Car insurance: What is property damage liability?

Driving is a necessary part of life for many of us. We need to go to work, get groceries, run errands, take road trips. But driving is not without risk. There are many potential disasters that could occur when you’re behind the wheel. And that’s why car insurance exists. One important coverage is property damage liability. We’ll explain what this coverage does.

What is property damage liability?

The first thing to know is that property damage liability is required by many states. So, you need to carry at least the amount of property damage liability insurance that’s mandated by your state. (It’s really important to have AT LEAST the state minimum level of car insurance.) To give an example, Georgia requires drivers to carry $25,000 of property damage liability insurance.

Okay – so that’s important to know.

But what is property damage liability insurance, and how does it work?

Property damage liability can help cover the costs of repairing the other driver’s car if you’re at fault in an accident. It can also help you cover repairs of the other property you happen to damage, such as a fence that you accidentally drive into. Basically, it can help you cover property damage that you’re liable for. It can also help cover legal expenses if you get sued.

(A related coverage that’s also often required by states is bodily injury liability, which can help you cover expenses like the other driver’s medical bills and pain and suffering if you’re at fault in an accident.)

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Know how much property damage liability coverage you have.

So, we mentioned earlier that you may be required to carry a certain amount of property damage liability. However, you may want to consider getting a higher limit of coverage than is mandated by your state. (These limits are usually not very high, so you may want to select a higher limit.)

Imagine this.

You drive a big SUV. You’re cruising along when you accidentally run a red light. You cause an accident and severely damage the other driver’s car. The only thing is that you accidentally smooshed a fancy, extremely expensive sports car. And that sports car happens to be brand new.


So, is the state limit going to be enough? You could be responsible for paying for damages in excess of your limit. And that probably wouldn’t be too much fun.

Moral of the story – seriously consider your limits of car insurance so you won’t be left cleaning out your bank account in the event of a bad wreck. Just a thought.

What about my car? (Property damage liability vs. collision coverage)

All of this talk of car accidents and such might have you wondering about your own vehicle. Would your car be covered if you were in a wreck? Does property damage liability so that? The answer is no.

Property damage liability only covers the other driver’s car repairs (or repairs of property that you happen to damage with your car.) Damage to your car? Not so much.

However, that’s not to say that you couldn’t get your car repaired if you’re in an accident. You just need to have the right coverage.

Collision coverage can help you repair or replace your car if you’re in an accident. It could also help you repair your vehicle if you accidentally hit something like a fence or pole. (As you can see, this could be a very helpful coverage!)

So – to recap – if you only carry liability coverage, that won’t help you repair your car following an accident. If you have collision coverage, it can help you repair your car following a wreck.

(And while you’re at it, you may as well think about comprehensive coverage – which can help you repair or replace your car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. It can cover theft, fire, vandalism, animal strikes, and falling objects.)

So, that’s the deal with property damage liability. It can help you if you have a wreck and you damage someone’s vehicle – or if you damage other property.

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It’s really important to make sure that you have enough car insurance to protect yourself financially. If you want to get car insurance quotes, you can fill out our online form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat.