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Auto Understanding Liability Insurance

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Understanding Liability Insurance

What is automobile liability insurance?

Liability car insurance pays for injuries and damages you cause. Practically all states require automobile liability insurance. 

What are the different types of automobile liability insurance?

Personal injury or Bodily injury coverage (PI/BI). Personal injury or bodily injury coverage pays for injuries suffered by others in a wreck you caused.  

Property Damage Coverage (PD). Property damage coverage pays for damage you caused to another person’s property in a wreck you caused.

Does Alabama require automobile insurance? 

Yes. Alabama law requires that you carry a minimum of $25,000.00 in personal injury coverage and $50,000.00 in property damage coverage. Ala. Code § 32-7-6.

Do I need to have proof of insurance with me in my automobile?

Yes. Every operator of a motor vehicle must carry proof of insurance. Several documents may serve as proof of insurance: (1) an insurance card issued by the insurer; (2) the current declarations page of an Alabama liability insurance policy; (3) an Alabama insurance binder; (4) a car rental agreement, which specifies the insurance coverage on the rental car; or (5) if you have purchased a motor vehicle within the last 20 days, a copy of the insurance card for the vehicle replaced by the new purchase. 

You may use a cell phone to display proof of insurance. If you use your cell phone to display proof of your insurance, this does not give law enforcement to access any other information on your cell phone. Ala. Code § 32-7A-6(j).

What are the penalties for not having automobile liability insurance?

Operating a motor vehicle without liability insurance is a Class C misdemeanor, § 32-7A-6. You can be fined up to $500.00 and, while unlikely for just a traffic violation, be sentenced a three-month jail sentence. In addition, failure to have insurance may result in the suspension of your driver’s license. Ala. Code § 32-7-6. 

Our experience has shown us that a significant percentage of drivers in Alabama have the minimum limits ($25,000.00) or no insurance at all. To protect yourself if you were in a wreck with an underinsured or uninsured driver, we recommend that you purchase UM insurance.