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Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements in Each State – Bankrate.com

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We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence.
Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
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Car insurance is legally required in almost every state for drivers who own a vehicle or regularly operate one. Each state has minimum coverage requirements to financially protect drivers in the event of an accident.
Typically, a minimum coverage car insurance policy includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage, but some states also require additional coverage types. Minimum coverage car insurance can be a way to save on insurance premiums, but it is usually only available for vehicles without a loan or a lease.
Nearly all states have some form of car insurance requirement. Some states allow drivers to satisfy minimum requirements through a bond, deposits, evidence of self-insurance or by carrying an auto insurance policy. New Hampshire does not have a car insurance requirement unless drivers receive certain convictions that require them to carry an SR-22.
Below are the coverage types that are typically required with minimum car insurance:
While these coverage types are often required at the state level, the minimum amount of coverage allowed per person and per accident is different depending on your location. To find the exact minimum coverage requirements in your state, you can visit your state’s department of insurance website or contact your auto insurer.
Before deciding to carry minimum coverage car insurance to satisfy your state’s insurance requirements, it is a good idea to review the minimum requirements in your state. Also, remember that you can always purchase more coverage than what is required if you want additional financial protection. It is a good idea to consider getting quotes for multiple coverage levels before choosing the least amount of car insurance coverage available in your state to save on auto insurance premiums.
The table below includes the minimum car insurance requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
*Based on the Standard policy minimum coverage requirements
Traditional car insurance is not mandatory in all states. Depending on where you live, there may be alternative options to put down a deposit or post a bond with your state’s DMV, which serves as proof of financial responsibility. If you were to get into an accident, that money would be given to the other driver to compensate them for their losses.
Here are a few of the states that require either a standard car insurance policy or a financial filing:
However, keep in mind that forgoing traditional car insurance is usually a much more expensive option. The most flexible states for car insurance alternatives are New Hampshire and Virginia.
In New Hampshire, drivers are not required to carry auto insurance, except in cases where they must have an SR-22. In Virginia, drivers can forgo car insurance and pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee, making it the second cheapest state for alternative car insurance.
Most car insurance companies sell minimum coverage and full coverage policies. While at least a minimum coverage policy is required in most states, a full coverage policy offers significantly more financial protection. On the other hand, a minimum coverage policy is usually much cheaper than a full coverage policy. If you want more financial protection and have enough to afford the policy, consider purchasing full coverage.
A full coverage car insurance policy generally includes liability insurance and your state’s minimum coverage requirements (if applicable), plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision insurance covers your vehicle’s repairs after an accident, whereas comprehensive coverage covers your vehicle’s repairs after a non-collision incident.
The cost of car insurance is different for every driver and it depends on a variety of personal factors. Your state, claim history, driving record and deductibles can all impact the cost of your insurance. Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums found that in the U.S., the average car insurance premium is $1,674 per year for a full coverage policy and $565 per year for minimum coverage. To find cheaper coverage, it helps to shop around and get quotes from multiple providers.
When you purchase a new car, you must add it to your car insurance policy. You must buy a new policy or add the new vehicle to your existing policy so that you’re properly insured. If you purchase the car without a loan or lease, you have the option to get minimum coverage or full coverage insurance. However, if you lease or finance the vehicle, your lender will most likely require you to get a full coverage policy and possibly even higher liability limits.
Yes, your car insurance policy is valid wherever you drive in the United States. Many policies also remain valid if you drive across the border into Canada. When you purchase minimum coverage car insurance, the policy must meet the coverage requirements in the state where the car is registered. However, there are no restrictions for driving in another state where the minimum requirements are higher.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate.com does not include all companies or all available products.
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