What automobile public liability insurance limits do you recommend?

By | May 26, 2014

Public liability coverages generally defend against third-party allegations of your negligent action or non-action.  That is, you or another insured are alleged to have committed a civil wrong or tort.  Bodily injury liability (BI) and property damage liability (PD) coverages can be purchased with either split limits –  a separate limit for BI and for PD, or a combined single limit (CSL) – one limit for both BI & PD combined.  An example of a split limit – the availability of which varies by insurance company:  $100,000 per person BI /$500,000 per occurrence BI / $500,000 per occurrence PD.  An example of a single limit:  $500,000 CSL.

Both of these examples above represent our recommended minimum public liability limit as a “starting point” to protect your personal assets and income from third party law suits.  It’s a starting point in that:

  1. the limits may be still be insufficient to fully protect your assets, future earnings and civil responsibility;
  2. the cost of medical care alone can overwhelm BI insurance limits;
  3. a $500,000 limit satisfies the minimum underlying requirement for many personal umbrella liability policies;
  4. we live in a litigation-happy society today:  Sue the bad boy.