What Is Bodily Injury Liability?

June 09, 2014

Vehicle-to-Vehicle-CommunicationIt’s a major part of your auto insurance policy. Undoubtedly, if you’ve tried to fill out your insurance information online or have attempted to get an online insurance quote, you’ve been asked about your bodily injury liability limits. If you’re like most people, you had to look that up and, most likely, that’s what brought you here.

Bodily Injury Liability and BI Limits

Limits, liability, coverage… the auto insurance industry sure is attached to their jargon. Because of that, it isn’t easy to understand how auto insurance coverage works—especially when you get down to specific elements of your insurance policy like bodily injury liability limits. To help this go more smoothly, we’re going to break this explanation into smaller parts.

What do they mean by…

Bodily Injury

Bodily Injury refers to any time a driver or passenger, either in your vehicle or in another vehicle, is injured in such a way that they require medical treatment. It could be a bruise or abrasion, or it could be more severe. Basically, Bodily Injury refers to a person who has been hurt as a result of a vehicle-related accident. If you read the fine print on your auto insurance policy documents, your insurer will have a lengthy explanation of the term, but for the purposes of understanding your coverage, this what it means.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily Injury Liability means being responsible for the harm caused to an individual. For a deeper understanding of the term liability and how it is related to your auto insurance, take a moment and read our article explaining liability coverage. In terms of Bodily Injury Liability and your insurance policy (or your auto insurance quote), you are often asked to refer to or input two numbers. We’ll explain that next.

Bodily Injury Limits

Bodily Injury Limits are often referred to as a set of numbers (or dollar amounts) separated by a slash. They often look something like this: $100,000/$300,000 or this: 100/300. Bodily Injury Limits refer to the maximum amount your insurance company will pay when someone is injured by you in a car accident. We’ll explain these numbers in more detail next.

Bodily Injury Limits: How they Work

So now that you know what Bodily Injury Limits are, let us explain how they work. Your Bodily Injury Limits consist of two numbers separated by a slash. The first number is the maximum amount your auto insurance company will pay to cover costs related to medical bills arising from an injury related to a car accident. This first number represents the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a single person.

The second number in your Bodily Injury Limits shows the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for ALL medical bills (regardless of how many people are injured) stemming from a single car accident.

Do I Have Enough Coverage?

Like we said, it’s hard to know how much coverage is enough—especially for something as complex as bodily injury coverage. That’s why most states have minimum limits. A minimum limit means that the state establishes a certain amount of coverage that drivers are required to carry and no one is allowed to carry less than that.

If you have questions concerning state minimum requirements for your auto insurance, check out our Auto Insurance by State guides. Select your state and the scroll to the Auto Insurance Requirements section to view your state’s minimum coverage laws.

Additionally, when considering the amount of Bodily Injury Liability coverage to purchase, you should consider the value of all of your assets. Assets are anything you own that have a dollar value attached to them. This includes vehicles you own, property, real estate, and bank accounts. People with more assets tend to require higher limits—but ultimately, it’s up to you.

You can learn more about different kinds of insurance coverage and the details of these coverages in our Auto Insurance Guides section.

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