Minimum Car Insurance Requirements by State

Most states require car insurance. But not all of them want you to have the same amount. Here's a look at each state's requirements.
Man driving in traffic

Nearly every state requires that you insure your car before you drive it. However, the required coverages and their limits vary considerably. It creates an additional layer of complication to interstate travel plans or cross-country relocation. If you’re planning a road trip or moving across the country, it’s essential that you meet the minimum auto insurance requirements wherever you plan on driving.

Car insurance isn’t a universal requirement. For example, New Hampshire doesn’t require drivers to purchase any. But this doesn’t mean you can drive in either of those states without ant kind of financial responsibility. You may need to pay a fee for having no coverage. Virginia is another state that doesn’t require coverage. However, you must pay an uninsured motorist fee of $500 if you don’t want to buy a policy.

This article will help you find your state’s minimum car insurance requirements. We’ll also go over the different types of coverage your state may require. Finally, we’ll talk about other coverage options your state may allow.

Common Coverage Requirements

Most states want you to have basic liability insurance, which helps protect you from having to cover all the costs of an accident where you’re at fault. Below are the two types of liability coverage your state may require:

  • Property damage liability (PDL). This takes care of damages you cause to property such as trees, light poles, or buildings. Your amount of protection for property damage on your policy is determined by your limits. If the amount of property damage exceeds them, you pay the remainder out-of-pocket.
  • Bodily injury liability (BIL). Pays any medical bills to other parties injured in an accident. This includes insurance for medical and funeral expenses, long-term care, and more.

Some states may only require you to carry liability insurance. But others will require other types of coverage. These include:

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM). UM/UIM pays medical bills if you get into an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have auto insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP). Personal injury protection or PIP covers injuries that you or your passengers may have in an accident. This kicks in regardless of fault. It includes coverage for medical and funeral costs, lost wages, and more.
  • Medical payments (MedPay). Like PIP, Medical payments or MedPay pays your medical bills after an accident. This is the case whether you’re at fault or not. It won’t cover expenses such as lost wages.

Coverage Limits

Each state that mandates liability insurance has a minimum coverage requirement. These limits are the highest amount of money that your insurer will provide if you need to file a claim.

Every type of insurance you can add to your policy has a limit. But you’ll often see liability written in a shorthand form such as “25/50/25.” These numbers refer to a how much money your insurer will pay out to cover expenses related to an at-fault car crash. you have on your policy. Each amount represents one coverage and the limits for each in thousands of dollars.

Here’s how to read limits in shorthand, using the “25/50/25” example:

  • $25,000 for injuries to one person in an accident.
  • $50,000 for injuries to everyone involved in an accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage in an accident.

Remember that your state’s requirements are just the bare minimum. If the damages from an accident exceed them, you’ll have to pay the remainder out of pocket. Some states have very low limits for BIL and PDL coverage. It’s entirely possible to set yours higher if you can afford it.

Mandatory Minimum Auto Insurance for Every State

The following is a table containing every US state’s minimum auto insurance requirements:

StateRequired InsuranceMinimum Liability Limits
AlabamaBIL, PDL25/50/25
AlaskaBIL, PDL50/100/25
ArizonaBIL, PDL25/50/15
ArkansasBIL, PDL, PIP25/50/25
CaliforniaBIL, PDL15/30/5
ColoradoBIL, PDL25/50/15
ConnecticutBIL, PDL, UM/UIM25/50/25
District of ColumbiaBIL, PDL, UM25/50/10
DelawareBIL, PDL, PIP25/50/10
FloridaPDL, PIP0/0/10
GeorgiaBIL, PDL25/50/25
HawaiiBIL, PDL, PIP20/40/10
IdahoBIL, PDL25/50/15
IllinoisBIL, PDL, UM/UIM25/50/20
IndianaBIL, PDL25/50/25
IowaBIL, PDL20/40/15
KansasBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP25/50/25
KentuckyBIL, PDL25/50/25
LouisianaBIL, PDL15/30/25
MaineBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, MedPay50/100/25
MarylandBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP30/60/15
MassachusettsBIL, PDL, PIP20/40/5
MichiganBIL, PDL, PIP20/40/10
MinnesotaBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP30/60/10
MississippiBIL, PDL25/50/25
MissouriBIL, PDL, UM25/50/25
MontanaBIL, PDL25/50/20
NebraskaBIL, PDL, UM/UIM25/50/25
NevadaBIL, PDL25/50/20
New HampshireNo required coverage25/50/25 (if you buy a policy)
New JerseyBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP15/30/5
New MexicoBIL, PDL25/50/10
New YorkBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP25/50/10
North CarolinaBIL, PDL, UM/UIM30/60/25
North DakotaBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP25/50/25
OhioBIL, PDL20/50/25
OklahomaBIL, PDL25/50/25
OregonBIL, PDL, UM/UIM, PIP25/50/20
PennsylvaniaBIL, PDL, PIP15/30/5
Rhode IslandBIL, PDL25/50/25
South CarolinaBIL, PDL, UM25/50/25
South DakotaBIL, PDL, UM/UIM25/50/25
TennesseeBIL, PDL25/50/15
TexasBIL, PDL30/60/25
UtahBIL, PDL, PIP25/65/15
VermontBIL, PDL, UM/UIM25/50/10
VirginiaBIL, PDL, UM/UIM25/50/20
WashingtonBIL, PDL25/50/10
West VirginiaBIL, PDL, UM25/50/25
WisconsinBIL, PDL, UM25/50/10
WyomingBIL, PDL25/50/20
Table data is from the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Exceptions to Coverage Requirements

Though it’s a good idea to meet your state’s minimum coverage prerequisite, you might have some other options. Many states include alternatives or exceptions to the usual liability requirements.

Here are some examples of alternatives that many states offer:

Proof of Financial Responsibility

One example of an alternative to meeting your state’s minimum requirements is proof of financial responsibility (FR). Proof of financial responsibility means that you have a bond or certificate that proves you have enough money to cover damages in an accident. You typically must give your proof of financial responsibility to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

It varies by state, but you’ll likely need to put up quite a bit of money to prove you can cover an accident. For instance, Washington requires you to get a certificate of deposit or liability bond of at least $60,000 from its Department of Licensing (DOL).

Registering as an Uninsured Motorist

Another alternative to satisfying your state’s minimum liability requirement is to register as an uninsured driver. States that don’t require auto insurance will often let you pay a yearly fee to register as one. Be aware that doing this will leave you without any protection. Having no coverage puts you at risk of paying for damages to both yourself and others if an incident occurs.

Self-Insurance

Some states might also allow you to become a self-insured driver. This means that, instead of seeking out an auto insurance provider, you have a certain amount of money set aside to pay for the costs of an accident. To self-insure, you’ll need to get proof of FR.

Self-insurance is normally only for wealthy people who can pay for damages and injuries in the event of an accident. Like being uninsured, insuring yourself is risky and can end up with you needing to pay lots of money. Getting a policy from a standard insurance company is the best bet for most people.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do minimum car insurance requirements exist in every state?

Yes, every state, except New Hampshire and Virginia, has minimum insurance requirements. Every state that does sets coverage limits for drivers.

What are the most common types of coverage that states require?

Every state that mandates car insurance requires at least some form of liability coverage. Some states may also require:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Medical payments (MedPay)
  • Uninsured and/or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM)

Are there exceptions to my state’s coverage requirements?

Some states may allow you to seek other auto insurance options. This includes coverages like:

  • Getting proof of financial responsibility
  • Registering yourself as an uninsured driver for a yearly fee
  • Self-insurance

Remember that these options aren’t for everyone and usually only work if you’re willing to assume high financial risk.

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