Bodily injury liability coverage

This coverage helps with medical and legal costs if you cause a car accident.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked
Woman On Phone At Car Accident Scene

All Canadians are required to have liability coverage – typically a minimum of $200,000 – which includes a specific amount of bodily injury liability. Consider purchasing a higher limit despite the extra cost to protect your finances and give the person injured a proper settlement.

What is bodily injury liability coverage?

If you have bodily injury liability coverage, your insurer will help you pay costs that result from injuries you cause to another person. These may include:

  • Immediate medical aid
  • Legal help
  • Health care
  • Funerals
  • Pain and suffering

Bodily injury liability coverage doesn’t pay for your own medical costs. For that, you’ll use your own health insurance, medical payments coverage or personal injury protection.

Does injury coverage have a deductible?

Liability coverage usually doesn’t have a deductible. So if you injure someone in an accident and your insurance covers the cost of the medical bills, you likely won’t have to pay out of your pocket.

What does bodily injury liability cover?

This kind of coverage is meant to take care of the other person involved in an accident — particularly if you’re at fault, and you hit them or their vehicle.

It doesn’t cover any of your or your passengers’ injuries, and it doesn’t cover damages to your vehicle either. You may consider adding personal injury protection coverage in case you and your passengers also have medical needs.

Do I need bodily injury liability coverage?

In all provinces and territories across Canada, you’ll be required to have liability insurance, including bodily injury liability. In most provinces, the minimum amount of third-party liability coverage is $200,000. This coverage can prove valuable since medical costs can multiply quickly, so many experts recommend buying more the minimum – ideally as much as $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 in coverage.

How much bodily injury liability do I need?

You need at least the minimum amount of liability coverage required by your province or territory. However, consider buying as much liability as your budget can afford. Many car insurance policies offer limits of $1,000,000 or higher, giving you a lot of protection.

Keep in mind that if expenses for the other driver’s medical bills and your legal costs go above your liability limits, you could be responsible to pay the rest. In this case, courts can rule to use any assets you might own.

How does injury coverage work?

When you buy liability coverage, you may have the option to choose between a combined single limit or split limit policy.

Combined single limit

A combined single limit policy is written like this: “$300,000 each accident.”

This means you’re protected for up to $300,000 in the event you cause bodily injury or property damage. If you have to pay for damage to a fence as well as the medical costs of three people, then your policy will cover you, as long as the total amount is under your policy limit.

Split limit policy

A split limit policy for bodily insurance might be written like this: “100/300.” These numbers are just shorthand for how much your insurance will cover you for:

The first number is the limit per person injured. The “100” means you have $100,000 of coverage. So if one person makes a claim for $90,000 in medical bills, you’re covered. But if that person accumulates bills totaling $150,000, your insurance will only cover up to $100,000 of that amount, and you’ll be left to cover the difference.

The second number is the overall limit per accident. The “300” means you have $300,000 of coverage. The total cost of all claims for an accident needs to stay within that amount. For example, you’re covered if three people make claims for $100,000 each because of an accident you caused. But you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket for anything beyond that.

Split limit injury coverage in action

Let’s say you have a split policy with 100/300 in bodily injury liability coverage. This means your insurance will pay claims totaling $100,000 per individual and $300,000 per accident.

While driving along the freeway, you hit the car in front of you and cause a multicar pileup. You’re later found liable for the medical costs of five people, and each bill ranges from $30,000 to $40,000. Luckily your individual limit covers the payments, which total $160,000.

How much does bodily injury insurance cost?

A liability-only policy is the cheapest type of car insurance you can buy. The average cost of liability car insurance runs around $207 per month, or $2,480 every year. In car insurance terms, a liability policy usually includes property damage liability insurance and bodily injury liability insurance. Keep in mind that the overall cost of liability coverage will vary depending on your age, where you live and your driving history, among other factors.

How do I buy bodily injury liability coverage?

It’s a standard insurance policy, so nearly all insurers offer bodily injury coverage. Read our reviews of Canadian car insurance providers to see what each offers and to learn more about them.

Bottom line

It’s almost certain that you’ll need bodily injury liability — the question is how much. To protect yourself in most instances, consider getting a policy that covers you above your provincial or territorial minimums.

Frequently asked questions about bodily injury coverage

Ask an Expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site