury and property damage liability insurance requirements. For  the best rates, shop for quotes from multiple car insurance companies

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