Civil car coverage insurance, sometimes called liability insurance, is an essential type of auto insurance that covers damages and injuries you cause to others when driving.
Unlike collision or comprehensive coverage that pay for damages to your own vehicle, civil liability insurance protects other people and their property.
This type of insurance is required in most states as minimum coverage just to legally drive, but experts recommend carrying more than the minimums for full protection.
In this article, we’ll explore what exactly civil car coverage insurance entails, how much you need, and tips for getting the best rate.
What Does Civil Liability Auto Insurance Cover?
Civil car coverage insurance comes in two main parts – bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Bodily injury liability covers medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages if you injure someone in an at-fault accident. This coverage is usually written as a split limit, for example “100/300” means $100,000 per person you injure, up to $300,000 per accident total.
Property damage liability pays for repairs to another driver’s vehicle and property if you’re at fault. This has a separate limit, often written as “100” for $100,000 in coverage.
Some key things to know:
- civil liability insurance follows the at-fault driver. So if someone hits you, their liability covers your damages. If you hit someone, your civil coverage pays for their losses.
- It’s illegal in most states to drive without at least basic civil car coverage insurance limits.
- civil liability insurance does NOT cover injuries to you or your passengers, or damage to your own vehicle. That requires additional insurance like medical payments or collision coverage.
How Much Civil Car Coverage Insurance Do You Need?
Most states require drivers to carry:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 property damage
However, experts overwhelmingly recommend carrying more civil liability insurance than the minimums. Here’s why:
- If you cause a serious accident, damages can easily exceed the minimum limits, leaving you personally responsible for the remainder. This risk is especially high with the rising medical costs and vehicle repair bills we see today.
- Carrying higher civil car coverage insurance limits also allows you to maintain control. Your insurer handles claims up to your limit amount. Anything above that, the injured party may sue you personally for.
Many experts recommend 100/300/100 as a good starting point. From there, consider your assets and income. If you have significant savings or wages that could be taken, choose higher limits between 250/500/250 up to 500/500/500 or even 1 million/1 million/1 million in coverage.
The caveat is that higher civil liability car insurance limits mean higher premiums. But this investment in protection is minute compared to the financial risk of an at-fault accident. Weigh your unique situation carefully.
Tips for Finding Affordable Rates
While civil car coverage insurance is mandatory, rates can vary widely between insurers. Here are some tips for locking in an affordable premium:
- Ask for discounts – Most companies offer breaks for a good driving record, low mileage, anti-theft devices, and more.
- Raise your deductible – This reduces premiums substantially. Just be sure you have savings to cover the deductible if needed.
- Bundle policies – Insure your home or other vehicles with the same provider for a multi-policy discount.
- Maintain good credit -Drivers with excellent credit scores tend to pay less for insurance.
- Compare quotes – Get at least three quotes to find the cheapest civil car coverage insurance for your profile. Comparison sites can provide these quickly.
Weighing Your Coverage Carefully
At the end of the day, your exact civil liability auto insurance needs depend on your situation. While you may be tempted to trim back coverage to save on premiums, do so carefully and strategically to avoid major financial risk. Discuss your options with a licensed insurance agent to ensure you make the most informed decision.