Other than New Hampshire, Virginia and some parts of Alaska, every state requires drivers to carry auto insurance. While many states only require you to have liability coverage so you can pay for bodily injury and property damage you cause in an accident, others have additional requirements such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
This article will cover:
How much car insurance do I need?
If the state you live in requires car insurance, you'll need to have at least a minimum amount of these coverage types:
- Bodily injury liability: this covers the medical expenses and lost wages of other parties associated with an accident you cause.
- Property damage liability: this coverage pays to repair and replace vehicles and property belonging to other parties that you damage in an accident.
A state's minimum car insurance requirements are usually written in a three-number format representing:
- Bodily injury coverage per person
- Bodily injury coverage per accident
- Property damage coverage
For example, if your state requires 50/100/20 liability car insurance, this means you need to have at least:
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $100,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $20,000 property damage coverage
Additional required car insurance
Some states require additional types of car insurance coverage beyond bodily injury and property damage liability. These coverage types are:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: this coverage helps to pay your medical bills and in some instances property damage caused by another driver with inadequate or no car insurance.
- Medical payments coverage: this car insurance type helps cover medical costs that you and your passengers accrue after an accident. It may also help cover hospital visits and other related expenses.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): This coverage, also known as "no-fault" insurance, covers medical payments you or your passengers may have after an accident. It differs from medical payments coverage in that it also covers expenses such as lost wages, funeral expenses and child care after an accident.
How much liability insurance do I need?
The following table shows each state's minimum required liability car insurance limits, along with any additional required coverage.
|State||Minimum liability coverage||Additional coverage|
|Connecticut||25/50/25||CT additional insurance|
|District of Columbia||25/50/10||DC additional insurance|
|Florida||$10,000 personal injury protection/$10,000 personal property damage liability|
|Hawaii||20/40/10||HI additional insurance|
|Idaho||25/50/15||ID additional insurance|
|Indiana||25/50/25||IN additional insurance|
|Kansas||25/50/25||KS additional insurance|
|Kentucky||25/50/25||KY additional insurance|
|Maine||50/100/25||ME additional insurance|
|Maryland||30/60/15||MD additional insurance|
|Massachusetts||20/40/5||MA additional insurance|
|Michigan||50/100/10||MI additional insurance|
|Minnesota||30/60/10||MN additional insurance|
|Missouri||25/50/25||MO additional insurance|
|New Hampshire||25/50/20*||NH additional insurance|
|New Jersey||15/30/5||NJ additional insurance|
|New York||25/50/10||NY additional insurance|
|North Carolina||30/60/25||NC additional insurance|
|Oregon||25/50/20||OR additional insurance|
|Pennsylvania||15/30/5||PA additional insurance|
|South Carolina||25/50/25||SC additional insurance|
|South Dakota||25/50/25||SD additional insurance|
|Utah||25/65/15||UT additional insurance|
|Vermont||25/50/10||VT additional insurance|
|Virginia||25/50/20*||VA additional insurance|
|West Virginia||25/50/25||WV additional insurance|
|Wisconsin||25/50/10||WI additional insurance|
*Car insurance coverage is optional in this state, with conditions.
Source: Insurance Information Institute.
Do I need to have car insurance?
With the exceptions of Virginia, New Hampshire and some parts of Alaska, all states require drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance. Even in states where car insurance is not required by law, lenders may require you to carry insurance if you finance your vehicle. And most car dealerships will not let you drive a car they sold off the lot without insurance.
States require drivers to carry car insurance as long as they're driving to ensure they can maintain financial responsibility if they cause an accident. Financial institutions want drivers who borrowed money for a vehicle to have auto insurance to protect their investment, and often require collision and comprehensive coverage in addition to liability.
How much car insurance should I get?
While most states require specific limits of car insurance, these should not be considered adequate coverage. The minimums are not updated frequently, so they do not often reflect actual costs that could be accrued after an accident. For example, if you cause an accident in Vermont that totals another driver's car, it is doubtful that the $10,000 property damage minimum will cover its replacement.
In order to give yourself financial security and peace of mind, we recommend purchasing the following limits:
- Bodily injury liability per person: $100,000
- Bodily injury liability per accident: $300,000
- Property damage liability: $100,000
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