How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? (2024)

Unless you have a really old or inexpensive vehicle, you should consider purchasing more than liability-only coverage.

Aly J. Yale
Written byAly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale
  • National Association of Real Estate Editors member

  • Bylines include Forbes, Bankrate, and CBS News

Aly is a reporter specializing in real estate, mortgages, and personal finance. You can find her work in Hearst newspapers and numerous financial publications.

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Katie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark Friedlander
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

Updated April 22, 2024

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You need to know how much insurance your state requires before you buy a new car, switch insurers, or move to a different state. Most states have minimum insurance requirements, but you should also consider what coverage you realistically need when buying insurance. You should purchase enough coverage to adequately protect your finances in case of an at-fault accident.

If you’re wondering how much car insurance you should buy this year, here’s what you need to know before purchasing a policy.

Quick Facts
  • Only two states (New Hampshire and Virginia) don’t require a minimum amount of car insurance.

  • For full protection, you need to purchase more than your state’s minimum coverage.

  • Your car insurance premiums will depend on your location, driving habits, credit history, and other factors.

Is car insurance required?

Insurance laws in most states require drivers to have a minimum level of car insurance, but “two have loopholes,” says Ben Guttman, an insurance broker at North Central Insurance Agency.

New Hampshire law doesn’t require insurance, but you must prove you have sufficient funds to cover the costs of an accident if you cause one.[1] In Virginia, you can pay a $500 fee to avoid buying insurance.[2]

How you acquire your car also plays a role in insurance requirements. If you lease or finance your vehicle, your lender or leasing company will often require you to purchase comprehensive or collision coverage in addition to liability coverage.

You risk violating your lease, loan agreement, or state law by not having insurance. Depending on the state you live in, you could face hefty fines, license and registration suspension, community service, or vehicle impoundment for driving uninsured.

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Minimum car insurance requirements by state

Your state’s required liability insurance covers the costs of injuries or damage that you or another driver cause while using your car. Some states also require you to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage as well as uninsured motorist coverage — which protects you in the event of a wreck with an uninsured driver.[3]

New Hampshire and Virginia laws allow drivers to opt out of the minimum insurance requirements by proving financial responsibility in another way. See below to learn about your state’s minimum car insurance requirements.

StateMinimum Car Insurance Requirements
Alabama$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Alaska$50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Arizona$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Arkansas$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
California$15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $5,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Colorado$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Connecticut$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Delaware$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in personal injury protection
Florida$10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $10,000 in personal injury protection
Georgia$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Hawaii$20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $10,000 in personal injury protection
Idaho$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Illinois$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage
Indiana$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Iowa$20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Kansas$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Personal injury protection including: $4,500 per person for medical expenses, $900/month for one year for disability, $25/day for in-home services, $2,000 for final expenses, $4,500 for rehabilitation expenses. Survivor benefits ($900/month for one year of lost income plus $25/day for in-home services)
Kentucky$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Louisiana$15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Maine$50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $2,000 in medical payments coverage
Maryland$30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $15,000 per incident in uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage
Massachusetts$20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $5,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $8,000 in personal injury protection
Michigan$50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 property damage liability protection outside Michigan and $1 million within Michigan, $250,000 in personal injury protection (Medicaid and Medicare recipients may qualify for lower limits)
Minnesota$30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $40,000 in personal injury protection
Mississippi$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Missouri$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage
Montana$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Nebraska$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Nevada$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
New HampshireInsurance is not required in New Hampshire if you can meet financial responsibility requirements. If you do, you need to purchase the following minimum coverages: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $1,000 in medical payments coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
New JerseyAs of Jan. 1, 2023, New Jersey requires $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage coverage, $15,000 personal injury protection, and $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
New Mexico$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
New York$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in liability for death, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $50,000 in personal injury protection
North Carolina$30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage, $25,000 per accident in uninsured property damage coverage
North Dakota$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $30,000 in personal injury protection
Ohio$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Oklahoma$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Oregon$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage, $15,000 in personal injury protection
Pennsylvania$15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $5,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $5,000 in medical benefits
Rhode Island$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
South Carolina$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
South Dakota$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage
Tennessee$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Texas$30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Utah$25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $3,000 in personal injury protection
Vermont$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $10,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage
VirginiaDrivers have the option of paying a $500 fee or purchasing the following minimum coverages: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $20,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage
Washington$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Washington, D.C.$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, $5,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage
West Virginia$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage, $25,000 per accident in uninsured motorist property damage coverage
Wisconsin$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage
Wyoming$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage

What auto insurance coverages should you consider?

If your state requires car insurance, you need at least the minimum liability coverage, but you should consider purchasing coverage beyond that to receive more protection.

You can choose from a number of possible coverages. Here’s what you should know and when you might want to purchase them.

Liability insurance

Liability insurance typically includes bodily injury and property damage coverage. Bodily injury pays for the costs of any injury or death you cause, while property damage liability pays for damage you caused to other vehicles and physical property — like fences or buildings.

Common liability coverage options include 50/100/50 and 100/300/100. In these, the first number refers to bodily injury liability per person — so $50,000 or $100,000 for each person injured. The second number represents the total limit for all people injured in an accident ($100,000 or $300,000), and the third depicts the property damage limit ($50,000 or $100,000).

“When choosing limits for liability, you should consider your total personal net worth,” says Holly Carter, an insurance agent with COUNTRY Financial. “What do you have to protect if you were at fault in an accident? State minimum limits are rarely adequate.”

Learn More: What is a No-Fault State in Auto Insurance?

Learn More: What is a No-Fault State in Auto Insurance?

Collision insurance

Collision insurance covers damage to your car from an accident — either from colliding with another vehicle or some type of object such as a tree, fence, or light pole. It will help pay for the costs to repair your vehicle if you have a car accident, hit a tree or guardrail, or face damage from a pothole. This insurance typically makes sense to purchase with comprehensive insurance.

“If you lease or finance your vehicle, it will be required by the lender,” Guttman says. Even if it’s not, he says, “You should usually get it yourself because those are the coverages that protect you — not the other [driver].”

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive coverage also protects your vehicle. It covers the costs to repair or replace your car if it’s stolen or damaged in a fire, flood, hailstorm, other weather event, or act of vandalism.

States don’t require this coverage, but it protects you if you don’t have the cash to cover repairing or replacing your vehicle following damage.

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Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you have an accident with a driver without insurance — or at least without enough insurance to cover the damage. It can also cover you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run incident.

The following states require this type of coverage: Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. This requirement can make carrying the minimum amount of insurance more expensive in these states. Other states require insurers to offer UM/UIM, but allow drivers to opt out of buying it.

Personal injury protection

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage reimburses you for medical expenses if you or one of your passengers are injured in an accident. It can also reimburse you for lost wages if the injuries prevent you or your passengers from temporarily returning to work.

Several states require this type of coverage: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, and Utah.

Medical expenses (MedPay)

Medical expenses coverage — also called MedPay — resembles personal injury protection coverage, though it won’t cover the indirect costs of injuries, like lost wages. MedPay strictly covers the medical and funeral costs of people injured in a wreck. It’s only required in Kansas and Pennsylvania.

This coverage can vary quite a bit from one insurer to the next. Some, for example, may only reimburse your health insurance, while others limit coverage to medical expenses within the first year of the accident.

Gap insurance

Gap insurance applies when you total or badly damage your car. It covers the difference between what an insurance policy covers — the depreciated value of your car — and the remaining amount on your auto loan or lease.

No states require this insurance, but the Insurance Information Institute recommends getting it if you made a small down payment on your car (less than 20%), have a loan of five years or longer, or are leasing your car.[4]

Keep Reading: What is Gap Insurance and Do You Need It?

Keep Reading: What is Gap Insurance and Do You Need It?

Do you need full-coverage car insurance?

Full-coverage insurance typically includes liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance — coverages that protect both you and your vehicle in the event of an accident.

Selecting full coverage will result in higher premiums than your state’s minimum liability insurance, but it can also save you money in the event of injury or vehicle damage. If you injure someone else or damage another vehicle, it can help you cover those costs as well.

If you lease or finance a vehicle, your leasing company or lender will require you to have full coverage. And you might want to buy full coverage if you wouldn’t have the funds to repair or replace your car out of pocket if you have an accident.

What deductible should you choose?

When you make a claim, you need to pay your deductible before your insurance company covers any costs. Most drivers choose deductibles of $500 or $1,000, according to Guttman — meaning you’d need to pay for $500 or $1,000 of the repairs or medical bills. Your insurance would then cover the rest, up to your policy limits.

Lower deductibles typically come with higher premium costs, while higher deductibles result in lower premiums. You’ll want to look at your budget (and how much you have saved for an emergency) when choosing your deductible.[5]

“Don’t make it something you can’t afford in the event of a claim,” Guttman warns.

What level of car insurance should you buy?

You’ll generally want to have coverage that correlates with your risk of having an accident.[6] Whether you should purchase coverage beyond your state’s minimum requirements depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Your financial situation: You should think about how much money you have to cover the costs of car repairs, medical bills, and other expenses that could come from an accident.

  • How much and how far you drive: If you frequently drive your car long distances, you have a greater likelihood of getting in an accident simply due to the amount of time spent on the road.

  • Your vehicle type: Sports cars and newer model vehicles cost more to repair than cheaper or older models. These cars may also face greater risks as targets of theft.

  • Where you live and park: Some locations come with greater risks than others in regard to traffic, weather, and crime rates.

  • Your lender or leasing company: If you don’t own your car outright, your lender or leasing company will probably require additional insurance.

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Car insurance requirements FAQs

Car insurance can be complicated. If you’re still not sure how much insurance you need or what coverages to choose, take a look at the frequently asked questions below.

  • How much insurance should you put on your car?

    The amount of insurance you need depends on where you live. Many states have minimum car insurance laws and require at least some level of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. Others also require personal injury protection, uninsured motorist coverage, or medical payments coverage.

    Depending on your risk, financial stability, and other factors, you may want to purchase additional coverages like collision, comprehensive, and gap coverage.

  • When should you drop full coverage on your car?

    If you have an old car, you can consider dropping full coverage on your vehicle — specifically, comprehensive and collision insurance. Your deductible for an old car may exceed your car’s worth, making this coverage unnecessary.

    You can also drop coverage if you don’t drive your vehicle regularly or at all anymore because the chances of an accident decrease significantly.

  • What is a normal car insurance policy?

    Standard car insurance policies vary by state, as they depend on the legally required minimum coverage. Depending on your location and risk, you may need more coverage than these minimums to ensure full protection in case of an accident.

  • Is it cheaper to have three cars on insurance?

    Every vehicle you add to your car insurance policy will increase your premium, as it increases the risk that an accident can occur. The same goes for adding extra drivers.

    Fortunately, some insurance companies offer discounts for having multiple cars on a policy. You can also consider bundling your car insurance policy with other insurance policies you might have, as this often qualifies you for a discount as well.

Sources

  1. New Hampshire Insurance Department. "2022 Automobile Insurance Consumer Frequently Asked Questions."
  2. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. "Insurance Requirements."
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Auto insurance basics—understanding your coverage."
  4. Insurance Information Institute. "What is gap insurance?."
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Understanding your insurance deductibles."
  6. Insurance Information Institute. "8 questions to ask before buying auto insurance."
Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and reporter covering real estate, mortgages, and personal finance. Her work has been published in Forbes, Business Insider, Money, CBS News, US News & World Report, and The Miami Herald. She has a bachelor’s degree in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism from the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU and is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

Featured in

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

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