Each state has its own laws about car insurance, and most require drivers to carry personal liability and property damage coverage, or PLPD insurance, as a bare minimum.
Bodily injury and property damage are the two main types of liability auto insurance. When shopping for insurance, you may be given the choice between PLPD coverage or what is sometimes called “full coverage.” In this article, we’ll break down what each of these policies may cover, as well as how to purchase the best auto insurance plan for your car, your budget, and your driving habits.
In this article:
- What Is PLPD Insurance?
- How Much PLPD Insurance Do You Need?
- How Much Does PLPD Insurance Cost?
- What Isn’t Covered By PLPD Insurance?
- Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
What Is PLPD Insurance?
The phrases PLPD insurance, PL/PD, liability insurance, and basic car insurance are often thrown around interchangeably. The first question is always: What does PLPD mean? PLPD stands for personal liability and property damage insurance.
When you’re in a car accident or cause damage to someone else’s property, most states determine who is liable for the charges based on who is at fault in the collision. The insurance company of the at-fault driver is then responsible for paying the other party’s injury and property damage costs. For example, if someone runs a red light and hits the side of your vehicle, their PLPD insurance will cover your car repair bills and medical expenses in most states.
Each state sets minimums on how much car insurance drivers are responsible for purchasing before they can get behind the wheel of the car. Nearly all states require some level of liability insurance. This basic amount can be referred to as PLPD insurance.
PLPD liability insurance breaks down into two categories:
- Bodily injury: Also called personal liability, this covers up to a certain amount for the other party’s medical expenses and loss of income if injured in an accident and forced to take time off work.
- Property damage: This type of insurance covers up to a certain amount of the other party’s car, home, or other property repairs, as well as legal fees should you go to court.
How Much PLPD Insurance Do You Need?
The amount of PLPD insurance you need is determined by the state you live in. State requirements for liability insurance are often noted using three numbers. These refer to the dollar limits required for bodily injury coverage per person and per accident, as well as property damage per accident.
For example, New York requires 25/50/10 PLPD insurance, which means drivers must have:
- $25,000 per person personal injury liability
- $50,000 per accident personal injury liability
- $10,000 per accident property damage liability
For the most part, state requirements for PLPD insurance fall around these amounts. However, they can range from as high as 50/100/25 in Alaska to low numbers like 15/30/5 in California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
There are 12 states that are called no-fault states. In these areas, drivers are required to pay for their own medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, even in no-fault states, the at-fault driver is still liable to pay other parties’ property damage expenses. These states may not require PL insurance, but they do require PD coverage
There are also two states that do not require auto insurance: Virginia and New Hampshire. In Virginia, you need to pay a yearly $500 uninsured motorist fee to drive without insurance, and in New Hampshire, you need to prove that you have enough money to cover damages if you cause an accident.
You can check how much liability insurance you need by consulting your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Should You Purchase More Than The State-Required PLPD Insurance?
In most cases, yes, we always recommend buying more than the state minimum liability limits for PLPD insurance.
State minimums allow financial flexibility for those who cannot afford high insurance premiums, but choosing the lowest amount is not always as cost-effective as it seems. For example, if you choose the state-mandated minimums in California, you’ll only get $5,000 toward the other party’s car repairs. If the repair costs $20,000, you’re on the hook for the other $15,000.
It’s a good idea to speak with a car insurance agent when choosing a policy. Agents should be experts on how much insurance you need for optimal peace of mind on the road.
How Much Does PLPD Insurance Cost?
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average U.S. premium cost for PLPD insurance was $611.12 in 2017. However, costs vary by state. For example, Louisiana drivers paid an average of $936.94 for liability insurance that year, while drivers in North Dakota only shelled out $303.66 on average.
Your own PLPD insurance costs will depend on your state as well as:
- Marital status
- Driving record
- Credit history
- Vehicle make, model, and year
- Vehicle safety features
What Isn’t Covered By PLPD Insurance?
The majority of states only require PLPD insurance, but this option alone does not cover any of your own repairs or medical costs. Liability insurance will also not cover you if your car is damaged from an incident that’s not a collision, such as from vandalism, weather-related events, or, let’s say, backing into a telephone pole. PLPD insurance only covers liability costs for the other party.
Here are other types of auto insurance that are either required by certain state laws or commonly recommended:
|Types Of Car Insurance Other Than PLPD|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||Commonly required in no-fault states, this insurance covers your own repairs and injury-related costs no matter who causes the accident. PIP insurance may also cover funeral costs.|
|Collision Insurance||This covers the cost to repair your own vehicle when you are at fault for an accident. It also covers costs when you are the only party involved, such as if you hit a tree.|
|Comprehensive Insurance||This covers incidents that aren’t collisions, such as weather or animal-related damage, theft, vandalism, or falling objects.|
|Medical Payments (MedPay)||This insurance covers medical costs beyond your health insurance limits, including copays and deductibles for accident-related injuries.|
|Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)||UM or UIM insurance is useful if you’re in an accident with someone who does not have enough liability insurance to cover your costs. It’s crucial insurance if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident.|
|Roadside Assistance||This add-on covers towing, tire changes, lockouts, and other emergency roadside services.|
|Rental and Travel Costs||This can help cover rental costs while your vehicle is in the shop and unexpected lodging costs if an accident occurs far from home.|
|Rideshare Insurance||Some companies offer supplemental insurance for rideshare drivers if using their personal car for services like Uber and Lyft.|
Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
If you’re in the market for PLPD insurance, it’s smart to shop around and get multiple car insurance quotes before selecting a provider. This way, you can make sure you’re getting the best coverage at the lowest rate possible. Below are our top picks for finding great PLPD insurance at a fair price.
Geico: 4.5 Stars
Geico’s quotes process allows you to choose either your state’s car insurance minimums or more extensive coverage. Although you can get quotes online or through the Geico mobile app, you’ll still have the option to speak with a Geico representative in person or over the phone if you need help picking a plan. Here are a few other benefits of choosing PLPD insurance through Geico:
- Many discounts, including for students and military members
- Convenient mobile app
- Available in all 50 states with low prices across the country
You can read more about coverage in our full Geico insurance review.
USAA: 5.0 Stars
USAA is an excellent option for PLPD insurance if you’re a military member or are part of a military family. The auto insurer makes it affordable to select coverage beyond basic liability insurance thanks to its lower-than-average rates. For example, reviewers have mentioned rates as low as $500 per year for extensive coverage that includes extras like collision insurance. Other benefits of choosing USAA for your PLPD insurance needs include:
- Some of the best customer service in the industry
- Unique add-ons such as accident forgiveness and new car replacement
- A++ financial strength rating from AM Best
Learn more about this provider by reading our complete USAA insurance review.
Many new drivers initially consider only purchasing PLPD insurance to keep insurance costs low. When you choose the right company, you may get more for your money in the long run if you opt for a full coverage policy. You can start finding the cheapest auto insurance for your vehicle by using the tool below or calling (844) 246-8209.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.