Question: Can your own liability coverage ever be used to pay for your car if it is damaged or totaled in a car accident?
Answer: No. Your own liability coverages cannot ever be used to pay for damages to your own vehicle or for its actual cash value (ACV) if your car is totaled in an auto accident.
Your liability car insurance covers only damage you cause in an accident, to others, and are legally responsible for. Your liability coverages never cover you or your own vehicle.
Bodily injury liability insurance pays for injuries you cause to others in a motor vehicle accident. Property damage liability pays for the damages you’re legally responsible for causing to another person’s car, or other property, with your insured vehicle.
You can’t make a property damage liability claim against yourself for your own property. For instance, if you backed into your mailbox with your car, you can’t make a liability claim with your car insurance company for the damaged mailbox or your car since both are your property.
Or if your spouse runs into your vehicle with his car, you normally can’t make a claim against the liability coverage on his car. Car insurance policies are usually written so that liability coverages protect members of your household against claims brought by people who are NOT part of your household and don’t cover damages to your property by members of your household.
If you have only liability coverages, your vehicle isn’t covered in any way. If you’re in an accident but not at-fault, then you can use the at-fault party’s property damage liability to make a claim for your vehicle’s damages, or its ACV if your car is a total loss.
For accidents with other vehicles or objects, you’d use collision coverage to pay for your damages or ACV. While comprehensive insurance coverage is claimed against if you have damages that occur by means “other than collision,” such as theft, fire or vandalism.
You can’t buy collision or comprehensive coverage after your car is already damaged. You need to decide before such an event happens if you want to pay for these coverages for your vehicle.
You can easily compare prices for liability-only insurance and liability plus collision and comprehensive coverage (some refer this as full coverage) when shopping for car insurance.
Carinsurance.com makes it easy to see the difference in cost; when you get a free auto insurance quote with us, you can click on the total premium price for a breakdown of how much each coverage costs.