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State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements: Beginner’s Guide

State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements: Beginner’s Guide

State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements: Beginner’s Guide

Auto insurance is certainly an upsetting topic and so are the complex state rules. That’s why we have brought for you a comprehensive guide in order to better understand the minimum state car insurance according to the law in your state.

This guides aims to provide you the basic knowledge about the insurance requirements you are obliged to fulfill according to your state law.

Understanding minimum car insurance requirements

In simple terms, state minimum car insurance requirements are the minimum level of insurance made mandatory for auto owners in order to legally drive in a particular state by the law of that state. Each state has its own minimum car insurance requirements. However, New Hampshire is the only state in the U.S. which doesn’t mandate auto insurance for its residents in order to legally drive there. But the state law there does require the car owners to be financially responsible in case of any mishap with the car.

You can find the details of minimum state insurance requirements for each state on the state insurance commissioner’s website.

However, for your ease we have included the complete list for all the 50 states right here in this article. You can scroll down to the last section of this article for the list or you can keep reading till below to find the section.

Understanding the required coverage under the minimum state car insurance requirements

There are four basic types of coverage which may be included in a state’s minimum car insurance requirements. However it may differ with your state’s requirements. Please check the list of your state to check what’s included and what’s not.

The four basic types of coverage are:

Liability Insurance

Every state except  New Hampshire requires a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover you against any liability such damage caused by you to the driver, passengers or the property, such as the car.

The three main elements of Liability Car Insurance Coverage are:

  • Bodily injury coverage per person
  • Bodily injury coverage per accident
  • Property damage coverage per accident

 

Personal injury protection

15 out of 20 states require a mandatory PIP for the auto drivers themselves.  It is an extended protection for the insurers to cover medical expenses for the inured and even the travelling passengers even if the driver is at no-fault. In many cases, it may also cover lost-wages due to the accident. Some states also require the insurer to provide a death benefit as a result of the car accident. For example, A PIP in Florida provides a death benefit if $5000. It is also called as the “no-fault” because it covers the injured person regardless of who was at fault in the accident and also because it is a requirement in most no-fault states. PIP is available only in no-fault states and a few no-fault optional states.

Medical Payments Coverage

Similar to PIP, Medical payments coverage also covers medical expenses of the injured regardless of who was at the fault in the car accident. However, it’s different from PIP in the sense that it doesn’t grant additional benefits like lost wages or nay other work-related loss or even a death benefit. Although this coverage has a low limit but it may be helpful for people whose heath insurance don’t provide coverage for injuries in a car accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)

 

Now, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage protects you in case you get hit by an uninsured motorist. You could be insured as a responsible driver but not everyone is. In fact, 13 percent of drivers in the U.S. or you could say one in eight drivers, are uninsured according to a report by the Insurance Information Institute . And if you happen to be hit by such a driver, you could be exposed to financial risk stuck with expensive medical bills and other repair-related costs.

Almost half of the states require a UM/UIM coverage and some states also require a UM/UIM property damage coverage just in case your car (or other property) gets damaged. In general, the minimum limits for UM/UIM is similar or identical to state liability insurance limits.

How to understand the numbers in Minimum State Car Insurance Requirements?

The numbers in your policy are indicative of the limits in your policy.

The numbers XX/XX/XX work in the following format:

Bodily Injury Limit per person/ Bodily Injury Limit per accident/ Property Damage Limit per Accident

Note: The above figures are expressive in thousands.

So, if your minimum coverage is 15/30/5 then your limits are:

  • $15,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $30,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $5,000 per accident for property damage

Kindly take note that in your insurance policy these numbers may also be expressed as $15,000/30,000/5,000.

Minimum Insurance vs. Full Coverage

When it comes to your car you may either want to fully protect or you may be just obliged by law to protect it to a certain extent. This is where the difference between minimum Insurance and full coverage comes into play.

Minimum Insurance is the minimum insurance coverage to be purchased according to the law of your state. It is a legal obligation as an auto owner and a mandatory condition to legally drive in your state. Most states have a state minimum of insurance for vehicles which at least covers medical and property damages if deemed at fault while driving. However, some states may require a personal injury protection or even uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as even minimum requirement.

On the other hand, full coverage insurance is beyond the minimum mandatory requirement by your state law. It is something which is optional and is generally purchased when you want more or full protection. Full coverage includes the minimum liability insurance along with optional collision coverage as well as a comprehensive coverage.

The collision coverage provides the cost for damages in case your car meets an accident. There is a deductible with collision insurance and it is to be paid prior to any damage being paid for by the insurance company.

On the other hand, comprehensive coverage provides protection from the damages/loss occurring due to weather, vandalism, broken glass or auto theft. You can also opt for roadside assistance, towing, car rentals, etc under the comprehensive coverage. It requires a separated deductible apart from the collision deductible. And this has also to be paid prior to any damage being paid for by the insurance company.

How to choose between minimum coverage and full coverage?

Whether to go for minimum state liability insurance or full coverage depends upon your needs and other car insurance related factors.

Minimum liability insurance is of course cheaper but doesn’t offer you several other benefits. Following are the questions to ask yourself…

  • Could you afford to pay off the debt as well as buy a similar car in case your car gets completely totaled?
  • Are you driving an older car or a new car? If it’s an older with lesser value, you could consider dropping the full coverage.
  • Do you completely depend on your car for commuting or public transit forms a large part of your daily commuting? If you depend on public transit for regular commute, you could ditch full coverage.
  • Have you done the math for your collision coverage and deductible? If they don’t seem to offer much value, you could forgo it.

Those were just a few questions to give you an idea of how to choose between minimum liability insurance and full insurance coverage. You would need a deeper research to decide which one is the best fit for you.

Do all states in the U.S. require minimum state insurance?

Not all but majority of states in the U.S. have a minimum state insurance requirement.  However, some states do offer an alternative approach to minimum auto insurance requirements generally in the following manner:

Proof of financial responsibility

New Hampshire is one such state which doesn’t require minimum state insurance as a mandate for most of its drivers with clean records. However, it does require minimum state insurance for those with a history of vehicle-related crime. Drivers with a clean record can go without insurance by demonstrating that they have sufficient funds to pay the victim in case of an at-fault accident.

Similarly, states like Arizona, New York, California and others do allow the driver to present a bond or certificate of cash deposit to the department of motor vehicles in place of minimum state insurance. The amount can range between $30,000 and $65,000 for different states according to DMV.ORG.

Below is the list of all the 30 states which allow such an arrangement.

 

30 States which accept Bonds or Cash Deposits in Place of Car Insurance

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

 

Some states like Texas also offer the option of self-insurance. However, this is available only to individuals or companies that own many cars. For instance, Texas allows self-insurance to companies that own 25 or more vehicles.

Uninsured motorist registration

Some states like Virginia offer an uninsured motorist vehicle registration as an alternative approach. Drivers can pay $500 uninsured motorist fee to avoid the minimum state insurance requirement. But it is not a replacement to auto insurance and doesn’t provide any benefits that come with insurance. It is also of course not an option available to drivers with a vehicle-related crime history. This option just provides the drivers with the legal ability to drive across the state of Virginia without being penalized for having no insurance coverage.

Below is the table for the minimum insurance requirements of all the states:

Alabama

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Alabama Department of Insurance

Alaska

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Division of Insurance

Arizona

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

In Arizona, it is not compulsory to purchase auto insurance to legally drive in the state. However, if you choose not to purchase insurance, you must provide a $40,000 bond to the department of motor vehicles in order to prove your ability to fulfill your financial responsibility in case of an accident.

Arizona Department of Insurance

Arkansas

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Arkansas Insurance Department

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability total per accident

California Department of Insurance

Colorado

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability total per accident

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

Connecticut

  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $20,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $40,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage total per accident

Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles

Delaware

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

Delaware Department of Insurance

Florida

  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $10,000 personal injury protection

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

Georgia

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Georgia Department of Law

Hawaii

  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $10,000 personal injury protection

Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Idaho

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability total per accident

Idaho Department of Insurance

Illinois

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident

Illinois Department of Insurance

Indiana

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

Indiana Department of Insurance

Iowa

  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability total per accident

Iowa Insurance Division

Kansas

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) with the following minimums:
    • $4,500 per person in medical expenses
    • $900 a month for disability or loss of income
    • $2,000 for burial or cremation expenses
    • $4,500 for rehabilitation

Kansas Insurance Department

Kentucky

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $10,000 personal injury protection

Kentucky Department of Insurance

Louisiana

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Louisiana Department of Insurance

Maine

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $2,000 medical expenses coverage

Maine Professional and Financial Regulation

Maryland

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $30,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $60,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $15,000 uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage per accident

Maryland Insurance Administration

Massachusetts

  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $20,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $40,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $8,000 personal injury protection

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

Michigan

  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $1 million property protection — which covers buildings and parked cars

In Michigan, you are required to have no-fault car insurance that covers injuries and damages regardless of who’s at fault.

Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services

Minnesota

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $40,000 personal injury protection

Michigan Commerce Department

Mississippi

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Mississippi Insurance Department

Missouri

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident

Missouri Department of Insurance

Montana

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

Office of the Montana State Auditor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident

Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles

Nevada

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

Nevada Division of Insurance

New Hampshire

New Hampshire doesn’t have a mandatory minimum car insurance requirement.
But if the drive is at fault, the owner of the vehicle will still have to pay for any bodily injury or property damage. Following are the minimum requirements if you wish to purchase car insurance in New Hampshire.

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage
  • $1,000 medical payments coverage

New Hampshire Insurance Department

New Jersey

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $15,000 medical payments coverage

New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance

New Mexico

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division

New York

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $50,000 liability for death per person
  • $100,000 liability for death per accident
  • $50,000 personal injury protection
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident

New York State Department of Financial Services

North Carolina

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $30,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $60,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage total per accident

North Carolina Department of Insurance

North Dakota

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $30,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage total per accident

North Dakota Insurance Department

Ohio

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Ohio Department of Insurance

Oklahoma

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner

Oregon

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $15,000 personal injury protection

Oregon Division of Financial Regulation

Pennsylvania

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $5,000 medical benefits

Pennsylvania Insurance Department

Rhode Island

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation

South Carolina

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage

South Carolina Department of Insurance

South Dakota

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation

 

 

 

Tennessee

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability total per accident

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance

Texas

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident

Texas Department of Insurance

Utah

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $65,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $15,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $3,000 personal injury protection

Utah Insurance Department

Vermont

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $10,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage total per accident

Vermont Department of Financial Regulation

Virginia

Virginia also doesn’t have a requirement for compulsory auto insurance. You could be able to drive legally by paying state’s uninsured motorist fee but it doesn’t come with nay insurance benefit. Following are the minimum requirements in Virginia if you decide to purchase auto insurance.

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $20,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident

Virginia State Corporation Commission

Washington

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident

Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Washington, DC

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $5,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage per accident

DC Department of Motor Vehicles

West Virginia

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage

West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner

Wisconsin

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability total per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage total per accident

Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance

Wyoming

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability total per accident

Wyoming Department of Insurance

 

Penalties for driving without insurance

Just like every state has its own minimum state insurance requirement, similarly every state also has its own rules on penalizing the driver if found driving without meeting those requirements.

But remember one thing, driving without insurance or proof that you have fulfilled the required financial responsibility would bring you costly consequences.

Common penalties for driving without insurance

As stated above, penalties for driving without insurance differ from state to state; but you can have a look on a few of the most common penalties which are:

  • Your driver’s license may be suspended.
  • Your Vehicle registration may be suspended.
  • You could receive a traffic ticket for a no insurance violation. This will be an additional traffic ticket apart from the traffic ticket(s) you receive for the original reason you were pulled over. 
  • You need to meet SR-22 requirements.
    • Some states might require this if you were at fault in an accident while driving without insurance; others may impose it simply for driving uninsured.
  • Hefty fines

Apart from the other requirements, you’ll need to pay reinstated amount on your license and registration. Additionally, you’ll have to also bear the traffic ticket fines.

  • Your future insurance premiums may also be increased.

Please note that these are just a few of the most common penalties for driving without current car insurance. Kindly check with your state’s DMV for specific details.

 


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