What Does Property Damage Liability Cover

What does property damage liability cover? You might be surprised to find that property damage liability doesn't cover everything you think it does.

Property damage liability, insurance and you.
Property damage liability isn't a homeowner's insurance feature, although it might seem like one. It's a part of your car's auto insurance policy-but it might come into play if someone else's car damages your home or you damage a home with your car. Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of property damage liability insurance, but you can purchase additional amounts over the minimum. The more you purchase, the higher your premium. However, paying a higher premium up front can save you from personal liability, so it's really a matter of deciding whether or not the benefits justify the cost.

How property damage liability works.
Property damage liability insurance has a specific purpose. It's designed to cover only your liability for property damage in the event of a motor vehicle accident. For example, if you cause an accident that damages someone else's property, you are liable to cover that damage financially. Property damage liability covers the costs for you, within specific guidelines.

What does property damage liability cover?
Because property damage liability is designed for such a specific purpose, it covers only a few specific circumstances. Property damage liability pays to repair or replace property for which you are liable.

If you cause a car accident that damages someone else's car, property damage liability pays for that car's repairs, up to your policy amount. If the damage is more than your policy is worth, you may still be liable to pay for damages above and beyond the policy limits.

Property damage liability also pays to replace or repair personal items that were damaged in the vehicle as a result of your accident. For example, if you hit a car carrying expensive photography equipment, and the equipment is crushed, property damage liability doesn't only cover the car repairs, but also the cost to repair or replace the photography equipment, up to your policy amount. Property damage also includes stationary objects, like mailboxes or trees.

What doesn't property damage liability cover?
Property damage liability covers only property damage for which you are liable. This means that, if someone else causes an accident, your property damage liability won't pay for repairs; that falls to the responsible party's insurance, or your underinsured/uninsured motorist policy.

Property damage liability also doesn't cover medical bills, either yours or the other party's. Medical is a different part of the insurance policy, with different limits.

Finally, property damage liability doesn't cover any damage to your vehicle and property; only to the other party's property. Repairs to your own vehicle fall under the collision or comprehensive coverage part of your auto insurance policy, or the other driver's policy if they are at fault.

Property damage liability and legal fees.
Property damage liability insurance can also cover your legal fees if another driver comes after you in court. The specifics vary depending on the scenario. If another driver is suing you in court for an auto accident, contact your insurance company to see whether or not your policy covers legal fees in your specific circumstances.

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