Property damage, or PD* is the second liability (to others) coverage that you will be required to carry, and although the amount does vary from state to state, what it actually covers will be the same. Most often this coverage will pay for the damage you do to the other party’s vehicle, so if you total a brand new Yukon Denali, or a Lexus, your 5k or so in “minimum liability” coverage for property damage will do very little to help you.
You will be personally liable for the other 45k (or more!) damage that you have caused, and again, you will most likely watch your paycheck be garnished for the next 10 or 20 years as you pay off the claim. This awful coverage selection “mistake” is most often made by young people, who think that they have “nothing to lose” or “nothing anyone can take” from them— except their future earnings and lifestyle.
Property Damage Also Includes
Property damage also includes the other party’s white picket fence, sectional sofa, and 60” big screen TV, if you end up in their living room after an accident, for example. All of those things are property damage. Often overlooked here is damage that you may do to public property, such as fire hydrants, utility poles, guardrails, bridge abutments, etc. Rest assured, this kind of damage must also be paid for, and you will be billed for it if you cause it.
PD will pay for this type of damage as well, if you have enough of it. The sad and terrible thing about this particular coverage is that it is very inexpensive (in California, for example, usually four dollars per six months!) to double or quadruple the “minimum” coverage, and many agents will not even offer you this option, for fear that the next company you call or quote with will be a few dollars “cheaper” than they are, and that they will lose the sale.
Therefore it is your responsibility to ask about the price differences between the “minimum” amount of property damage coverage for your state, and an amount that will actually protect you from a “realistic” amount of liability should you actually incur it. Please do not fall into the “minimum liability” trap, because you do actually get what you pay for.