Buying Car Insurance: A Guide to Understanding Liability Limits

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No matter what kind of insurance policy a driver has, it will contain language concerning coverage for at-fault crashes. Liability insurance limits vary in West Virginia from one policy to the next, and when purchasing car insurance, understanding liability limits is crucial.


The Liability Agreement in an Auto Insurance Policy

An auto insurance policy outlines situations where the insurer will defend the policyholder in court or pay for the damages. Although liability details differ according to the type of auto insurance coverage, most agreements cover these common points:

  • The insurer will pay damages if a policyholder causes bodily injury or property damage, as long as they weren’t engaged in fraudulent or malicious activity.

  • If a policyholder is sued after an accident, their insurer will pay an attorney to protect their interests.

  • The insurer will not defend a policyholder in criminal court and will not pay for damages caused during the commission of a crime.


Maximum Coverage Limits for Auto Insurance Policies

The limit of liability coverage refers to the dollar amount up to which a person is covered. Such limits appear on the declaration page that accompanies a policy, and it’s crucial for drivers to understand how much liability and premium coverage they have. In most instances, liability limits are grouped into three categories:

  • Maximum damages per person.

  • Maximum damages for all victims.

  • Maximum property damage per accident.

For instance, if a driver chooses a policy that pays $50,000 per person, $100,000 for all victims, and $150,000 for property damage, the declaration page will list the coverage as 50/100/150. These are hard-capped limits, and the insurer won’t pay above them.


Additional Covered Liability Payment

A West Virginia auto insurance company may also cover other expenses associated with the payment of damages or the defense of a lawsuit. Generally, policies include coverage for the arbitration or settlement of a claim, as well as interest on awards accumulated before the insurer pays the damages. Some policies pay for bail if an accident results in an arrest, and others pay a small stipend for missed work days.


Overlapping Policies

When there’s other coverage that applies to a loss, an overlap occurs. Keep these two situations in mind:

  • If a person causes an accident in a family member’s car, but not one on their policy, the insurer will pay a proportional share of the damages.

  • The driver causes an accident in a vehicle borrowed from a friend. In these cases, the other person’s insurer will pay the damages, up to the policy limit, and the driver’s insurer will pay the remainder up to the appropriate limit.

West Virginia’s auto insurance laws are complex, so important to have enough coverage to stay protected. With help from Yeager Insurance, local drivers are more likely to find policies with the proper amount of liability coverage. Visit the website to learn more or call to speak to an insurance agent today.



Skyler Barnhart