The dictionary definition for “liability” is pretty straightforward – it’s the state of being responsible for something, especially as that responsibility pertains to the law. Liability can also be described as accountability or answerability.

In the area of car insurance, you’re responsible, or liable, for everything you do while driving. If any of your actions while you’re behind the wheel cause an accident for which you’re found to be at fault, you’ll be held liable for any losses suffered by any third parties affected. These losses may stem from damaged or destroyed property or from injuries sustained.

Liability Car Insurance

Anyone found legally liable for the losses resulting from a vehicle accident they caused will be required to make financial restitution for those losses. They’re liable for any property damage or destruction which could include (but not be limited to) damage:

      • To vehicles
      • To fences or any other structures
      • To utility poles or road signs
      • To trees, shrubbery or flowers

You’ll also be responsible for the medical costs associated with any third parties suffering injuries from an accident you’ve caused. If anyone dies, you’ll also be liable for the costs associated with that and for any ensuing civil suits. Medical costs can include money paid for doctors’ services, hospital stays, recuperation costs and may even involve long-term disability payments. These medical costs can sometimes total hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions for serious injuries.

Insurance Protection Against Liability Claims

Laws in every state of the U.S. except one, New Hampshire, require that drivers utilizing public roads carry a minimum amount of liability car insurance. While many states differ as to the minimum amount of coverage mandated, it’s generally agreed that all minimum amounts required are far less than would be needed to cover actual liability costs in most vehicle accidents.

Liability protection covers three areas:

        • Bodily injury per person
        • Bodily injury for all persons
        • Property damage

Here in North Carolina, maximum payoff benefits for these three areas are:

        • $30,000
        • $60,000
        • $25,000

This is often expressed as 30/60/25 coverage. As may seem obvious, payouts made to third parties for losses suffered in any serious accident would quickly eclipse the limits of liability coverage of the mere minimum amounts required. Experts agree that drivers should consider increasing their liability coverage to at least an amount equal to their assets. An umbrella policy is a good way to add additional protection.