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Cheap liability-only car insurance

Updated Oct 09, 2023

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If you find yourself at fault in a car accident, a liability-only car insurance policy is intended to cover the damages the other party incurred due to the accident. Some drivers choose to carry liability-only car insurance because it is generally cheaper than full coverage car insurance and typically meets state minimum insurance requirements. However, it does not offer coverage for damage to your own vehicle. If you’re considering a liability-only car insurance policy, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team analyzed proprietary rate data to bring you some of the cheapest liability-only car insurance options. You’ll also learn what you can expect from a liability-only policy to decide if this coverage could be the right choice for your financial needs.

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Insurance Disclosure, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). services are only available in states where it is licensed. may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

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What is liability-only car insurance?

Liability-only car insurance covers damage to other vehicles, people or property you are responsible for in the event of a covered accident. This can include property damage and medical expenses. What this type of policy does not cover, however, are the damages that occur in an at-fault accident or a non-collision loss, such as a vehicle fire or theft. For instance, if you are at fault for an accident and only have liability insurance, you’ll likely have to pay for any  repairs to your own vehicle out of pocket.

What is PLPD insurance?

Property liability property damage (PLPD) insurance is one-half of a standard liability-only car insurance policy. The PLPD insurance portion of liability coverage is specifically for property damage caused by your vehicle. For instance, if you hit another car and damage its door, this portion of your liability policy may pay out toward those damages. The other portion of liability policies is called bodily injury liability, and it pays out toward medical costs for those injured in an accident where you are at fault. 

What is minimum coverage?

Minimum coverage refers to carrying only the minimum amount of car insurance coverage required by your state. This required coverage can vary, but almost always includes bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage, which make up liability-only insurance.

In some states, minimum coverage car insurance also requires personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. 

Note that liability-only coverage is likely only an option if you own your vehicle outright. If you have a loan or lease, your lender will typically require you to have full coverage. It is also worth noting that, like “full coverage,” “liability-only coverage” is not an industry-standard term. Some companies may consider medical payments or PIP to be a part of a liability-only policy, especially if your state requires them.

Cheapest liability-only car insurance

Based on our research, the companies that offer the cheapest minimum coverage insurance are Auto-Owners and USAA, followed closely by Geico, Amica and State Farm. While these average rates are for cheap liability car insurance, based on 2023 rates from Quadrant Information Services, keep in mind that minimum coverage requirements and costs will vary based on the state where you live, since each state sets its own minimums for liability coverage.

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium
Auto-Owners $325
USAA $371
Geico $373
Amica $429
State Farm $464

Finding cheap car insurance is a priority for many drivers. Getting quotes from several carriers may be helpful, as it allows you to compare rates for the same coverage from multiple companies. Although minimum coverage is often one of the cheapest liability-only insurance policies available, due to its low limits, most insurance experts recommend that you purchase more than the minimum limits if you can afford to. If you cause an accident and the damages and injuries exceed your liability coverage limit, you will be responsible for paying the overage out of pocket.

When choosing an insurance company, there are other factors to consider in addition to price. You may also want to review a company’s customer satisfaction scores, financial strength ratings, coverage options, discounts and digital tools. Everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to insurance, so getting quotes from several carriers might help you find the right policy for you.

How much does liability-only car insurance cost?

Each state has unique laws and risk levels that affect the cost of liability car insurance. Because of this, buying only minimum coverage may be significantly less expensive in some states than in others when compared to buying full coverage. For example, the average cost of car insurance for minimum coverage in Maine is $225 per year, which is $716 less than the average cost of full coverage in the state. But the average cost of minimum car insurance coverage in Louisiana is $805 per year, more than $2,104 cheaper than the average cost of full coverage in the state.

While full coverage insurance does usually cost more than minimum coverage, it provides a greater level of financial protection. Full coverage includes comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, which cover damage to your vehicle regardless of fault — something that is not included in minimum coverage.

How much cheaper is liability vs. full coverage?

The price difference between liability and full coverage insurance will depend partly on how much liability coverage you buy. Liability auto insurance is not one-size-fits-all. You can purchase different levels of coverage that provide you with more or less financial protection. State minimum policies provide very minimal financial protection, while a policy with higher limits gives you more. If you cause an accident, a liability-only policy will only pay up to your policy’s limited allowance for the injuries and damages you cause to the other car and its driver and passengers. The higher your limits, the more coverage you have and the more your insurance will likely cost.

You might pay more than $1,000 more for full coverage than a minimum coverage policy, depending on the insurance company you choose. However, a liability-only policy with limits higher than the state minimum will likely cost more than a minimum coverage policy. In that case, the price difference may not be as significant.

Average annual cost of minimum coverage insurance vs. full coverage

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium Difference
Auto-Owners $325 $1,361 $1,036
USAA $371 $1,361 $990
Geico $373 $1,353 $980
Amica $429 $1,467 $1,038
State Farm $464 $1,480 $1,106

Even if your budget is tight, you might want to get an insurance quote for a few different levels of liability coverage. You could be surprised that higher limits don’t always cost much more, and you might even be able to afford full coverage. Depending on the state you live in and the insurance carrier you choose, you have the option to add just comprehensive coverage, which would provide protection in the event that your vehicle is damaged by something other than a collision. Choosing a higher deductible on a full coverage car insurance policy can also lower the cost of your car insurance, but will require you to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.

Is liability-only auto insurance right for me?

Liability-only coverage might be a good fit for you if:

  • You own your car outright: If you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, you will very likely be required to carry full coverage, so liability-only coverage is probably only an option if you own your car in full.
  • Budget is your primary concern: Because full coverage provides greater financial protection in the form of coverage for damage to your car, it is more expensive than minimum coverage or liability-only coverage. But keep in mind that paying for less financial protection means that your budget will likely take a bigger hit if you cause an accident.
  • Your vehicle is not worth much: If your vehicle is older and does not have a high market value, it may not make financial sense to pay for full coverage, since the cost of repairing the car might be more than the car is worth. Be sure to evaluate the car’s replacement value to see if the value of the totaled vehicle justifies the higher cost of comprehensive and collision coverage.
  • You are not concerned about vehicle damage: If you are not worried about damage to your vehicle and do not think you would repair damages to your vehicle, liability-only might be a good choice.
  • You have the finances to repair or replace your car: If you own your car outright and have the finances to repair or replace it if it is damaged, without putting a significant strain on your financial health, liability-only coverage could be a viable option.

If you are unsure if liability-only coverage is right for you, working with an agent could be helpful. An agent can assess your situation and help you choose coverage that is appropriate.

Frequently asked questions


Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a cleaning driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Written by
Jessie See
Contributor, Personal Finance

Jessie See has a year of experience writing for Bankrate, and other insurance domains. She has covered topics ranging from auto and homeowner’s insurance to life insurance. She has been writing professionally for over a decade with experience in a variety of different topics and industries. Prior to becoming an insurance writer, she worked as a legal assistant in the field of personal injury law and as a licensed sales producer at various insurance agencies.

Edited by Editor, Insurance
Reviewed by Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute