Financial Literacy for Everyone

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Car insurance is an important aspect to consider in purchase or lease of a car. Almost every state requires vehicle owners and drivers to have or purchase auto insurance liability coverage, which covers the cost of any damage that you may cause to another car, its driver and passengers. The minimum auto insurance requirements vary from state to state. Liability insurance consists of three parts:

buying a home

  • Bodily injury coverage per person
  • Bodily injury coverage per accident
  • Property damage coverage per accident

Auto insurance companies express these liability coverage limits as a series of numbers. For example, the minimum liability coverage limit in California is 15/30/5. That means that if you are in an auto accident with another vehicle carrying multiple passengers your liability coverage would pay up to $15,000 per person for bodily injuries caused to people in the car but no more than $30,000 in total bodily injury costs for the incident, and up to $5,000 in damage to their vehicle and any other property damage that resulted from the accident.

What about coverage against damage that you’re not responsible for? There are two other types of coverage that can reimburse you for damage inflicted:

  • Collision insurance will reimburse costs related to repairing damages to your car due to an accident. It usually covers you even when you drive a rental or someone else's car. Often, this type of coverage is required to lease or get a loan for a car.
  • Comprehensive insurance covers fire and theft, damage from natural disasters, riots, explosions or falling objects and is required for a lease or a loan.

The cost of your insurance will vary. Your insurance rate is determined by the likelihood that you will file an accident claim, which is determined by statistical risk factors.

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