Auto Liability Coverage
Alice Yao | Updated August 13th, 2020
Also known as the “other person” coverage, auto liability is the coverage on your policy that covers injuries and damages to the other driver and/or passengers if you were at fault in a car accident.
It is also a mandated auto insurance coverage in Washington State and several other states. If you are pulled over during a traffic stop, the proof of insurance that you are required to show must meet the requirement of liability coverage in accordance with your state law.
To learn more about auto liability coverage, consider the following topics:
- What are covered in auto liability policy?
- How much auto liability coverage do I need?
- What is the Washington State legal requirement for auto liability?
What are covered in auto liability policy?
There are three coverage limits that you will see on an auto liability policy:
- Bodily injury liability limit per person
- Bodily injury liability limit per accident
- Property damage liability limit per accident
Bodily injury liability is the coverage used to cover all the costs related to injuries of the other party, including medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses, etc. Bodily injury liability coverage is also the coverage to cover any judgements or settlements resulted from the accident.
Under bodily injury liability, there is a limit indicated for each person in the other car(s) and a separate limit indicated per single accident when there are multiple people involved. The per-accident limit is the total amount that your policy will cover for all of the combined costs of bodily injury claims in the same accident.
Property damage liability is the coverage used to pay for repair or replacement of damaged property in an accident, such as the other driver's car, a light pole, a fence, a decorative knome, and etc.
How much auto liability coverage do I need?
To choose the proper auto liability limits on your policy, the most important consideration is how a major auto accident can cause devastating financial impacts on you and your family.
If you unintentionally caused a major accident and exhausted the liability limits on your auto policy to cover the injuries and damages of the other party, you are still financially responsible to pay for all remaining costs. This situation could put you in an extremely difficult position of financial hardship and may even have long-term effects such as wage garnishment.
To better answer this question, we strongly recommend speaking with your insurance agent and discussing your personal situations to find the coverage limits that best fit your needs.
What is the Washington State legal requirement for auto liability?
In Washington State, the minimum auto liability limits required by law are:
- Bodily injury liability limit per person: $25,000
- Bodily injury liability limit per accident: $50,000
- Property damage liability limit per accident: $10,000
Note that there are a few insurance companies that offer combined single limit auto liability coverage. In these policies, you will see just a single coverage limit that includes all three coverages of a traditional type of policy.
You must also be able to show proof of insurance and it must include the following:
- Name of insurance company
- Policy number
- Effective date of the policy
- Expiration date of the policy
- Description of the insured vehicle including year, make, or model, or name of the driver
Note that Washington state law does state that an electronic copy of proof of insurance in your phone app is considered legal and can be accepted.
Many situations are unique and every insurance company has its own guidelines. We always recommend talking to your insurance agent to discuss your coverages in detail. Working with an insurance agent is the best way to make sure you are adequately and properly covered.
By Alice Yao |