What is the Minimum Car Insurance Required in Your State?

What is the Minimum Car Insurance Required in Your State?

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Every state has minimum car insurance requirements — the amount of coverage you need in order to be legally insured — and generally, you need to have this coverage in order to drive your car. However, the minimum coverage amount varies by state; we've compiled the minimum required car insurance for each state in the U.S.

Minimum car insurance limits in each state

Overall, there are five types of coverage that may be mandated by a state. With the exception of Florida, every state requires bodily injury liability insurance (BI), while all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., require property damage liability (PD).

Roughly half of the states require a type of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UIM). Lastly, only a handful of states require personal injury protection insurance (PIP) or a similar type of first-party benefit insurance.

Together, these basic coverages are what's considered the state minimum, which is usually the cheapest possible option for car insurance.

Alabama$25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident$25,000 per accidentNoneNone
Alaska$50,000 per person/ $100,000 per accident$25,000 per accidentNoneNone
Arizona$25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident$15,000 per accidentNoneNone
Arkansas$25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident$25,000 per accidentNoneNone
California$15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident$5,000 per accidentNoneNone
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  • * Kansas: In addition to $4,500 PIP, drivers get up to $900 per month for disability or loss of income, $25 per day for in-home services, $4,500 for rehabilitation and lastly, $2,000 for funeral burial or cremation costs.
  • ** Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania: Maine and New Hampshire have "medical payments coverage", while Pennsylvania has "medical benefits coverage." All operate like PIP.
  • *** Michigan: State has mandatory property protection insurance (PPI), which acts like PIP, but for property damages instead of bodily. Limits are $1 million.
  • ^New Hampshire: Car insurance is not mandatory in New Hampshire, but if you opted for it (or were forced to get it), these would be the minimum requirements.
  • ^^New York: Also comes with an additional $50,000 per person/ $100,000 per accident in the event of a death in an accident.
  • Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, North and South Dakota: Also have underinsured motorist insurance in addition to uninsured motorist.

What types of car insurance are mandatory?

Several types of auto insurance coverage offer different protections in the event of an accident. How much coverage you will need depends on your state's requirements and your personal circumstances.

The table below quickly summarizes the main differences between the mandated types of car insurance.

Insurance coverage

Range of mandatory limits
Who and what it benefits

Bodily injury (BI) liability

$15,000 to $50,000 per person/$30,000 to $100,000 per accidentAnother driver's injuries

Property damage (PD) liability

$5,000 to $25,000 per accidentAnother driver's car or property damage

Uninsured/underinsured motorist BI

$20,000 to $50,000 per person/$40,000 to $100,000 per accidentYour injuries, if the other driver is not insured

Uninsured/underinsured motorist PD

$5,000 to $25,000 per accidentYour car damage, if the other driver is not insured

Personal injury protection (PIP)/Medical benefits

$1,000 to $50,000Your injuries and your passengers' injuries

Which states don't require car insurance?

Only a handful of states don't require drivers to carry car insurance.

  • New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, drivers only need to prove their ability to pay for damage following a car accident. There's no exact amount listed, but drivers who are compelled to get insurance must buy a policy with 25/50/25 limits, so you can expect the "financial responsibility" amount to be in that range. The state can force drivers to get insurance after a major violation such as a DUI or an accident.
  • Virginia: Virginia allows its residents to pay an "uninsured motorist fee" for about $500 per year. But choosing to pay this fee instead of getting insurance leaves you completely vulnerable in the event of an accident. Considering minimum car insurance would cost about the same amount as the fee for most drivers, Virginians should opt for minimum coverage.

Additionally, many states allow you to self-insure using a cash deposit or bond instead of carrying car insurance. However, the required deposit amount varies from $25,000 to over $115,000 and leaves you with little in the way of other protections — you're on your own to negotiate claims with other drivers, for example. We don't recommend this route for most drivers.

Should I get minimum-coverage or full-coverage auto insurance?

Drivers should carry the minimum coverage only when they cannot afford higher limits or have limited assets. Car crashes are expensive, and your out-of-pocket costs could be considerable without adequate insurance. The average hospital visit for a car crash costs $61,000, and 1 in 8 liability claims exceeds $1 million.

If you're in a serious car accident but have low insurance limits, another driver, pedestrian or property owner can go after your savings accounts, future earnings and other property to recover damages.

A rule of thumb with liability insurance: If you have more than $100,000 in assets and often engage in risky activities, you could benefit from purchasing an umbrella policy to further bolster your protection.

The benefits of full-coverage auto insurance

Full-coverage car insurance is minimum car insurance plus collision, comprehensive and PIP (if your state does not mandate it) coverage.

No states require drivers to carry collision or comprehensive coverage, but for those who can afford it, it may be well worth it.

None of the mandated coverages will reimburse you for damage to your own car that you cause yourself or that happens outside of an accident. So if you're at fault in an accident — or a branch lands on your windshield or a storm floods your neighborhood, for example — minimum car insurance will not protect your car.

If you have collision and comprehensive insurance, however, you can get reimbursed for damage those incidents cause. With the addition of collision and comprehensive, your policy could be more than double what it would cost with just minimum insurance. But if you have a newer car and can afford it, we strongly recommend adding these coverages to your policy.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.