Motor vehicle insurance, also called automotive insurance, a contract by which the insurer assumes the risk of any loss the owner or operator of a car may incur through damage to property or persons as the result of an accident. There are many specific forms of motor vehicle insurance, varying not only in the kinds of risk that they cover but also in the legal principles underlying them.


Widespread use of the motor car began after the First World War in urban areas. Cars were relatively fast and dangerous by that stage, yet there was still no compulsory form of car insurance anywhere in the world. This meant that injured victims would seldom get any compensation in an accident, and drivers often faced considerable costs for damage to their car and property.

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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