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State by State Insurance Comparison of Auto Insurance Requirements

If you are new to the world of car insurance and are having trouble navigating the dos and don’ts that come with everything you read, here is a state by state insurance comparison that should help you understand the requirements in your state; or what you need to find out.

Although you might expect most states to have similar insurance requirements, in actuality, they are quite different.

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You also need to understand the difference between the minimum state requirements and the recommended minimum coverage amounts you should carry to avoid a potential financial disaster should you ever be involved in an accident. Before you hit the road, take some time to learn your state’s minimum insurance requirements and make sure you have enough coverage by law.

If you are just purchasing your first car and do not have insurance, knowing your state’s requirements will help you to budget for the amount and types of insurance you will need to have.

Next, once you know your state’s minimum coverage requirements, you then need to carefully determine how much more coverage you may need to protect yourself in the event of an accident. With this comes the need to determine what you can and cannot afford to have as part of your policy.

State by State Comparison of Basic Insurance Requirements

Basic auto insurance requirements are broken down into three numbers, like so: 25/50/20. The first two numbers stand for bodily injury coverage; the maximum amount each person can receive and the maximum total that can be paid out per claim. So, in this example, insurance would cover $25,000 per person with a maximum pay out for bodily injury of $50,000.

The third number stands for the total property damage liability coverage per accident. There are vast differences between states in terms of their minimum requirements for both bodily injury coverage amounts and property damage coverage amounts. In states with very low minimums you should definitely consider purchasing more than the minimum in order to be fully protected.

The following states have very low minimum insurance coverage requirements:

  • Ohio – 12.5/25/7.5
  • New Jersey – 15/30/5
  • California – 15/30/5
  • Delaware – 15/30/5
  • Pennsylvania – 15/30/5

On the opposite end of the spectrum, these states have much higher minimum requirements that you must make sure you meet in order to carry a legal amount of auto insurance. In these states you will have to pay a bit more to meet the basic requirements:

  • Alaska – 50-100-25
  • Maine – 50-100-25
  • North Carolina – 30/60/25
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When State Requirements are Too Low

In most states the minimum requirements for insurance are not enough to be certain you will be protected in the event of a serious accident, especially if you are found to be at fault. Once you exceed the amount of coverage you currently have through your insurance policy, you can be sued for additional bodily injury costs or property damage.

For this reason the Insurance Information Institute recommends that, to be safe, you should carry at least a ratio of 100/300 of bodily injury coverage, the most costly aspect of an accident if someone is badly injured. If you are concerned with the cost for this increase in coverage amounts, you might be surprised to know that once you purchase insurance, it actually does not cost a lot more to increase your coverage. A 100/300 coverage policy would actually not cost significantly more than a 30/50 policy.

Additional Requirements by State

There are a few other policies and requirements that are part of the law in some states but not others and will highly impact the cost of your car insurance. The first policy greatly impacting insurance is a no-fault law. In states where no-fault laws are in place your insurance is responsible to cover the medical bills of you and your passengers in the event of an accident regardless of who caused the accident. The purpose behind these laws is to keep insurance fraud rates down. Unfortunately, many people involved in accidents these days see dollar signs whether they are truly injured or not.

States with No Fault laws include:

  • Hawaii
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

There are two other requirements that some states have in place and others do not. These will impact the minimum level of insurance you must purchases in those states. Personal Injury Protection insurance is required in 16 states and Uninsured Motorist Protection is required in 20 states. These are additional policy types that must be purchased if you reside in any of the states they are required in.

Now that you know the basic requirements you are ready to begin getting quotes for the amount and types of insurance needed to drive in your state. Insurance can be costly. Know what you need and do not need and obtain several quotes from different companies before making a decision.

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