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What does bodily injury cover?

Bodily injury liability insurance is a critical component of auto insurance policies. It covers the financial costs associated with injuries that you, as the driver, may cause to other people in an auto accident for which you are found to be at fault. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what bodily injury liability insurance typically covers:

1. Medical Expenses

Bodily injury liability insurance covers the medical expenses of the injured parties. This can include:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgeries
  • Doctor visits
  • Medication
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy

2. Lost Wages

If the injured party is unable to work due to their injuries, bodily injury liability insurance can cover the lost wages they would have earned during their recovery period.

3. Pain and Suffering

This coverage can also include compensation for pain and suffering endured by the injured party. This is more subjective and can include physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life.

4. Legal Fees

If the injured party decides to sue you, bodily injury liability insurance can cover your legal defense costs, including attorney fees and court costs, as well as any settlements or judgments up to the policy’s limit.

5. Funeral Costs

In the unfortunate event that the accident results in fatalities, bodily injury liability insurance can cover funeral and burial expenses.

Key Points:

  • Per Person and Per Accident Limits: Bodily injury liability coverage is typically expressed in two limits: per person and per accident. For example, a 100/300 policy means up to $100,000 per injured person and $300,000 total per accident.

  • Exclusions: Bodily injury liability insurance does not cover your own injuries or the injuries of your passengers. Those are covered under separate provisions such as personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MedPay).

Example Scenario:

Imagine you are at fault in a car accident where three people in the other vehicle are injured. Here’s how bodily injury liability might apply if you have 100/300 coverage:

  • Person 1: Medical expenses amount to $80,000
  • Person 2: Medical expenses amount to $90,000
  • Person 3: Medical expenses amount to $120,000

Your insurance would cover the full amount for Person 1 and Person 2, but for Person 3, it would cover up to the per-person limit of $100,000. The remaining $20,000 would need to be covered by you personally, unless you have additional coverage such as an umbrella policy. The total amount paid out by your insurance would be $100,000 + $90,000 + $100,000 = $290,000, which is within the per-accident limit of $300,000.


Bodily injury liability insurance provides essential financial protection by covering the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, legal fees, and funeral costs of others injured in an accident for which you are responsible. Understanding the coverage limits and ensuring you have adequate protection can help safeguard your financial well-being in the event of a serious accident.


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