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.
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.