UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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If you’re interested in getting the cheapest possible car insurance, then you’ll want to get the minimum legal liability insurance required for your state.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about the minimum auto insurance coverage required in your state.
Yes, You Need a Certain Level of Car Insurance in Every State
First, let’s make something clear: if you want to legally drive on public roads in the United States, then you need to have car insurance.
Car insurance is a specific requirement in 49 states in America. The only state that doesn’t technically require car insurance is New Hampshire. However, even in New Hampshire, you’re required to prove a certain level of cash reserves in order to legally drive on public roads, and most New Hampshire drivers opt for car insurance anyway.
Insurance laws in American states, however, vary widely. Some states require you to have relatively high coverage limits.
Drivers in Texas, for example, are required to have $60,000 in bodily injury liability per accident.
Drivers in Florida, meanwhile, require just $10,000 in property damage liability per accident and $10,000 in personal injury protection.
In other words, the minimum liability coverage that you have to sign up for varies considerably across states.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Getting the “minimum car insurance” can mean different things in different states. For example, some states require you to have personal injury protection, while other states don’t require any type of personal injury protection.
Typically, here are the components of car insurance you’ll need to pay attention to in different states:
Bodily Injury Liability Per Person
This type of car insurance liability is the amount of coverage you have per person. Most states have a minimum bodily injury liability requirement of $15,000 to $50,000. That means each person involved in the collision can claim up to $15,000 or $50,000 from the insurance company following an accident. Bodily injury liability covers damages you inflict to other passengers, drivers, or pedestrians involved in a collision. It covers medical expenses and similar costs.
Bodily Injury Liability Per Accident
Most states also outline a minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage required per accident. Typically, this limit is twice the amount of required bodily injury liability coverage. Most states have a “per accident” liability coverage requirement of $30,000 to $50,000. If you have a minimum car insurance plan, then this is the total amount of money your car insurance company will pay in bodily injury coverage after an accident.
Property Damage Liability Per Accident
Most states also outline a specific minimum required amount of property damage liability per accident. Property damage liability refers to the maximum amount your car insurance company will pay to compensate property damage – including the costs of repairing the other vehicle involved in the collision.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some states require drivers to have a certain level of uninsured motorist coverage. If you get into a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, then this coverage will supplement the other driver’s insurance policy after it’s maxed out. In Connecticut, for example, you’re required to have $25,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person and $50,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident.
There’s a reason insurance companies in some states require you to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: according to USA Today, one in seven drivers in the United States is driving illegally without car insurance.
Personal Injury Protection
Some states, like Florida and other no-fault states, require a certain amount of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Personal injury protection insurance covers your own medical expenses. In Florida, for example, you’re required to have $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage.
Other Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Minimum car insurance requirements vary widely across states. Some states have unique requirements not seen in other states. Drivers in Maine, for example, are required to have a minimum of $1,000 in medical payments coverage.
Drivers in New York, meanwhile, are required to have $50,000 in liability coverage for death per person and $100,000 in liability coverage for death per accident.
What Happens If You Exceed Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage?
Let’s say you cause an accident. You get into a collision with a family in an SUV. As a California driver with a minimum liability plan, your car insurance covers $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person, up to a total of $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, along with just $5,000 in property damage liability per accident.
The family of four visits the hospital. Each family member receives medical services worth $20,000. Additionally, the SUV is severely damaged and requires $15,000 worth of repairs.
What happens when you get into a collision that exceeds your liability limits? Your insurance company will cover the damages up to the limits of your policy.
In this situation, your insurance would partially cover the medical expenses of two of the family members, providing $15,000 in compensation to two members, up to the $30,000 limit of your policy. Then, your insurance company would pay $5,000 to repair damage to the vehicle.
Once your policy is used up, then you’ll need to pay out of pocket for the remaining costs (assuming you’re at fault). If you don’t have the assets to pay for the remaining costs, then you may face a lawsuit. In other cases, the other driver’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will kick in.
Keep in mind that minimum auto insurance coverage only covers damages you cause to other people and property during a collision. Your own medical expenses and vehicle damages may not be covered. You may need to pay out of pocket for these expenses as well.
Conclusion: Compare Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Plans Today
If you want the cheapest possible car insurance, and you understand the risks of cheap car insurance, then we encourage you to shop for minimum liability car insurance quotes online today. Remember to visit the Insurance Information Institute’s official website, III.org, to discover the minimum auto insurance coverage requirements in your state. Minimum liability requirements vary widely from state to state. Start shopping for car insurance in your area to discover which minimum auto insurance plan is right for you.