Mandatory Car Insurance Coverage Requirements


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: DECEMBER 23, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

What is required for minimum car insurance varies from state to state. Your friends’ coverage and limits in different states might not be the same in your state. We have put together everything you need to know about the mandatory car insurance coverage requirements.

Mandatory Car Insurance Coverage Requirements By State

Five different types of coverage are mandated from state to state. Every state requires bodily injury liability insurance, except for Florida. All 50 states, plus Washington D.C., require property damage liability.

Most states require you to have uninsured motorist insurance. A handful of states require residents to have personal injury protection insurance.

Below are some basic coverages for the state minimum coverage, which is the cheapest option for car insurance.

Which States Don’t Require Insurance?

Traditional automobile insurance is not required in all states. A few states don’t require it, and below we review which states don’t have these requirements.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, car insurance is not required. Drivers only need to prove their ability to pay for the damage after a car accident. There isn’t a limit required, but residents are compelled to get auto insurance with a policy that’s 25/50/25 limits. To claim financial responsibility, you likely have to fit into that range. The state forces you to get car insurance if you’re involved in a major violation, such as a DUI.

Virginia

Virginia expects you to pay a $500 yearly “uninsured motorist fee” even if you don’t have minimum insurance. If you choose to pay a fee instead of buying insurance, you leave yourself vulnerable if you’re ever in an accident. Minimum auto insurance coverage costs are the same as most drivers’ fees, so opting for minimum coverage might be the best idea.

Understanding Mandatory Car Insurance Coverages

For the states with minimum requirements, there are certain types of coverage that your insurance company expects you to have as part of your auto insurance policy.

Liability coverage

New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t require liability insurance coverage. It helps you pay for damages caused to the other driver, passengers, or property in an accident.

There are three components to liability coverage car insurance:

  • Bodily injury coverage per accident
  • Bodily injury coverage per person
  • Property damage coverage per accident.

The liability limits are set as a series of numbers, like 15/30/10.

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage

Most states require residents to have UIM, uninsured motorist coverage. These help to cover the costs of injuries for you or your passengers if you’re in an accident where you’re not at fault and the driver doesn’t have enough car insurance. Some states require uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage to cover damages resulting from the accident.

Personal injury protection (PIP)

Not many states require personal injury protection, roughly only 20%. It covers medical expenses for the insured and their passengers regardless of who’s at fault. It might also cover lost wages that health insurance doesn’t. Drivers usually associate personal injury protection with “no-fault” states where they are responsible for their own vehicles.

Medical payments coverage

Medical payment coverage goes toward your medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident. It doesn’t cover lost wages and is required in Pennsylvania and Maine, but you’ll be confident that your medical bills are taken care of.

Mandatory Car Insurance Coverage Exceptions

Not every state requires residents to have auto insurance. New Hampshire is famous for not mandating insurance for drivers aside from those convicted of a vehicle-related crime. Some states provide exceptions such as:

  • Uninsured motorist registration: Virginia, for example, allows drivers to register as uninsured motorists for a fee as long as they have a clean record. It allows residents to drive without insurance. The upside is that it costs less than car insurance but offers zero protection. 
  • Proof of financial responsibility: Arizona allows drivers to provide a certificate of deposit, bond, or cash to the DMV in place of the state minimum car insurance. The payment varies, but it’s roughly $30,000 to $100,000.

Optional Coverages

Sometimes meeting the state minimum requirements isn’t enough. No state requires comprehensive coverage or collision, which you might want to have for your own protection. Many people add this to protect themselves from vandalism, animal collisions, and fires.

If you’re leasing or financing your vehicle, your lender probably requires you to buy collision coverage or comprehensive. Other optional coverages, such as rental reimbursement, pay for a rental car if your car is in the shop after an accident. Others include roadside assistance, towing insurance, and full-glass coverage, which pays for the replacement or repair of your windshield.

Should You Get Liability-Only Or Full-Coverage Insurance?

There are many benefits of getting full coverage car insurance. Full coverage is minimum car insurance plus collision, personal injury protection, and comprehensive coverage. You might find it worth it to have full coverage, so that you can have the comfort of knowing that your family and your motor vehicle are protected in case of an accident.

If you only have minimum car insurance, you won’t be covered if you’re in an accident that’s your fault. If a branch lands on your car during a storm, you won’t have any protection.

FAQs

Which type of coverage is mandatory to have?

Most states require you to have uninsured motorist insurance. A handful of states require residents to have personal injury protection insurance.

What is the minimum insurance requirement in Colorado?

Colorado mandates that you have $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, and $15,000 in property damage liability per accident.

What is the minimum liability coverage in Mississippi?

Mississippi mandates that you have $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident.

What are the four basic coverages of the standard auto policy?

The four different car insurance coverages are personal injury protection, bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and underinsured motorist.

What are the minimum state standards for insurance in Indiana?

Indiana mandates that you have $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident.

Does Utah require car insurance?

In Utah, you must carry proof of insurance and present it to law enforcement upon request.

What is the best type of insurance to have?

The best car insurance to have is full-coverage insurance. But it’s not the best option for everyone. Before getting full-coverage insurance, make sure that your car’s valued at more than your deductible.

What does liability coverage protect you from?

Liability insurance covers medical and legal fees if you’re legally responsible for someone else’s injury or damage to their property during an accident. Drivers are required to carry liability insurance in almost every state.

What are the benefits of having car insurance?

 Auto insurance provides coverage for property damage, liability, and medical. That protects you in every circumstance during an accident.

Finding the Best Car Insurance

Purchasing car insurance is simple. Ensuring you have the right coverage in case something happens is essential. We hope this article has helped you understand your options.

If you’re ready to get insurance quotes for your property, it’s as simple as contacting an insurance agent to compare rates as amounts vary by company. We have a helpful tool to find the best car insurance.