Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, research investigative pieces…

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states…

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Reviewed byRachael Brennan
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UPDATED: Aug 11, 2020

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So, why do you need auto insurance?

Well, the short answer to that question is: because it’s required by law.

Automobile liability coverage is required by most states. This insurance pays when you are liable — at fault — for damages or injuries.

Every state says that you need liability auto insurance now except for just a few exceptions. Even the exceptions require you to prove financial responsibility, though. You could put up a bond for the liability amount required by the state — i.e. letting the state hold thousands of dollars just in case you have an accident — or you could just get insurance.

So you need auto insurance coverage. If you don’t have any and need auto insurance quotes, you can find cheap auto insurance quotes right now using our FREE search tool.

Do you have to have car insurance to drive?

If you get caught driving without insurance, there are some serious financial and legal penalties you will have to face. In some circumstances, you may even face jail time or lose your driving privileges. So don’t risk it!

But the historical origins can be traced back to the late 1800s when cars were starting to gain popularity as a new method of transportation.

There were many problems with overzealous drivers recklessly hitting carriages and/or horses. Purchasing an insurance policy helped protect these drivers from getting sued by poor farmers who couldn’t afford the financial burden of replacing a damaged carriage or getting a new horse.

Presently, however, there are hundreds of millions of drivers on American roadways – enough to make the automotive insurance industry one of the largest and most profitable property insurance industries in the entire country.

Because there are so many drivers on the road, accidents are bound to happen. But that’s not the only financial risk associated with owning a vehicle. Theft and vandalism are also concerns — concerns which, thankfully, most insurance policies will cover (so that you don’t have to).

So if you want to obey your state laws and protect yourself from having to repair or replace a piece of property that costs thousands of dollars, then you need auto insurance. And as long as you meet your state-mandated minimum coverage requirements, you can decide to purchase as little or as much coverage as you want. Purchasing more coverage will protect you financially in the event that something bad happens to your vehicle, but it will require that you pay more each month for your policy.

Minimum vs. Maximum Coverage Legend: Maximum Coverage Minimum Coverage California Texas Illinois Florida New York 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 $172 $64 $142 $105 $88 $34 $216 $126 $285 $93

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Do all states require car insurance?

Almost all of them do. But even in states like New Hampshire, where carrying automotive insurance isn’t specifically required, you will have to jump through some serious legal hoops to prove that, in the event of an accident, you can still be financially responsible. Most feel like the process is too complicated, and choose to purchase an auto policy from an affordable and reliable provider instead.

Get Answers to Your Questions

So, how does auto insurance work for you? This guide will help explain the basics, so you can make an informed decision. And after you learn the basics, you can put your knowledge to the test and compare different quotes from multiple providers by entering your zip code below.