UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Auto Insurance Basics: Property Damage Liability
When it comes to liability insurance, there are two basic components to it: bodily injury liability, and property damage liability. This article is going to discuss the latter in-depth.
If you’ve ever wondered exactly what liability property damage coverage is for, and how it works in the event of an accident, just keep reading. You’ll learn the answers to all of these questions and more.
Costs for Property Damage Liability
Obviously, the cost of your property damage liability insurance is one of the most important things to consider when you’re figuring out how much of this coverage to purchase.
Luckily, the costs usually aren’t that extreme. Some companies, depending on the state you live in, May charge little more than a 7-9 percent increase in your overall monthly premium.
Another factor that will affect the overall cost of your property damage liability coverage is the minimum amount of coverage required by your state.
In some places, like California or New Jersey, the minimum mandatory limit is $5,000 of PDL coverage. Many states across the country, including Texas, New Hampshire, and the Carolinas – have their PDL coverage limits set as high as $25,000.
Furthermore, there are many states in between that averaged about $10,000 to $15,000 per policy. Obviously, the more coverage you are legally required to buy, the more expensive your monthly premium will be.
At the same time, however, lower property damage liability limits – although they may save you a little bit of money in the long run – could end up costing you big time if you get into a serious accident and your coverage isn’t enough to pay for incurred expenses.
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Determining the Right Amount of Property Damage Liability Coverage to Buy
It can be difficult to determine how much property damage liability insurance coverage you should purchase. On the one hand, you want to buy enough to protect yourself and your finances in the event that you cause a serious accident.
On the other hand, you don’t want to waste money on the increased premiums you’ll get from purchasing coverage you don’t need.
It mostly depends on your own financial situation than anything else. If you have a lot of assets that you don’t want getting seized and liquidated in order to pay for property damage caused by your vehicle, then purchasing more coverage rather than less would be a pretty good idea.
But if you’re on a tight budget, then purchasing less coverage could help you out a bit. When it comes to liability coverage, the price of repairing your own vehicle does not factor into the equation because you will never personally be filing a liability insurance claim on behalf of yourself.
Liability coverage only pays for the damage you cause if the accident is your fault (either partially or completely). It will never pay for your own property damage expenses.
If you get into an accident, regardless of fault, there are certain circumstances under which you may have to file a claim against your collision coverage instead of having your vehicle repaired or replaced by the other driver’s property damage liability coverage.
- The accident is 100% your fault. If the accident is completely your fault, you won’t be able to file a claim against the other driver’s property damage liability coverage. You’ll have to pay for the repairs yourself, which means either going completely out of pocket or filing a claim against your own collision coverage.
- If you are found partially at fault. Depending on your state’s laws, you may still be able to file a claim against the other driver’s PDL, but you may not receive enough money to cover the cost of repairs. This is another situation in which your collision coverage will come in handy.
- The other driver doesn’t have enough coverage. If the accident was 100 percent the other driver’s fault, but they don’t have enough collision coverage purchased to satisfy your claim, this will also leave you in a situation to where going out of pocket or filing a collision coverage claim are your only options.
Regardless of the amount of coverage you purchase, you’re still going to want to find a fairly priced premium for your auto insurance policy. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to shop around, and we would be happy to assist you with that.
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