Does my car insurance cover bodily injury and property damage?

Q:

Does my car insurance cover bodily injury and property damage?

A:

Great question. A lot of people get confused by this because there are really two or more parts to your automobile insurance policy.

The first part is probably mandatory (depending on your jurisdiction) and contains third party liability coverage. The second part is commonly referred to as "own damage coverage."

The confusion comes from the fact that both of these parts cover bodily injury and property damage.

Let me clear things up.

Third party liability coverage for automobiles is required by law in most jurisdictions. While it insures both bodily injury and property damage, it only responds to claims where a third party has been harmed; it does not pay for losses to your own property.

For example, if all you had was third party coverage and you had a rear-end collision with another vehicle in which you were at fault, your insurance would only pay for the other person's bodily injury and property damage claims (learn The First Steps You Need to Take After Wrecking Your Car).

If you want coverage for your own bodily injury or property damage, you would need to look for accident benefits or own damage coverage. This is distinct from third party liability as it pays for damage to the insured's property and person.

So, the short answer is yes, car insurance does cover bodily injury and property damage. But the real question is more nuanced: who is this coverage for?

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Written by Jacques Wong
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Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won an Insurance Council of BC award in 2015 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses and educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning.   Full Bio