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Bodily Injury Liability Guide

Bodily Injury Liability Guide

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Mandy Sleight
Updated September 18, 2022
4 Min Read

Bodily injury liability insurance is a car insurance coverage that pays for the injuries of other people you harm in an accident. The injured party could include bystanders, pedestrians, bicyclists, as well as the other driver and their passengers. In most states, bodily injury liability insurance is a requirement, though the coverage limits vary by state. 

This is just one type of liability insurance on an auto insurance policy. Property damage liability insurance pays for damage you cause to someone else’s property in an accident. Your liability insurance covers listed drivers on your insurance policy and other drivers you give permission to drive your car.

What does bodily injury liability insurance cover?

As the name suggests, bodily injury liability insurance covers the other party’s bodily injury in an accident they are not at fault in. But it also covers several other costs the injured party might incur because of the accident.

Childcare and home care

If the injured party cannot perform home care or childcare tasks as a result of the injuries sustained in an accident, the responsible party’s bodily injury liability insurance will pay reasonable and customary costs for these expenses. 

For example, let’s say you receive a broken arm and sprained ankle in an accident you are not at fault in. You have a baby at home and your spouse works full time while you stay at home with your children. The responsible party’s bodily injury insurance will pay for childcare to help you take care of your baby and someone to clean your home until your arm is mended.

Emergency care

If you’re taken to the hospital by ambulance, you will likely incur ambulance and emergency room fees. The other party’s bodily injury liability insurance can cover these costs since they were at fault for the accident that caused you to have to go in for emergency care.

Equipment costs

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may go home with medical equipment, such as crutches, a brace, a sling, or a wheelchair. If you are charged for equipment costs as the result of an accident someone else caused, their bodily injury liability insurance should cover the cost.

Funeral expenses

If you or anyone else involved in the accident dies as a result of the accident or from injuries sustained in the accident, the responsible party’s bodily injury liability insurance can pay for the funeral costs.

Hospital and rehabilitation fees

Hospital and rehabilitation fees are another covered expense under bodily injury liability coverage. This can include doctor visits, surgery costs, prescriptions, diagnostic scans such as x-rays and other related hospital costs you incur as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. If your injuries require rehabilitation, like physical therapy, they should also be covered.

Legal fees

As the policyholder, you may end up getting sued when you are at fault for an accident that causes bodily injury. If this happens, your bodily injury liability insurance could pay for your legal fees and represent you in court if needed.

Loss of income

If the injured parties' bodily injuries cause them to miss work, whether it’s just for a day or for several months, the liability coverage may also pay for loss of income, or lost wages. 

Pain and suffering

Another expense bodily injury liability insurance may cover for the injured parties is pain and suffering. Though this amount can be hard to calculate, the injured party can file for long-term pain, emotional distress and other pain and suffering they endure because of sustaining bodily injuries through no fault of their own.

What does bodily injury liability insurance not cover?

There are a few costs that bodily injury liability insurance does not cover:

  • The policyholder and their passengers’ injuries or medical expenses
  • The policyholder’s property damage
  • The policyholder’s home care, childcare, lost wages, and other costs defined above, except for legal fees

Other policy coverages may cover these expenses, depending on your specific policy. It’s important to understand what each coverage does and does not cover, so you can ensure you’re covered in the event of a claim.

How much bodily liability injury insurance do you need?

How much bodily injury liability insurance you need is your choice, as long as you have at least the state minimum requirements. Keep in mind, though, that bodily liability injury insurance can cover many expenses and costs incurred by the injured party. And if you cause injuries to several people, the costs could add up quickly.

Most insurance experts agree policyholders should buy as much liability insurance as they can afford. By doing so, the insurance company will take on more of the financial responsibility if you cause an accident, making it less likely that you could be out-of-pocket for the accident. 

Exhausting your liability limits, or causing more injuries than you have coverage for, could mean the injured party or parties sue you personally for the overage. In this case, you could be out-of-pocket for not only the amount awarded in the lawsuit but also your legal costs if the insurance company has already maxed out your liability coverage.

Bodily injury liability requirements by state

Bodily injury liability requirements by state vary, with some having lower limits than others. The liability coverage is typically shown in a three-number format, “25/50/25,” for instance. The first two numbers are for bodily injury, which shows the maximum amount of coverage you have per person and per accident. The third number is the maximum amount of property damage liability coverage per accident.

With 25/50/25, the maximum coverage amount is:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

Here are the minimum bodily injury liability requirements by state:

StateBodily injury liability per personBodily injury liability per accident
State
Alabama
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Alaska
Bodily injury liability per person
$50,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$100,000
State
Arizona
Bodily injury liability per person
$15,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$30,000
State
Arkansas
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
California
Bodily injury liability per person
$15,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$30,000
State
Colorado
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Connecticut
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Delaware
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
District of Columbia
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Florida
Bodily injury liability per person
$10,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$20,000
State
Georgia
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Hawaii
Bodily injury liability per person
$20,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$40,000
State
Idaho
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Illinois
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Indiana
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Iowa
Bodily injury liability per person
$20,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$40,000
State
Kansas
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Kentucky
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Louisiana
Bodily injury liability per person
$15,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$30,000
State
Maine
Bodily injury liability per person
$50,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$100,000
State
Maryland
Bodily injury liability per person
$30,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$60,000
State
Massachusetts
Bodily injury liability per person
$20,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$40,000
State
Michigan
Bodily injury liability per person
$20,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$40,000
State
Minnesota
Bodily injury liability per person
$30,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$60,000
State
Mississippi
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Missouri
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Montana
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Nebraska
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Nevada
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
New Hampshire
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
New Jersey
Bodily injury liability per person
$15,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$30,000
State
New Mexico
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
New York
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
North Carolina
Bodily injury liability per person
$30,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$60,000
State
North Dakota
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Ohio
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Oklahoma
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Oregon
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Pennsylvania
Bodily injury liability per person
$15,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$30,000
State
Rhode Island
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
South Carolina
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
South Dakota
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Tennessee
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Texas
Bodily injury liability per person
$30,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$60,000
State
Utah
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$65,000
State
Vermont
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Virginia
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Washington
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
West Virginia
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Wisconsin
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000
State
Wyoming
Bodily injury liability per person
$25,000
Bodily injury liability per accident
$50,000

In New Hampshire, drivers can prove financial responsibility instead of purchasing the required minimum coverage. Virginia drivers can choose to pay an uninsured motorist fee instead of complying with minimum coverage requirements.

Drivers in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Utah can choose to purchase a combined single limit (CSL) instead of split limit coverages outlined above. With a CSL, the single limit covers all the other party’s injuries for the entire accident.

How much does bodily injury liability insurance cost?

The cost of bodily injury liability insurance varies widely, and is based on several factors. Your age, the state you live in, your driving history, and your coverage limits factor into how much you’ll pay for bodily injury insurance. If you’ve had a prior accident or moving violation, such as a speeding ticket in the last three to five years, your cost of liability insurance will be more than someone of a similar age in your state with a clean driving record. Also, the higher your liability limits, the more you’ll pay, but the more financial protection you’ll have if you cause an accident with bodily injury to others.

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