Can you get sued for a car accident with insurance?

You can be personally sued for a car accident, even if you have car insurance. Most of the time, you won't be sued for a car accident when not at fault or at fault because your coverage will pay for damages, as long as damages do not exceed your coverage.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • It is possible to be sued for damages if you are found to be at-fault for an accident
  • If the cost of damages exceeds the amount of coverage you have, you can be sued to cover the additional cost
  • The best defense against ending up in a lawsuit is to drive carefully and responsibly

Unfortunately, no car insurance policy can completely eliminate the possibility of being personally sued for damages that exceed your level of auto insurance coverage.

When you purchase a car insurance policy that corresponds to your lifestyle, your financial situation, and all your unique needs, you will help minimize the likelihood of getting sued.

The right policy will cover the damages (including bodily damage, vehicular damage, and property damage) sustained in most accidents.

It is even more important to make sure that you have adequate car insurance coverage. You may even want to consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy on top of your auto insurance policy.

Read on to learn all about lawsuits, car insurance policies, and why the cheapest car insurance policy might not be the best car insurance policy. Then be sure to enter your zip code above for free car insurance quotes from multiple companies!

The Cheapest Car Insurance May Not be the Best Car Insurance

It is imperative to make sure that your level of car insurance coverage gives you adequate protection in the event of an accident.

The most important element of this protection comes in the form of liability insurance. This is the kind of vehicle insurance that buffers you from the fiscal and legal consequences of a car wreck.

Liability insurance pays for damages to another car, driver, or piece of property if you are involved in a wreck.

Most states require drivers to possess a certain level of liability coverage to operate a vehicle, which is called the liability limit. This limit describes the ultimate amount an insurer will pay out for an accident.

The minimum liability limit enforced by many states is as low as $15,000.

If you are insured at the state minimum and find yourself in a serious accident in which you caused damages far exceeding $15,000, your entire financial future could be in danger.

It is paramount not to skimp on car insurance, while at the same time not paying excessive premiums for coverage you don’t need.

By making a careful decision about exactly what coverage your lifestyle and needs dictate, you will protect yourself from many of the uncertainties that lay ahead.

Liability insurance is split up into bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.

Bodily injury liability insurance covers the injuries to other parties in an accident where you are at found at fault. It covers your own court costs as well.

Property damage liability will protect you from financial disaster if your vehicle causes damages to another person’s property.

As with bodily injury liability, it covers court costs incurred when you are sued.

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What You Can Expect from Car Insurance

The right car insurance policy will pay for vehicular damages, medical bills, and property repair when you are found to be at fault in a car accident.

You will be responsible only for the deductible, which is the amount you must pay before insurance coverage takes effect.

Your car insurance company will also pay for court costs and representation. If, however, the injuries you caused to another driver were serious or fatal, it is possible that you will be sued for an amount that exceeds your coverage.

In this case, the car insurance company will pay up to your liability limit, while you will be personally responsible for the rest.

A realistic coverage level for the average American–and a level that differs significantly from the minimums required by most states–protects drivers in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per crash.

While the insurance company provides the lawyer, it is the insured’s name that is specified in the lawsuit.

When this “average” driver is sued for half a million dollars total for one accident, for example, he will find himself personally responsible for the $200,000 that remains once the insurance company pays out for the $300,000 liability limit.

Drive Safely to Avoid Getting Sued

Most accidents are the result of errors made by drivers. Frequent causes of accidents include:

  • speeding
  • tailgating
  • making unsafe lane changes
  • ignoring stop signs or lights

Driving attentively and cautiously will help ensure your safety.

Making sure you keep your eyes on the road, not on a cell phone, coffee cup or radio dial, will also increase your odds of getting home without trouble.

The safe operation of a vehicle is your number one defense against accidents and lawsuits.

Finding the Right Car Insurance Policy

Since car insurance provides you with the most important form of protection when you are found responsible for an accident, you want to make sure you are covered fully by a respected insurance provider.

To do this, try our online quote comparison tool. Just enter your zip code below to access quotes from multiple car insurance companies today!

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