Definition of Liability for Property Damage in Insurance

Property damage insurance is the portion of your auto insurance coverage that insures the property of other people that your car damages in an accident. This coverage pays for the damage to the other people's vehicle or other property.

Property Damage Coverage

Property damage is generally presented on the insurance policy attached to the liability coverage. In split single-limits liability coverage, the property damage is the last portion of coverage that is listed. For instance, 50/100/50 coverage shows that the coverage will insure $50,000 per person in liability, $100,000 per accident in liability and $50,000 for property damage in a single accident. In combined single-limit coverage, the property damage payout maximum is included in the overall total of coverage.

Property Damage Payout

Property damage can be paid out alone. Though it is attached to and sometimes included in liability limits, property damage can be paid out by your carrier without paying for injuries.

Who's Covered

Property damage only covers the other person's property, if you are the one at fault for the accident. If this is the case, damage to your own vehicle will only fall under your collision coverage.

What About My Car?

If you are deemed not at fault for the accident and have damage to your vehicle, your damages will be reimbursed by the other party's property damage coverage. If the other party does not have coverage or does not have enough coverage, then your policy's uninsured- or underinsured-motorist property damage coverage will cover the damage to your vehicle.

Is It Enough?

You should review your policy to be sure you have enough property damage coverage. If the amount is not enough to cover the damage in an accident, you will be responsible for paying the rest out of your pocket. If the other party's underinsured motorist coverage comes into play, you may find that their insurance company will take legal action against you to recoup the amount that they paid to their client.