What Is Car Liability Insurance?

May 2, 2022Car Accidents

Drivers in Missouri and Kansas are required by law to carry liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance pays to repair damages you cause to other drivers and vehicles. This insurance includes bodily injury and property damage liability.

Minimum Coverage in Missouri and Kansas

An auto insurance policy in Missouri or Kansas must include the following minimum amount of liability coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident

When you are at fault for a collision, the other driver and their passengers can file a claim under your liability coverage to pay for their damages up to policy limits.

What is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance?

Bodily injury liability insurance is critical to carry because it will cover the costs of any injuries you cause in an accident with another driver, their passengers, or pedestrians. The types of expenses covered include:

  • Medical bills from emergency services and hospitalization to equipment such as a walker or crutches and any ongoing care.
  • Lost income if the injured party is unable to work while recovering from their injuries.
  • Legal fees if the injured party files a lawsuit against you.
  • Funeral costs if a death results from the injuries.

There are two types of bodily injury liability coverage. The first is the amount covered per person, which is $25,000, and the second amount is how much is covered per accident, $50,000. This means your policy will pay for $25,000 worth of medical expenses, lost income, etc., per person involved in the collision, but no more than $50,000 total, regardless of how many people were injured.

What is Property Damage Liability Coverage?

The third type of liability coverage that insurance policies must include is property damage liability. This coverage will pay for the costs to repair or replace the other driver’s car, any other damaged property, such as to a fence or tree, any personal items (e.g., cellphone, clothing, laptop, car seat, etc.), and for their rental vehicle if necessary. However, property damage liability insurance will only pay up to $10,000 in expenses unless you purchased additional coverage.

What Happens When a Car Accident Claim Exceeds Liability Policy Limits?

When a car accident claim exceeds your liability policy limits, one of two things will usually happen. (1) You will have to voluntarily pay for the exceeding costs out-of-pocket, or (2) the injured party will file a lawsuit to get a judgment against you for these costs. If the injured party receives a judgment against you and you fail to pay, they can put a lien against you and your assets. If that were to happen, you would need to pay the judgment in full or set up a payment plan so your assets are not seized, or wages garnished. Many drivers choose to purchase policies with higher liability coverage limits than the minimum amounts required by law to avoid this possibility. However, your ability to do so will depend on how much coverage you can reasonably afford to pay for each month.

Call us today to speak with our St. Louis car accident attorneys.

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