All states, other than Virginia, require resident drivers to have a minimum amount of vehicle insurance coverage (known as compulsory insurance). In Virginia, if residents choose not to carry insurance, they must pay the state a $500 annual fee per vehicle. These specific requirements vary state by state. For specifics regarding your state insurance requirements, use the map located on the navigation bar to select your state of residence.
Some States also have no-fault insurance laws, which mean that each driver’s insurance company is responsible for damage sustained by that policyholder in the event of an accident, regardless of who is found to be legally at-fault.
It is important to note that state insurance requirements are not intended to be recommendations of insurance coverage. If you’ve ever paid an auto-body repair bill, you have a good idea at how expensive repairing a vehicle’s body can be. Imagine being involved in a severe accident involving total vehicle damage as well as personal injury. It’s easy to understand how quickly the costs could add up and how inadequate many state’s minimum requirements would be.
So why are state auto insurance requirements so low? In many instances, it is due to the legislative process. The process to enact a law can take many years and in some instances, by the time the law is in force, the rates mandated in the law are already outdated. Many laws were not executed with an inflation clause that would increase the minimum requirements. As costs rise over time, the minimum requirements remain the same, resulting in under-insured motorists (even though the driver has met the minimum requirement). Legislators also needed to factor in that many of lowest income constituents cannot pay for a full-feature policy and so rather than enacting legislature that would be out-of-reach for many (and therefore likely not complied with), they enacted laws that their citizens could comply with.
Only you can decide what the right level of coverage is, whether it is the state minimum or something more comprehensive. Use the state minimum as a starting point and add coverage from there. The right policy is usually a balance between maximum coverage at a price that you can afford. If after deciding on a policy, you find yourself worrying about being under-insured or upset about paying for features you don’t ever think you’ll use, then you can always alter your policy. Be sure to check with the insurance company about their change policies before you enter into a contract.
Visit our state pages for more information on your specific state.