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Liability insurance is the most affordable type of car coverage for most drivers. If you are at fault in an accident, liability insurance ensures that you are not responsible for coming up with the money to pay for the damages and injuries you cause. Any costs that exceed your insurance limits will have to be paid by you, so it's important that you purchase the right amount of liability car insurance.

Liability car insurance is generally more affordable than full coverage insurance. Still, it is a riskier option because it doesn't cover your medical bills or damage to your vehicle in an accident. MoneyGeek compared costs from top companies to help you find cheap liability insurance that meets your needs.

Key Takeaways

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Liability insurance is usually the cheapest level of car insurance because it only covers the costs of injuries and damages for the other vehicle if you are at fault in an accident.

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Cheap liability insurance is best for drivers with a paid-off vehicle who have enough savings to cover their medical and other expenses.

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Although liability-only insurance is the cheapest option, it may not provide enough coverage for all of your expenses if you are at fault in an accident.


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Which Companies Have Cheap Liability Car Insurance?

MoneyGeek analyzed dozens of car insurance companies across hundreds of cities and all 50 states to find the cheapest car insurance companies for liability coverage. We analyzed only companies that provide coverage in at least 30 states.

USAA is at the top for the lowest state minimum and 50/100/50 liability coverages, while MetLife is at the bottom. The average annual premiums range from $628 to $1,835 for the state minimum and range from $756 to $2,141 for 50/100/50 liability coverage.

9 Cheapest Companies for Liability Car Insurance
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These rates are based on a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record. Rates will differ depending on an individual’s age, driving record, gender and the type of car insured.

GEICO

GEICO is the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S. and provides coverage in many states.

  • State-minimum liability: $515 average annual premium
  • 50/100/150 liability: $628 average annual premium
Nationwide

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company offers insurance, investment and retirement products and services.

  • State-minimum liability: $729 average annual premium
  • 50/100/150 liability: $798 average annual premium
USAA

The United Services Automobile Association provides insurance, banking and other financial services to active military members, veterans and their families.

  • State-minimum liability: $409 average annual premium
  • 50/100/150 liability: $490 average annual premium

Cheap Liability Insurance vs. Full Coverage Costs

Liability auto insurance is the most basic policy you can purchase in most states. Liability auto insurance covers the other driver's expenses in an accident if you are at fault. It covers the other car's occupants' medical expenses and property damage, but it does not cover your own injuries and property damage. Minimum coverage levels vary by state. The average cost of state-minimum liability car insurance is $728 annually.

The next step up in coverage from state-minimum liability coverage is 50/100/50 liability insurance, with an average annual premium of $864. This type of insurance covers the expenses for the other vehicle, with $50,000 in bodily injury protection per person, $100,000 in bodily injury protection per accident and $50,000 in property damage coverage per accident. It does not cover your injuries, medical costs or property damage.

Comprehensive and collision coverage, sometimes known as full coverage, is the best option if you want additional coverage. This type of insurance includes liability coverage, but also provides other benefits, like coverage to replace or repair your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident or event other than an accident. Comprehensive and collision coverage costs an average of $1,270 per year.

Average Annual Premium by Coverage Level

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Coverage LevelAnnual Premium
State-Minimum$728
50/100/50 Liability$864
Comprehensive and Collision$1,270

State-minimum liability insurance is 42.7% cheaper than collision and comprehensive, while 50/100/50 liability insurance is 32% cheaper than collision.

Should You Buy Liability-Only Insurance Instead of Full Coverage?

If you fully own your car, and if it's an older vehicle, you should consider purchasing liability-only car insurance. For lower-value vehicles, the cost of adding comprehensive and collision insurance may be more than your car is worth.

For example, say your car insurance company charges you $500 for comprehensive and collision insurance with a $1,000 deductible. If an accident totals your car, you’re effectively paying $1,500 that year for insurance to cover the costs, the sum of your premium and deductible. If your car is worth less than $1,500, you’re paying more for the insurance on the car than the car itself is worth. Drivers in this situation should consider buying liability-only insurance. You can check Kelly Blue Book to find the approximate value of your vehicle.

Generally, if you own a newer, more valuable vehicle, you should consider buying comprehensive and collision insurance in addition to liability insurance. It will compensate you in the event that your vehicle is badly damaged, on or off the road, or stolen. If you lease your vehicle or took out a loan to finance the purchase, you will generally be required by your lender to buy comprehensive and collision insurance.

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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

The type of car insurance policy that’s best for you will depend on several factors, most notably the value of your vehicle.

  • If you have a less-valuable vehicle, it may make the most sense to buy liability-only insurance, the cheapest type of car insurance policy. Minimum liability policies cost $728 per year on average.
  • Liability-only insurance will not cover damages to your vehicle after an accident. For that, you’ll have to buy a policy with comprehensive and collision insurance, also known as full coverage.
  • Full coverage policies cost $1,270 per year on average. Only pay extra for full coverage if your car is valuable enough to be worth the extra cost.

Cheap Liability Car Insurance After a Ticket or Accident

Safe drivers with a clean driving record will typically be able to source the most affordable liability car insurance. Getting a ticket or having an accident will usually increase the cost of liability car insurance. If you've recently received a citation or been found at fault in an accident, comparing car insurance quotes may help you find a lower premium if your current insurer increases your rate.

Cheap Car Insurance With a Ticket

USAA is not available to all drivers — the company offers its products to military members and veterans only.

The table below shows the average annual premiums for state-minimum liability and 50/100/50 liability-only coverage after a ticket for the top nine insurers nationally.

USAA is at the top of the list with an average yearly premium of $473 for state-minimum liability and $566 for 50/100/50 liability coverage, while MetLife is at the bottom with the highest average annual premiums for both state-minimum and 50/100/50 coverage.

Average Annual Premiums With a Ticket
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According to MoneyGeek's research, USAA, GEICO and Nationwide offer the lowest rates for liability insurance for drivers with a ticket on their record are.

GEICO

If you have an accident on your record, you can still find affordable rates with Geico, one of the nation's largest insurers.

  • State-minimum liability: $687 average annual premium
  • 50/100/150 liability: $847 average annual premium
Nationwide

Nationwide provides coverage for a wide range of vehicle types, even if you have a ticket on your record.

  • State-minimum liability: $852 average annual premium
  • 50/100/50 liability: $925 average annual premium

USAA

USAA provides coverage for military, veterans and their families at competitive rates.

  • State-minimum liability: $473 average annual premium
  • 50/100/50 liability: $566 average annual premium

Cheap Car Insurance With an Accident

After an accident, your liability car insurance rates are likely to increase as well.

The three lowest-cost insurance companies following an accident for state-minimum liability insurance and 50/100/50 are USAA, GEICO and State Farm.

Average Annual Premiums After an Accident
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GEICO

Even after an accident, you'll find a variety of coverage and bundling options with Geico.

  • State-minimum liability: $819 average annual premium
  • 50/100/50 liability: $1,003 for after an accident
State Farm

State Farm offers some of the lowest rates for drivers with an accident on their record.

  • State-minimum liability: $857 average annual premium
  • 50/100/50 liability: $1,038 for after an accident
USAA

USAA offers the lowest rates for drivers with an accident on their record, but this company is only available to military members, veterans and their families.

  • State-minimum liability: $628 average annual premium
  • 50/100/50 liability: $756 for after an accident

How to Shop for Cheap Liability-Only Policy

MoneyGeek’s analysis found that drivers can save up to 47% on their insurance policies by shopping around for car insurance online and getting multiple quotes.

When searching for the best auto insurance, consider getting quotes from at least three different companies. Keep in mind that many factors influence liability-only car insurance rates. The easiest way to shop and compare is to get multiple online quotes for free.

In order to get an accurate quote, make sure you have the following information at the ready: the make, model and year of the vehicle that needs to be insured; the information for any drivers in the household; and your current address, former addresses and the occupations of all the drivers on the policy.

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Ensure you are getting the best rate for your coverage. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Liability Car Insurance

Liability auto insurance is 42.7% cheaper than comprehensive collision coverage, but it can be risky to choose the cheapest amount of coverage. Cheap liability insurance does not take into account that liability claims for accidents could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Knowing the limits and risks of liability insurance can help you make an informed decision when selecting auto insurance coverage.


What is liability coverage?This is an icon

Liability car insurance is the minimum insurance required to operate a vehicle. It covers damages and injuries to the other parties involved in an accident where you are at fault. It does not cover your damages or injuries.

What do the liability limits mean?This is an icon

The standard liability limit (or minimum) is 50/100/50. The first number, which represents $50,000, is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for an injury to an individual involved in the crash. The second number, representing $100,000, is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for all injuries in the accident. The third number, $50,000, is the maximum the auto insurance company will pay for property damage.

What are the risks of liability-only insurance? Should you choose the cheapest option?This is an icon

The risk of purchasing cheap liability-only insurance is that you could be involved in an accident where the damages or medical bills are higher than your insurance coverage, which means you would be responsible for the difference. For example, if you have 50/100/50 coverage and the other driver's medical payments were $60,000, you would be responsible for the $10,000 gap in coverage.

What isn’t included in the cheapest liability-only car insurance?This is an icon

Most importantly, liability-only insurance does not cover your vehicle or passengers' medical payments if you are at fault in an accident. Other items not covered include emergency roadside assistance, automatic breakdown coverage, rental car coverage, modified or gap coverage, rideshare driver coverage, classic car, non-owner or self-driving car coverage.

Cheap Liability Insurance in Your State

Where you live is a factor in determining costs when shopping for car insurance. To find the cheapest liability car insurance where you live, click on your state below.

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Ensure you are getting the best rate for your car insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

Expert Advice: Understanding Liability-Only Car Insurance

  1. What type of driver should consider liability-only car insurance?

    If you are considering liability-only car insurance, you have to be very careful. It will not cover your expenses in an accident. It only covers property damage or bodily injuries that you cause to others. If you do not have a lot of assets and you are willing to take the risk, you might be okay. However, make sure you have enough insurance to comply with state laws. The rule of thumb is you should have liability-only insurance if the annual cost of full coverage is more than 10% of the car’s value.

  2. Why is liability-only car insurance less expensive than full coverage?

    Liability insurance is less expensive because you are getting a lot less insurance. Liability-only limits its coverage to legal fees for defending you and covers the damage or injury to others if you are at fault. You are not covering payment for damage to your vehicle or your personal injury bills. In addition, if you are in a non-crash situation due to weather, fire, or theft, your insurance provider will not pay for it.

  3. What are the primary risks for liability-only car insurance and who should consider full coverage?

    The risks for carrying liability-only insurance are that you have no protection for your car or for yourself. Most people should include collision coverage and personal injury protection. My advice is to purchase as much auto liability insurance as you can afford. If you have significant assets, you will need to buy more liability insurance to protect those assets. You can increase your coverage substantially, usually by a minimal increase in the cost of the insurance.


Dr. Audrey Guskey
Dr. Audrey GuskeyAssociate Professor of Marketing at Duquesne University

Methodology


Average annual car insurance costs are based on a 40-year-old driver with a Toyota Camry LE. Unless otherwise stated, rates are based on a driver without a record of tickets or accidents. Learn more about MoneyGeek’s average premium methodology.

About the Author


Laura Longero Holman is an award-winning writer and editor who lives in sunny Reno, Nevada. Nevada is home to some of the country's highest auto insurance rates, so she is experienced in shopping around for coverage.

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