Editorial Note: We earn a commission from affiliate links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not influence the opinions or ratings of our editors.
Most states require drivers to have some level of car insurance. Some states require only minimum amounts of liability insurance, while others have additional coverage requirements, such as personal injury protection.
Purchasing the minimum required amount of liability insurance provides you with financial protection if you are at fault in an accident. We recommend purchasing higher amounts of liability insurance than the state minimum. If you cause an accident, you may be sued for damages that exceed your coverage limits. A good rule of thumb is to purchase enough liability insurance to cover the assets you might lose in a lawsuit.
Minimum car insurance requirements by state
Which states do not require car insurance?
Every state except New Hampshire and Virginia requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. However, even drivers in those states may find they still need coverage in certain situations.
- New Hampshire typically does not require you to carry auto insurance if you can prove you meet the state’s minimum financial responsibility requirements. If you cannot meet these requirements, your New Hampshire driving privileges may be suspended. Also, if you encounter certain problems on the road, such as found at fault for an uninsured accident, you may be required to purchase insurance.
- Virginia residents can opt out of purchasing liability insurance by paying a $500 uninsured motorist fee. However, skipping car insurance means you won’t have any coverage in the event of an accident. If you cause an accident, you’ll be on the hook for paying for other people’s injuries and property damage.
Common types of car insurance required by state
If you’re shopping for the best car insurance policy for your needs, a good place to start is to understand what types of coverage are required by your state. Generally, this includes one or more of the following coverages.
If you cause an accident, car liability insurance pays for property damage and injuries to others, including the other driver, their passengers and pedestrians. It also covers your legal defense and any judgment or settlement that arises if you are sued because of an accident.
Liability coverage requirements include a minimum amount of coverage for bodily injury per person, accidental bodily injury, and property damage.
For example, if you’re shopping for car insurance in Texas, you’ll need a policy that meets the state’s minimum 30/60/25 liability requirements. This means that your policy should include at least:
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person per accident
- $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage per accident
Uninsured motorist coverage
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects you if you’re in an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance.
Similarly, drivers may be mandated by their state to purchase uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This type of coverage kicks in if the at-fault driver is insured but does not have enough coverage to pay for your damages.
Like liability insurance, UM/UIM is often divided into two parts:
- Bodily injury: Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) coverage and Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) coverage.
- Damage to property: Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage and Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UIMPD) coverage.
Some states require drivers to carry UMBI but do not require UMPD. Others require coverage for both bodily injury and property damage.
Personal Injury Protection
If you get into an accident, personal injury protection (PIP) covers injuries to you and your passengers, regardless of who caused the accident.
PIP coverage includes medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs and funeral expenses, and survivor benefits. It can also cover the cost of some everyday services, such as childcare, if your injuries prevent you from performing those tasks.
PIP is required in some states.
Medical payments (MedPay)
MedPay covers accident-related medical bills for you or your passengers, regardless of who is at fault for an accident. It can also cover your medical bills if you are in an accident as a passenger or pedestrian.
MedPay is not available in every state, but is required in some.
Connected: The main types of car insurance
Additional car insurance coverage is required for some drivers
Although not required by states, your lender may require comprehensive and collision coverage if you have a car loan or lease.
- Collision coverage pays for damages that occur when you collide with another object, such as a car, guardrail, telephone pole or other structure.
- Comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by other incidents, such as natural disasters, fires, theft, vandalism, rollover, or damage caused by animals (such as a deer running in front of your car or a mouse gnawing on your engine wiring) .
Best car insurance companies 2022
With so many choices for car insurance companies, it can be difficult to know where to start in finding the right car insurance. We’ve rated insurers to find the best car insurance companies, so you don’t have to.
Minimum car insurance FAQs
How much does car insurance cost with minimum coverage?
An analysis by Forbes Advisor shows that the average “good driver” rate for the minimum required car insurance is $618 per year. However, rates will vary based on several factors, including where you live, your age, your driving history and the type of car you drive.
Another thing that affects the cost of car insurance is the car insurance company you choose. Shopping around and comparing car insurance quotes can help you find the lowest rate for the coverage you need.
Connected: Cheapest car insurance companies
Should I get minimum or full coverage car insurance?
The minimum coverage will ensure you have enough insurance to legally drive in your state, but there are benefits to purchasing additional coverage if it fits your budget.
If you’re at fault for an accident, especially one that results in injuries, a minimum coverage policy likely won’t be enough to cover all damages related to the accident, including your legal defense and any judgment against you if you’re sued .
Connected: How much car insurance do you need?
What happens if I don’t meet my state’s minimum car insurance requirements?
Each state has its own penalties for driving without car insurance.
Generally, you can expect to pay a fine ranging from $150 to $1,500. License suspensions are also common and can last up to three years, as is the case in Florida. There may be other consequences, such as impoundment of the vehicle, suspension of the vehicle registration and even imprisonment.