You must carry liability auto insurance with coverage amounts of at least $15k/$30k/$25k in order to register and drive legally in Louisiana. This insurance would cover your responsibility for any harm or damage to others or their properties in an accident you cause.
If you are ever pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Louisiana, you have to present proof of insurance. Your insurance ID card, a copy of your policy, or a copy of the declaration page of that policy will all suffice.
|Louisiana Required Car Insurance Coverage||LA Required Min. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$25,000 per accident|
Louisiana Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
A policy is made up of many different coverages, and to satisfy the Louisiana Financial Responsibility Law, your insurance policy needs to at least include bodily injury and property damage coverage. The Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) will verify your insurance when you are registering or renewing your car, that it contains the following coverage amount (limits):
Bodily Injury (BI): for each person injured in the other party, up to $15,000, and for each accident when there are more than one injured, to a total of $30,000. BI covers the other party, such as those who are in the other driver’s car, for any medical bills incurred from injuries caused by the accident you are at-fault for. In case the other motorist decides to sue you, your insurer also pays to hire a lawyer for you under BI. You can buy higher BI limits for more protection in the Pelican State.
Property Damage (PD): for the other party's any property damage, up to $25,000 per accident. PD covers the other driver’s car repair, as well as any other house or public property you damage during a crash you caused. Note that it does not cover any fixes or replacements to your own vehicle. Higher limits of PD are often recommended, and availability varies by LA insurer (although the extra protection will cost more).
Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Louisiana
Louisiana has one of the highest percentage of motorists driving uninsured in the US; in 2012, 13.9% of claims in LA involved a driver without basic liability protection. To combat this, Licensed auto insurance providers automatically include uninsured motorist (UM) bodily injury coverage when you get a new policy per the Louisiana Insurance code. The coverage is meant to protect YOU in case the other party lacks insurance and has no means to pay the harm he caused. It is not required, however, so you may reject it in writing.
In Louisiana, you have a choice between normal UM and limited (economic-only) UM, which gives drivers more flexibility around costs. You also can carry UM for property damage. Here is a list of these coverage and how it helps policyholders living in the Pelican State:
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): UMBI kicks in when you have medical bills to pay for your own injuries sustained in an accident causes by an uninsured driver. Coverage is up to $15,000 per person in your party, and a total of $30,000 per accident if there are more than two persons. This only covers medical care, but if you want to make further claims for the pain and suffering you endured (typically through a lawsuit), your insurer also pays for them through UMBI. You may purchase higher limits of UMBI (availability varies by insurer), as long as it is not higher than your BI limits in LA.
UMBI Economic-Only: instead of the full UMBI above, you can opt to purchase what's called an "economic-only UMBI" in Louisiana. They are similar, except this option limits your right to claim for non-economic loss. Examples of non-economic loss include payment for pain and suffering from an accident. In exchange for the constraint, your UMBI Economic-Only coverage premium will be lower than a normal UMBI of the same limits.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): in Louisiana, you may only purchase UMPD if you do not have collision coverage on the same policy. UMPD kicks in when you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, and covers the property damage portion of your loss up to as much as $25,000 per accident. For example, your vehicle repair costs will come out of UMPD. Higher limits are available varying by insurer, but can never exceed your PD liability limits.
Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility
The OMV may accept several alternative proofs of financial responsibility (liability coverage of some form) besides an auto insurance policy when you're registering your vehicle. The alternatives are only valid provided that you get a certificate from the Commissioner of Insurance. Here are a few ways to get them:
Surety Bond: to get a certificate of insurance by surety bond, you must file a surety bond that is good for $55,000 in payment. The Commissioner will accept the bond if it is issued by a licensed surety company, and would pay out like a minimum liability insurance policy and insurer would. Note that although the surety company will pay for your financial responsibility in an accident, it will ask you for the money back.
Real Estate Bond: you can also get a certificate of insurance by bond if you file a real estate bond. Specifically, the bond be approved by a county court judge, and signed by two other individuals who own real estate in Louisiana. The two guarantors will list their properties on the bond as collateral in case you don’t pay out judgments against you for an accident you cause. Once the court clerk notifies the Commissioner of your bond approval, you will receive the certificate.
Cash/Security Deposit: to get this certificate, you need to deposit $30,000 with the Louisiana State Treasurer. The deposit may be in either cash or securities, such as a government bond or note. Finally, the Treasurer will verify whether or not you have previously unsatisfied judgments, and issue you the certificate if you do not. The deposit will only be used if you cause an accident and need to pay someone in the future.
Self-Insurance: Louisiana allows people who have more than 26 motor vehicles registered under their names to apply to become a self-insurer with the assistant secretary of the OMV. A self-insurer is essentially able to pay for their own liability in case of accidents caused by any of the vehicles insured under the self-insurance. You need to satisfy all of the following requirements in order to qualify:
- Have 26 or more cars registered under your name
- Own property in Louisiana
- Own total assets worth $100,000 or more (after deducting mortgage and other payments chargeable to the property)
- Have not had previous self-insurance certificates canceled within the past 5 years
There will be a $1,000 fee charged to each of your vehicles insured under the certificate. If you ever fail to pay any judgment for accidents caused by any one of your self-insured vehicles, the Commissioner may cancel your certificate.