Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Each state has different minimum car insurance requirements. There's even a short list of states that don't require car insurance. Aside from those few states, the minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage required by law is anywhere from $5,000 up to $25,000 in liability insurance. Car insurance laws by state can vary quite a bit, as you can see. Along with that variation, there's variation in the minimum car insurance costs between states as well. To learn all about minimum car insurance requirements and to get auto insurance coverage recommendations beyond the minimum, read on.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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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. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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In pretty much every state, you need to have auto insurance in some form or another in order to drive legally. Successfully meeting that need largely depends on what your state laws are.

Believe it or not, sometimes not all 50 states in the USA universally agree on the same thing (shocker!). And one of those things which many states disagree on is what the minimum car insurance requirements should be for drivers who want to get on the road.

If you’re curious about your state requirements — whether you’re trying to consider your auto insurance coverage options and reduce coverage and save money, or make sure your car insurance provider is operating legally — then you can get all of the info on your minimum auto insurance requirements here.

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States With the Lowest Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, and New Jersey are some of the cheapest states to drive in based on their mandatory minimum coverages.

In either state, your minimum bodily injury liability obligations are $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident, and the property damage liability ranges anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 per accident.

Most states, on the other hand, will demand that you purchase at least $25,000/$50,000 Bodily injury liability, with varying amounts of property damage liability.

The coverages they do not require, on the other hand, are uninsured motorist coverage (UIM), weather property damage or bodily injury, or personal injury protection (PIP).

Minimum vs. Average Car Insurance Coverage PremiumsLegend: Mandatory State Minimum Monthly Premium Average Car Insurance Policy ArizonaCaliforniaLouisianaNevadaNew Jersey 153045607590105120135150165180195210$35$114$90$215$115$147$35$99$75$153

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States With the Highest Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

When it comes to the bare minimum liability coverage requirements, Alaska takes first place with a minimum of $50,000/$100,000 bodily injury liability and $25,000 property damage liability.

But they do not require any other coverages. States like Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, and more will be the most expensive of all given the fact that they have uninsured motorist coverage requirements, as well as personal injury protection mandates.

Minimum vs. Average Auto Insurance Coverage PremiumsLegend: Mandatory State Minimum Monthly Premium Average Car Insurance Policy ConnecticutIllinoisMassachusettsMaineKansas 153045607590105120135150165180$110$189$35$76$115$192$30$73$39$128

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Are There States Where You Don’t Need Car Insurance?

Depending on how you look at the problem, this question has two different answers. Technically, yes, there are states where you are not legally required to purchase an auto insurance policy from a local provider.

But practically, no, there aren’t. No matter what, you have to be able to prove that you can pay for damages caused by an accident that was your fault if you want to be able to drive legally.

However, a few states offer an option to work around purchasing a legitimate auto insurance policy.

The first state on the list is New Hampshire. There is an extremely vaguely worded law which says that you don’t have to purchase the recommended state minimums through a legitimate auto insurance company, you just have to prove that you can be financially responsible if you are held liable in an accident.

Unfortunately, your “proof of financial responsibility” does not necessarily need to match the state minimums of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 for bodily injury and property damage liability.

If you’re a driver in New Hampshire who doesn’t want to have to buy insurance, don’t get too excited. This loophole will only get you so far.

If you do happen to get into an accident or get convicted of a major traffic violation, the state can intervene and force you to buy insurance anyway.

For better or worse, it doesn’t stop there. In Virginia, you have to pay a $500 fee per year for the privilege of driving as an uninsured motorist.

But if you decide to take this option, know that you will leave yourself 100 percent financially vulnerable if you cause an accident and need to repair/replace damaged property and/or pay for bodily injuries sustained by the injured parties.

Lastly, there are a few states which offer drivers an alternative to legitimate insurance: you can post a cash deposit or bond which is equivalent to the minimum financial amounts of liability coverage which your insurance provider would otherwise pay out in the event that a claim was filed against you.

Obviously, in the face of such a law, most drivers would opt to pay a small amount of money per month for financial protection rather than fork over tens of thousands of dollars to the government.

If you’re so desperate to avoid insurance premiums that you would like to know if your states is a member of this exclusive group, feel free to visit your department of insurance website or contact them directly and ask for yourself.

To Purchase, or Not to Purchase Minimum Car Insurance? That Is the Question…

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. If you have a lot to lose, such as an expensive home, property, or if you’re driving a relatively new car which would be difficult to repair or replace 100 percent out of pocket, then it makes a lot of financial sense to purchase an insurance policy which can protect you from the worst.

But if your financial assets are limited and you’re not driving the shiniest, fanciest car on the road, you may find it reasonable and cost-effective to scale back your coverage.

No matter what type of policy you wish to buy, we can help you find the most affordable one out there. We may even be able to find your rates so low, that leaves room in your budget for better coverage options!

Whenever you’re ready to start, just type in your zip code and we’ll get you on your way.

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