If you’ve ever had the unfortunate circumstance to be in a car accident, you know that humans aren’t the only thing that gets injured. Even at low speeds, automobiles can suffer severe damage due to crumple zones and other areas, and the fact that many cars are made with plastic or other forms of body material. If you end up causing an accident which results in any form of property damage, you’ll need to rely on your Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance coverage to assist you. Below we’ll discuss this facet of your auto insurance policy package and why it’s important.
What Does It Cover?
Property Damage Liability insurance will cover any damages that you have done to another person’s property as a result of a vehicle accident. The “property” in PDL doesn’t just mean automobiles; if you swerved to avoid a child in the street and ended up crashing through a neighbor’s fence, the resulting damages would be covered under your Property Damage Liability insurance. This is also the insurance policy that protects you when someone decides to sue you for any property damage that you cause with your automobile. Medical treatment, lost wages or other costs are covered under a different type of insurance and won’t be discussed here.
Many individuals are surprised to find out that PDL insurance does not cover any damage that is done to your automobile or other property. In truth, this makes perfect sense; any damage done to your car, whether it’s a busted windshield or body work damage, will be covered by the Property Damage Liability insurance of the party that caused the accident. Should you choose to sue the other driver for these damages, their Property Damage Liability will also back them up, as it would for you if you were the party at fault.
Do You Need It?
Almost every state requires that drivers show financial responsibility through insurance coverage – and generally, there will be a legal minimum set for Property Damage Liability coverage. This minimum amount can range from $5,000 on the low end up to $40,000 on the high end – it all depends on which state you reside in and how strict they are in regards to auto insurance laws. As this coverage is required by law, you will be considered as driving “without insurance” if you neglect to purchase it, which can open you to severe fines and many other issues. Regardless of what your state’s legal minimum is you’ll still want to have a conversation with your auto insurance agent to determine what they feel is an adequate amount of Property Damage Liability coverage based on your budget and your insurance needs.
There’s one other important item of note for those individuals who have more than one vehicle with auto insurance. Most insurance companies require individuals to purchase PDL coverage for all vehicles that they own and that are attached to an insurance policy. On top of this, every vehicle must have the same amount of Property Damage Liability insurance coverage on the policy – there’s no switching the amounts from car to car.
Finally, those who have licensed teenagers or child drivers in the household will want to ensure that they check up on both the state’s requirements and the insurance company’s. Many insurance companies will require that the child be insured as soon as they have their license – even if they don’t live in the household or plan on driving the car. Other companies may be a bit more lenient, but they’ll still expect the child to be registered at times when they are likely to drive.
In short – PDL is one auto insurance policy that you’ll want to ensure you have an adequate amount of. While purchasing the minimum may seem like a good way to save a bit on your insurance bill, you may end up being quite sorry that you did, should you get into an accident. Buy as much Property Damage Liability insurance as you can afford and you can drive with one less worry!
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