What Is the Legal Minimal Coverage You Need for a Vehicle?

Are you curious about the minimum car insurance coverage requirements in your state? Do you want to know how your state’s requirements differ from other states? Getting up-to-date information about mandated types of auto insurance coverage in your state is easy, and we’ll show you how.

 Responsible drivers should, of course, remember that the bare minimum is just that. Most people greatly benefit from acquiring further coverage.

 What Types of Car Insurance Coverage Are Mandatory?

 Each state sets its own minimum car insurance coverage requirements — and they can change over time, so it’s vital to check regularly.

 All states require drivers to carry: 

  • Bodily injury liability insurance. This type of coverage pertains to injuries you or someone else driving your vehicle may cause. It covers medical treatment and lost wages. Bodily injury liability coverage can be “per person” or “per accident,” and each state sets its own minimum amount.
  • Property damage liability coverage. This type of insurance covers the cost of damages the insured driver causes to private or public property. Again, each state sets its own minimum amount. 

Many states also make it mandatory for drivers to have: 

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage. These types of insurance cover you and your passengers if your vehicle is involved in an accident, regardless of who is found to be at fault.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. When you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this type of coverage picks up the slack. It also applies to hit-and-run accidents, where you do not know who was responsible. 

States may allow drivers to provide the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with a sizeable cash deposit or a certificate of self-insurance in lieu of carrying insurance.  

How Can You Find Out What Your State’s Legally Mandated Car Insurance Coverage Is? 

Do you want to find out what types of car insurance coverage your state mandates and for which amounts? The easiest way to do this is to check your state’s DMV website.  

Avoid the need to find your own way to the correct page by simply Googling “[state] DMV minimum car insurance coverage” or “[state] mandatory car insurance coverage DMV”.  

Is Meeting Your State’s Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements Enough? 

Drivers are almost always better off with further coverage.  

In addition to bodily injury liability, property damage liability, personal injury protection, medical payments coverage, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, most people benefit from carrying: 

  • Collision coverage, which helps to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident (regardless of who was at fault).
  • Comprehensive coverage to protect you if your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in an act of nature.
  • Glass coverage to cover the costs of replacing a cracked or broken windshield. 

It is also important to note that drivers using their vehicles for commercial purposes need additional coverage, as their personal policies do not cover commercial use. 

People financing their car should know that lenders have their own coverage requirements. It’s in their best interest to make sure the vehicle is protected while you’re paying it off, after all! 

Consider your situation carefully, and remember that scraping by with the bare minimum is rarely a good idea. If you’re looking to lower your coverage costs, it’s better to shop around for insurers or explore possible discounts than to reduce your coverage.