How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?
Most people who own and drive a vehicle need at least some car insurance. Here’s when you need it and how much you need.
You need at least enough car insurance to meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements, but it’s generally a good idea to have more.
Exactly how much car insurance you need depends on several factors, including where you live and how you bought your vehicle.
Every state except New Hampshire or Virginia requires drivers to have at least some liability car insurance. And all states require drivers to prove financial responsibility in some way.
Also, most lenders require collision and comprehensive coverages when you finance a vehicle through them.
In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about:
- What kinds of car insurance you need
- How much car insurance you need
- How much car insurance you should get
What car insurance do I need?
You often need collision and comprehensive car insurance if you have a financed vehicle. And you need liability car insurance if you live in any state except Virginia or New Hampshire.
Not all states require the same amounts or types of coverage, though.
Take Pennsylvania, which requires 15/30/5 coverage. This means the state’s drivers need to buy at least:
- $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person.
- $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
- $5,000 of property damage liability per accident.
Pennsylvania drivers also must get $5,000 of medical payments, or MedPay, coverage, at a minimum.
On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska requires drivers to have 50/100/25 coverage — and no MedPay.
In fact, only three states require MedPay coverage at the moment: Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
Other states require personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage as well as bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. Or they require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage along with it.
Do you need personal injury protection coverage?
Fourteen states require drivers to buy at least a minimum amount of personal injury protection coverage.
PIP pays some of your medical and funeral expenses after an accident. It also covers lost wages and ongoing treatment costs.
Find out if your state requires PIP coverage — and, if so, how much it requires — in the table below.
Do you need uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Twenty states plus the District of Columbia require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage (UM). Some of these states require drivers to have underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, too.
Also, New Hampshire requires drivers who buy car insurance — rather than prove financial responsibility in some other way — to get uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is optional in every other state.
Do you need full coverage?
You’re likely to need full-coverage car insurance if you have a financed vehicle.
Full-coverage car insurance policies usually include liability, collision and comprehensive coverages. Lenders typically require you to get comprehensive and collision coverage if you finance a vehicle through them.
So, if you finance the purchase of your vehicle and live in a state that requires liability coverage, you’ll probably need full-coverage car insurance.
How much full-coverage car insurance you need, though, depends on your lender and your state.
How much auto insurance do I need?
How much car insurance coverage you need depends, in large part, on where you live. Where you live also determines what types of car insurance coverage you need.
See the table below for everything you need to know about the types and amounts of car insurance your state requires.
|State||Liability coverage minimum||MedPay coverage minimum||PIP coverage minimum||UM and UIM coverage minimum|
|Connecticut||25/50/25||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI and UIMBI)|
$15,000 per person,
$30,000 per accident
|District of Columbia||25/50/10||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident of UMBI and $5,000 of UMPD|
|Florida||$10,000 property damage liability||N/A||$10,000||N/A|
|Illinois||25/50/20||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI)|
$4,500 per person for medical expenses;
$900 per month for one year for disability or loss of income;
$25 per day for in-home services;
$2,000 for funeral, burial or cremation expense; and
$4,500 for rehabilitation expense
|$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI and UIMBI)|
|Maine||50/100/25||$2,000||N/A||$50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident (UMBI and UIMBI)|
|Maryland||30/60/15||N/A||$2,500||$30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident of UMBI and $15,000 per person of UMPD|
|Massachusetts||20/40/5||N/A||$8,000||$20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident (UMBI)|
|Minnesota||30/60/10||N/A||$40,000||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI and UIMBI)|
|Missouri||25/50/10||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI)|
|New Hampshire||25/50/25 (if you buy car insurance)||$1,000 (if you buy car insurance)||N/A||N/A|
|New Jersey||$5,000 property damage liability||N/A||$15,000||N/A|
|North Carolina||30/60/25||N/A||N/A||$30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident of UMBI and $25,000 per person of UMPD|
|North Dakota||25/50/25||N/A||$30,000||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI and UIMBI)|
|Oregon||25/50/20||N/A||$15,000||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI)|
|South Carolina||25/50/25||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident of UMBI and $25,000 per person of UMPD|
|South Dakota||25/50/25||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI)|
|Vermont||25/50/10||N/A||N/A||$50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident of UMBI and $10,000 per person of UMPD|
|Virginia||25/50/20 (if you buy car insurance)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|West Virginia||25/50/25||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident of UMBI and $25,000 per person of UMPD|
|Wisconsin||25/50/10||N/A||N/A||$25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident (UMBI)|
|Note: In this table, UMBI is short for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, UIMBI is short for underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage and UMPD is short for uninsured motorist property damage coverage.|
How much liability insurance do I need?
You need as much liability car insurance coverage as your state requires.
If you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, state law doesn’t require you to carry any liability coverage. In New Hampshire, though, you must prove you have sufficient funds to cover any accidents you cause if you decide not to buy car insurance. And in Virginia, you need to pay the state a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee if you forgo coverage.
Every other state requires drivers to have at least some liability coverage — from California’s 15/30/5 coverage requirement to Maine’s 50/100/25 requirement.
How much car insurance should I have?
Although many states require drivers to have at least 25/50/25 liability coverage, many drivers should buy more than that amount of car insurance.
In fact, we recommend carrying a minimum of:
- $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person.
- $300,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
- $100,000 of property damage liability coverage.
A good rule of thumb is to get as much bodily injury and property damage liability coverage as you need to protect all of your assets. The more assets you have, the more you have to lose if someone sues you after an accident.
Liability coverage pays for injuries or damage you cause to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians in a crash. If you only get the state-minimum amount of liability coverage, it may not protect your assets if you’re found to be at-fault for a serious accident.
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