Liability insurance pays for damage to someone else’s property or for injury to other persons resulting from an accident for which the insured is judged legally liable; collision insurance pays for damage to the insured car if it collides with another vehicle or object; comprehensive insurance pays for damage to the insured car resulting from fire or theft or many other causes; medical-payment insurance covers medical treatment for the policyholder and his passengers.


The regulations for vehicle insurance differ with each of the 50 US states and other territories, with each U.S. state having its own mandatory minimum coverage requirements (see separate main article). Each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia requires drivers to have insurance coverage for both bodily injury and property damage, but the minimum amount of coverage required by law varies by state. For example, minimum bodily injury liability coverage requirements range from $30,000 in Arizona[36] to $100,000 in Alaska and Maine,[37] while minimum property damage liability requirements range from $5,000 to $25,000 in most states.
More commonly purchased is third party, fire and theft. This covers all third party liabilities and also covers the vehicle owner against the destruction of the vehicle by fire (whether malicious or due to a vehicle fault) and theft of the insured vehicle. It may or may not cover vandalism. This kind of insurance and the two preceding types do not cover damage to the vehicle caused by the driver or other hazards.

Liability auto insurance protects you from that worst case scenario by providing a cushion between your assets and the amount you’re on the hook for. For this reason, choosing the right auto liability limits is the most important part of your car insurance quote comparison. NerdWallet typically recommends having at least as much liability coverage as your net worth.

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