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State by State Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

Posted in Auto Accidents

In the United States, virtually all licensed drivers are legally required to carry some form of car insurance for their automobile. However, the specific types and amounts of coverage required may vary greatly from state to state.

What is the minimum required car insurance coverage in your state? We teamed up with visual data firm 1Point21 Interactive to create a series of interactive maps with corresponding data from the Insurance Information Institute.

Hover your cursor over each map for detailed information pertaining to each state.

Understanding Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

It is important to understand that, while different states have different requirements regarding mandated auto insurance, the most basic type of liability coverage required in nearly all states is bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Bodily injury liability

Bodily injury liability provides compensation for any injuries suffered by other parties in an accident. If you are in an accident and found to be at fault, your bodily injury coverage may be used to pay for any injuries and medical-related costs incurred by any other parties. Notably, bodily injury coverage only covers the medical expenses of other parties involved in the accident – not you, the driver, or any passengers in your vehicle.

For bodily injury liability, every state offers a baseline liability minimum for two parameters: per individual and per accident. For the purposes of consistency, this map is organized based on the per accident liability limit.

Property damage liability

Property damage liability provides compensation to other parties for any damages as a result of the car accident. In this instance, property damage commonly refers to any automobiles or other vehicles damaged in an accident. Like bodily injury coverage, this provides compensation to other involved parties if you are found liable for some or all of the damage caused by the car accident.

According to our data, 48 states and the District of Columbia require both bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage at a minimum.

Other Types of Car Insurance Required

Beyond basic bodily injury and property damage, some states require other types of more specialized insurance. This usually falls under two similar columns.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

This type of car insurance provides a safety net if you suffer a car accident with another party who does not have adequate auto insurance – or no insurance at all.

Uninsured motorist coverage gives you protection if you receive injuries or other damages from a driver who has no car insurance whatsoever. In this circumstance, your own policy will contribute to any medical and/or repair bills incurred as a result of the accident.

Underinsured motorist coverage gives you additional compensation in cases where the other party’s coverage is too low to cover your damages. For example, if you are in an accident with someone who only has $2,000 in bodily injury coverage, any medical expenses you have incurred over that limit can be funded by your policy’s underinsured motorist insurance.

The following states require that drivers carry one or both of the above policies.

Personal injury protection, Medpay

Personal injury protection (PIP) and Medpay are a type of car insurance that provides coverage for any personal medical bills or related expenses. It’s important to distinguish between this type of coverage and bodily injury liability: the former covers you, while the latter covers any other parties/vehicles involved in the accident.

Medical coverage gives you and your passengers compensation for any personal injuries you suffer as a result of an accident. Also known as Medpay, this coverage is fairly narrow, limited to strictly medical bills and any other associated expenses.

Personal injury protection provides coverage to you and your passengers, much like Medpay. However, it is a more comprehensive type of medical coverage. Often, it not only covers medical bills, but may also cover lost wages and loss of services.

The following states require that drivers carry PIP or Medpay.

Coverage Varies from State to State

From the above maps, we can gather some key findings regarding car insurance and liability coverage from state to state.

  • Although 49 states and the District Columbia require bodily injury and property damage liability at a basic minimum, just 20 of those require only those two to fulfill state-mandated minimum auto insurance laws.
  • Seven states require nearly every type of auto insurance as a minimum: Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, and Oregon.
  • Florida is only one of two states in the country that does not require bodily injury liability coverage as a minimum, only asking for property damage and personal injury protection coverage.
  • New Hampshire is the only state in America that doesn’t have a state-mandated requirement to carry automobile insurance. All drivers are otherwise expected to bear the financial responsibility of a car accident, with auto insurance being an optional purchase. Interestingly, even though insurance is not mandatory, the minimum acceptable amount of optional coverage is mandated in state law. This is why dollar minimum amounts are listed for both bodily injury and property damage coverage in the corresponding maps above.

Other Unique Differences Regarding Auto Insurance Minimums

Some states have other unique provisions and/or requirements regarding auto insurance minimums.

  • In 4 states – Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Utah – policyholders do not need to adhere to these strict individual limits if they opt instead for a consolidated policy with one combined single limit that meets the state requirements.
  • California has a program for those who qualify as low-income policyholders that allows them to carry lower limits of 10/20/3.
  • In New York, policyholders are also required to carry separate wrongful death coverage of $50,000 per individual, $100,000 per accident.

Closing Thoughts

Although adhering to state auto insurance minimums may initially seem straightforward, it’s clear that laws and provisions in place may make this process considerably more complicated. If you have any questions regarding auto insurance coverage, it may be recommended to consult an attorney with experience dealing with car accidents and the required coverage in your state.