Liability Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies sell several types of basic automobile insurance coverage.
Liability insurance is the most basic type of automobile insurance available. Missouri law requires an automobile liability policy to include:
- Bodily injury liability insurance, which protects you and your family financially if you are sued by someone injured in an accident in which you were involved. It will pay legal and court costs and damages awarded up to the limits written into the policy.
- Property damage liability insurance, which covers your legal responsibility for damages to the property of others caused by collision with your car. In an accident, the "property of others" is usually another car, but it also covers damage to public and private property such as road signs, bridges or buildings, up to the limits written into the policy. Do not confuse this coverage with physical damage or collision insurance, which applies to damage or loss to your car, regardless of fault.
- Uninsured motorists insurance, which covers your bodily injuries and those of your passengers if you are hit by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver who is responsible for the accident. It does not cover damages to your car.
Example: A minimum liability insurance package might be shown as 25/50/25, BI, PD, and 25/50 UM. BI means bodily injury liability, PD means property damage liability, and UM means uninsured motorist coverage. The numbers signify:
- $25,000 is the maximum bodily injury liability payment under the policy for injury (or deaths) to one person involved in a single accident.
- $50,000 is the maximum bodily injury liability payment that can be made for injuries (or death) to all persons involved in a single accident.
- $25,000 is the maximum property damage liability payment that can be made under the policy for damages to another person's property from a single accident.
- $25,000 is the maximum uninsured motorist payment that can be made to one person involved in a single accident.
- $50,000 is the maximum uninsured motorist payment that can be made to all persons involved in a single accident.
Note: Persons injured as a result of your driving can and often do sue for damages greater than this example. You may be held personally responsible for damages not covered by your policy. Keep this in mind when purchasing your automobile liability insurance.
Consider higher limits of coverage, which are usually available at a moderate increase in price. Discuss and compare coverage and premium cost with your agent or broker.
Many companies now offer "single limit" liability insurance which covers bodily injury (BI) and/or property damage (PD) liabilities at one single dollar limit such as $50,000 rather than split coverage of 25/50. A single limit of $50,000 means the company will pay up to $50,000 for bodily injury and property damage liability claims arising from any one accident without regard to how much of that limit is for bodily injury and/or property damage. Ask your agent to explain the differences between single limit and split coverages.