Property Damage Liability Insurance

Property damage liability coverage is one element, along with bodily injury liability insurance, that makes up primary auto liability insurance.

If you ever cause an accident, your property damage liability coverage will pay for the damage done to anyone else’s property, whether it’s another vehicle (except in no-fault states), a lamppost, or even a house, up to the selected limit. As part of your primary liability insurance, property damage coverage also pays for your legal defense costs if you are sued as a result of these damages.

Who Needs Property Damage Liability Insurance?

Everyone needs property damage liability coverage. Property damage liability coverage protects you in case you cause an accident that results in damage to the property of others. In most situations, this insurance is required by law.

If you have a filing on your commercial auto insurance policy, you are required to have property damage liability insurance.

Physical Damage Coverage Deductibles and Other Details

With property damage liability coverage, you must select limits. When you select a split limit, the property damage limit is the third number. This number may also be shown separately as a single number.

For example, if you chose a limit of $10,000, your property damage coverage would pay up to $10,000 for all of the property damaged in an accident caused by you.

Your property damage limit can also be a combined single limit (CSL). In this case, one number is used to describe the limits for both your bodily injury liability insurance and your property damage liability coverage.

For example, if you selected a combined single limit (CSL) of $100,000, your insurance company would pay up to $1,000,000 for all medical and injury-related bills and all property damage expenses that you caused in an accident.

Property Damage Liability Coverage Example

You swerve to miss a deer and accidentally hit a guardrail.

If you have selected a split limit for primary auto liability insurance, the property damage coverage portion would pay the state to repair or replace the damaged guardrail, up to your selected limit of $10,000. Since the guardrail repairs amount to $2,000, your insurance would cover the full amount of damage.

If you had caused more damage to the guardrail, your property damage liability coverage would pay up to your maximum limit of $10,000 to repair the damaged guardrail. If the repair cost amounted to $15,000, you would be responsible for paying the extra $5,000.

If you selected a combined single limit for your primary liability insurance, all of the damage would be covered up to the single limit chosen.

Property Damage Liability Insurance Exceptions and Restrictions

Your property damage liability coverage limits cannot exceed your bodily injury liability insurance per-person limits if you select a split limit for primary auto liability.

Multiple Vehicles

  • If one vehicle on the policy has primary auto liability insurance, all of the vehicles must have it.
  • The selected property damage limits must be the same for all vehicles on a policy.

State and Federal Minimums

  • Each state sets laws regarding how much property damage liability insurance is required. This is known as your state’s minimum limits or minimum limit requirements.
  • The federal government also sets laws regarding how much property damage liability insurance is required.

Fortunately, Navigator knows the individual state and federal requirements, and will make sure you have at least the minimum amount of property damage liability insurance as required by law.