What Is Property Damage Liability?
Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage is an essential part of your car insurance policy. It helps pay for damage to another person's property that occurs in an auto accident you cause.
This typically involves damage to another person’s car, but might also include damage to other property like a guardrail, fence, mailbox, or home. PDL could even help pay for repairs to a storefront that's damaged in an auto accident you cause.
PDL is one of two liability insurance coverages. The other is Bodily Injury Liability, which helps protect you financially if you (or someone covered on your policy) cause a car accident that injures another person or persons. (Think cuts, scrapes, and broken bones — not dented bumpers.)
What Does Property Damage Liability Cover?
When you cause an auto accident, your Property Damage Liability Insurance pays for covered damage to the other car. It also helps pay for other property damage that resulted from the crash, like if you ran through someone's fence. If the other driver sues in court, your PDL coverage will help pay for your legal defense.
Let's look at an example of how Property Damage Liability would work.
You're driving home from work and rear-end the car in front of you. That car swerves and hits someone's mailbox. Their back and front bumpers are smashed, and the mailbox is completely destroyed. The police issue you a citation for Failure to Maintain Proper Distance between Vehicles—Following Too Close. This means you are "at fault" for the accident.
Depending on the amount of your Property Damage Liability coverage, your insurance would pay to have the other car repaired or replaced, the other driver’s rental expenses while his car is in the shop, as well as to repair or replace the damaged mailbox. It would also pay for your legal defense should the driver of the car you hit and/or owner of the mailbox sue you for damages.
Still confused? Watch how Property Damage Liability coverage helped Isabel when she crashed into another car.
Who Needs Property Damage Coverage?
If you drive, you need Property Damage Liability on your car insurance policy! Most states don't give you a choice. Drivers are required to carry a certain amount of Property Damage Liability.
PDL is designed to protect other people from damage that you cause while operating your vehicle. Likewise, if someone causes damage to your property in an auto accident, then their Property Damage Liability would come to your rescue! Property Damage Coverage can help everyone on the road.
How Much Property Damage Liability Do You Need?
Property Damage Liability limits vary by state. For example: in Tennessee, the minimum required limit for Property Damage Liability coverage is $15,000 per accident. In Texas, it's $25,000. The coverage "limit" on your policy is the most your car insurance company will pay should you need to use your PDL coverage for an accident you cause.
You can choose to buy the minimum amount of Property Damage coverage, or you can purchase more. Picking the lowest limits could help you get cheaper car insurance, but it also means that you could be responsible for paying for property damage you cause that your insurance doesn't cover. That money comes straight out of your pocket.
Talk with an insurance agent about the mandatory PDL coverage limits in your state and what level of coverage best suits your needs.
Property Damage Liability for Commercial Vehicles
Besides commuting, do you use your car, truck, or van for activities related to your job? Or do you own a fleet of vehicles you use for business purposes? If so, you may need a commercial auto insurance policy that includes Property Damage Liability Coverage.
Like Property Damage Liability Coverage on your personal auto policy, a minimum amount of commercial auto liability insurance is required in most states. However, commercial auto policies tend to have higher liability limits than personal auto policies.
The amount of commercial Property Damage Liability Coverage you need will depend on your state, business type, the number of vehicles in your fleet, your assets, and your company's financial strength.
Choose Direct Auto for Property Damage Coverage
Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) or visit a Direct Auto & Life Insurance location near you to learn more about Property Damage Liability requirements in your state. Friendly agents are standing by to help you get the affordable car insurance you need, regardless of your insurance history. Call, click, or come in today!