We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.
Compare third-party car insurance
Third-party liability insurance protects you from other drivers’ claims.
Also called liability insurance, third-party car insurance is required in most states and protects you if you’re at fault in an accident and need to pay for damages to another driver.
What does third-party car insurance cover?
You’re the first party, and your insurer is the second party. Everyone else on the road is the third party. To cover any claims other drivers make against you, you’ll need third-party car insurance.
The various types of third-party coverage include renters insurance, homeowners insurance and business owners policies. For auto insurance, there are two types of third-party coverage: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. These are basic forms of liability coverage.
- Bodily injury liability pays for costs if you’ve injured another person in a car accident.
- Property damage liability pays for costs if you’ve damaged another person’s property in a car accident.
Does liability insurance come with a deductible?
Third-party auto insurance usually doesn’t come with a deductible. For example, if you hit another car and your insurance covers the cost of the other driver’s repairs, you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket.
How do third party car insurance limits work?
When you’re buying third-party auto insurance, you’ll need to choose the amount of coverage you want. Your policy will either be split limit or combined single limit.
Split limit policy
While shopping for liability coverage, you may see an insurance policy expressed as “25/50/15.” When you see numbers like these, you’re looking at a split limit policy.
These numbers are just shorthand for how much your insurance will cover you for.
- The first number is the individual payment limit per accident for bodily injury. The “25” in our example refers to $25,000. It’s how much your insurance will cover for each person’s bodily injury costs (other than yours). For example, if you’ve injured someone in an accident and their medical bills are $20,000, you’re covered.
- The second number is the overall payment limit per accident for bodily injury. The “50” refers to $50,000. It’s how much your insurance will cover for the total bodily injury costs in an accident (other than yours). For example, if you’ve injured five people and their medical bills are $20,000 each, you’re on the hook for $100,000. In this case, your policy will cover $50,000, and you’ll need to pay the other $50,000 yourself.
- The third number is the overall payment limit per accident for property damage. The “15” refers to $15,000. It’s how much your insurance will cover for the total cost of property damage in an accident. (This doesn’t include your own vehicle — instead, you’ll need collision coverage for that.) For example, if you rammed into a barn and it costs $6,000 to repair it, your insurance will cover the expenses.
The three numbers will change to create different policies. Your state will most likely have policy minimums, but otherwise you’re free to choose the right mix for your own needs.
Combined single limit policy
A combined single limit policy offers one coverage limit.
Let’s say you took out $200,000 of combined single limit coverage. In the event of an accident, you can split this coverage between different types of damages. For example, you’d be covered in these instances:
- One person’s medical bills totals $150,000, and there’s $30,000 in property damage.
- The medical bills of four people total $200,000.
- You caused property damage that costs $180,000. You also need to pay for someone’s medical bill of $15,000.
All of those costs are $200,000 or less, so your insurance will cover them.
- Top-rated insurer
- Online quotes & claims
- Bundle and save
Cheapest liability policies: Progressive
Choose from a long list of discounts and coverage for almost any driver.
- Top-rated insurer with 80 years of experience
- Easy online sign-up and reporting
- Multiple discounts available
- Transparent quoting
Compare liability-only insurance policies
How much liability coverage do I need?
In every state except New Hampshire and Virginia, you’re required to buy third-party coverage. Furthermore, your state requires certain minimums in bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Third-party coverage ensures you’ll have the means to pay if your vehicle causes damage to others or their property.
What are the requirements for New Hampshire and Virginia?
If you live in New Hampshire, you’re not required to have auto insurance. However, you need to prove you can pay if you cause bodily injury or property damage. The easiest way to do this, of course, is by purchasing insurance.
It’s not mandatory to have auto insurance in Virginia, either. But like in New Hampshire, you must prove that you can pay for costs stemming from bodily injury or property damage. You can do that by either buying insurance or paying a fee to Virginia’s DMV.
How much does liability-only car insurance cost?
Typical costs for liability-only or state minimum policies are in the range of $500 to $1,000. The cost of third party auto insurance will vary considerably depending on your age, where you live and your driving history, among other factors.
Liability-only car insurance quotes
|Company||Average annual rate||Learn more|
|21st Century||$651||Read review|
|Liberty Mutual||$709||Read review|
|State Farm||$726||Read review|
|The Hartford||$727||Read review|
|Average||$598||Compare all reviews|
Before you hit the road, you’ll need car insurance. Third party liability coverage will protect you against other drivers’ claims for bodily injury and property damage.
Common questions about third party liability insurance
Read more on this topic
Compare carshare car insurance Make sure the free insurance offered by carshare services is enough protection for you.
Compare car insurance for self-employed drivers Self-employed drivers need to balance getting the best rates with protecting their business.
Compare Allstate car insurance discounts You could save well over 30% by taking advantage of Allstate’s numerous car insurance discounts.
Compare Liberty Mutual car insurance discounts Save extra money with Liberty Mutual by taking advantage of its numerous car insurance discounts.
Which gas should you use in your car? When should you use regular, premium or E85 gas? And what if you use the wrong kind?
How does car insurance cover additional drivers? Insurance should cover drivers listed on your policy, but double-check how your company handles unnamed drivers.
Compare car insurance with accidental death benefits An accidental death benefits rider can help cover funeral expenses after a fatal car accident.
Does driver assist technology affect car insurance? Driver assist technology won’t discount your insurance premium, but it could save your life.
Ferrari LaFerrari car insurance rates You can expect to pay a lot to buy — and insure — this hybrid hypercar from Ferrari.
Compare car insurance for Zipcar drivers Zipcar provides basic insurance, but frequent drivers may want to consider additional coverage.
Ask an Expert