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Legal Minimum Car Insurance Coverage by State

No one expects to get in a car accident, especially one that's their fault. Unfortunately, accidents happen.

That's why having car insurance can be valuable. Most states require drivers to buy a minimum amount of car insurance. This can help cover at least some car accident damages.

What Does Minimum Liability Insurance Mean?

Minimum liability coverage is your state's lowest required insurance amount. A minimum insurance law allows states to ensure that drivers have a basic level of protection against paying out of pocket for an accident.

State laws have specific rules for auto insurance policies, including:

  • Different types of coverage
  • Amount of coverage
  • Acceptable proof of insurance
  • Consequences of driving without insurance

If law enforcement pulls you over for a traffic violation, they'll likely ask to see your insurance card. Driving without valid or sufficient insurance may lead to penalties. This can include suspension of your driver's license or license plates.

Before you get on the road, ensure you have the right coverage and that your insurance policy is active. If your policy has expired or lapsed, you can only drive once you get active insurance. In many states, drivers must show proof of insurance during vehicle registration.

The Cost of Minimum Auto Insurance

States set the law, but auto insurance companies set the prices. Every driver needs coverage, but not all drivers pay the same cost. A policy can have more expensive insurance premiums for some drivers.

Many factors affect how much your insurance policy could cost. Your driving history is a big factor. Insurance agents may raise your car insurance rates if you have prior accidents or speeding tickets on your driving record.

Auto insurance adjusters calculate rates differently. That's why shopping for car insurance can help you find the least expensive insurance quote.

Should I buy extra car insurance?

Getting more insurance coverage can be a good idea. Many drivers carry an insurance policy with higher limits than the state requires.

Some drivers also choose to buy policies that cover more scenarios. For example, you might opt for uninsured motorist coverage. You might also seek comprehensive coverage to protect against vandalism and other losses.

A higher policy can offer more personal protection if you cause a car crash. An insurance provider only pays accident costs like bodily injury and property damage up to a policy's liability limit. The policyholder must pay out of pocket for the rest if the costs exceed that limit. If your policy is high enough to cover the total amount of an insurance claim, you would not be responsible for any costs (except your deductible).

The drawback of buying higher coverage is that the insurance premiums are more expensive. Paying higher monthly car insurance costs could be worthwhile, especially if you are ever at fault for an accident in the future. Medical bills and car repair expenses can add up.

Auto Insurance Coverage Resources in Every State

The chart below offers state government resources to explain the minimum car insurance coverage.


The Alabama Department of Revenue provides an online insurance law brochure. It explains the mandatory liability insurance.


The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles website offers information about mandatory insurance for motor vehicles.


The Arizona Department of Transportation website offers a Frequently Asked Questions section. It includes information about mandatory car insurance.


The Arkansas Insurance Department website provides information about mandatory automobile insurance in the Consumer Frequently Asked Questions section.


The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers information about car insurance coverage requirements.


The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies provides information about auto insurance.


The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles website provides an Insurance Compliance section.


The Delaware Department of Insurance provides an informative guide to auto insurance.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles offers information about the vehicle insurance coverage required by D.C.


The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website provides a section dedicated to questions and answers regarding vehicle insurance.


Georgia's Department of Insurance offers information about automobile insurance requirements.


The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website provides information about minimum car insurance coverage in its Motor Vehicle Insurance Information section.


The Idaho Department of Insurance website describes the state's auto coverage requirements.


The Illinois secretary of state provides information about mandatory insurance on its website.


The Indiana Department of Insurance website offers information about auto insurance.

Iowa The Iowa Insurance Division website describes minimum liability insurance requirements.

The Kansas Insurance Department website provides an introduction to auto insurance. It includes information about the coverage required.


Kentucky's Transportation Cabinet provides information about mandatory auto insurance on its website.


The Louisiana Department of Insurance offers a Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance.


Maine's Bureau of Insurance provides a set of consumer guides for auto insurance and tips for buying insurance.


The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website provides information about insurance requirements for vehicles.


The Massachusetts attorney general's website provides information to help you understand auto insurance.


The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services website provides information about car insurance requirements.


The Minnesota Department of Commerce website offers a page on auto insurance.


Mississippi's Insurance Department provides information about auto insurance. It includes what the law requires.


The Missouri Department of Insurance dedicates a section of its website to automobile insurance.


The Montana Motor Vehicle Division website explains its minimum insurance law for motor vehicles.


The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles offers information about car insurance requirements.


The Nevada Division of Insurance website explains the state's car insurance requirements.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire laws do not require car insurance. Drivers must instead meet financial responsibility requirements for "at-fault" accidents.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website provides information about car insurance requirements.

New Mexico

New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Division provides information related to car insurance requirements.

New York

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on car insurance requirements.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles website provides a Liability Insurance Help section. It includes information about the liability requirements for car insurance.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Insurance Department provides information about car insurance requirements.


The Ohio Department of Insurance provides a guide to auto insurance.


The Oklahoma Insurance Department website includes helpful information about purchasing auto insurance.


Oregon's Department of Motor Vehicles provides information about the state's car insurance requirements.


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation explains how drivers can follow financial responsibility laws with auto insurance.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation provides the Consumers Guide to Auto Insurance.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Insurance provides information related to automobile insurance.

South Dakota

The South Dakota Division of Insurance provides information about mandatory automobile insurance.


The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance provides information about auto insurance.


The Texas Department of Insurance offers information about car insurance on its website.


The Utah Insurance Department website has a section dedicated to auto insurance.


The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation offers a Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance.


The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles provides information about car insurance requirements.


The Washington State Department of Licensing offers information about mandatory insurance.

West Virginia

West Virginia's Division of Motor Vehicles offers information about the mandatory insurance requirements.


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides information on the minimum insurance requirements.


The Wyoming Department of Insurance website offers information and tips for buying required auto insurance.

Talk to a Lawyer About a Car Insurance Issue

If you have any questions about the car insurance required in your state, you may want to contact a local traffic ticket attorney.

For more information and resources related to state-specific traffic laws, visit FindLaw's State Traffic Laws section.

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