Bodily Injury Liability coverage is required on your auto insurance policy in New York State, but what is it, and how much should I have?
If you are deemed responsible for a car accident that causes an injury or injuries, bodily injury liability coverage is the part of auto insurance policy that pays for the costs associated with injuries to the person or people involved. This coverage also provides a legal defense in the event you are sued for damages. In summary, it covers such things as medical expenses, legal fees, loss of income, pain and suffering, and funeral costs.
Bodily injury liability is normally structured as two coverage amounts next to each other, such as $100,000/$300,000.
The first number ($100,000) represents the coverage limit for damages if only one person is injured in an accident. So, if the damages for this person exceeded $100,000, you would be responsible for covering the excess.
The second number ($300,000) represents the coverage limit for the total amount of damages if more than one person is injured. So, if the damages for this person exceeded $300,000, you would be responsible for covering the excess.
The NYS State minimum requirement for bodily injury liability is $25,000/$50,000. As you can imagine, this is not much protection. Severe injuries can result in very high damage amounts in the hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars.
So, how much bodily injury liability coverage should you carry? The simple answer to this question is that more is always better. The good news is, most of the rate is built in to the $25,000/$50,000 state minimum requirement. Once you raise your limits to $50,000/$100,000, $100,000/$300,000, $250,000/$500,000 and higher, the premium does not increase significantly. For a few extra dollars a month, it’s definitely worth the price to carry high limits.
In fact, there is also a relatively inexpensive way to increase bodily injury liability limits up and above the base limits on your policy with an umbrella. Adding an umbrella to provide an extra $1,000,000 layer of liability protection can cost as little as $150 to $200 a year and also extend over your home insurance policy.
Thanks for the read!