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Q

Do all states require car insurance?


A

No, all states do not require car insurance, but all require financial responsibility to operate a vehicle on the roadway.

Every state requires that you meet financial responsibility requirements through insurance, a bond or some other approved means that show you are able to pay if you cause damages to another person or property in an automobile accident. (See "Got $30,000 and hate car insurers?")

Each state renews its laws annually, so some states that had no insurance requirements in the past now do. New Hampshire probably has the least amount of requirements -- and it still requires that you immediately show proof of financial responsibility if you've been involved in a car accident.

If you choose to buy insurance, as most drivers do, all 50 states have different minimum insurance requirements.

Almost every state requires you to have bodily injury liability insurance to pay for the treatment of anyone you injure; other states operating under no-fault laws will you require that you carry personal injury protection to pay for your own injuries. You usually will be required to buy property damage liability insurance to repair the vehicles of anyone you hit.

State laws and minimum requirements vary greatly, and that has a huge effect on what you pay. You can see a comparison of rates from state to state -- as well as ZIP code to ZIP code -- in our Nosy Neighbor Car Insurance Tool.

In some states, drivers can't register a car without showing proof that they have liability insurance, while other states only require proof of insurance when upon request -- basically meaning when a driver has an accident or gets a ticket.

A few states allow drivers to pay a fee to register a car without insurance, though the fee does not exempt them from financial responsibility requirements. (See "Drive uninsured, legally, for $500.")

If traveling out of state, take your physical auto insurance card (or other proof of financial responsibility) and review your policy for any out-of-state policy limitations (such as only the named insured being covered) before hitting the road. 

Most policies will give you the same liability limits you currently carry while you’re out of state unless these do not meet the other state’s minimum limits.  If that is the case, typically your policy will automatically raise the limits to that state’s limits if you are in an accident. 

With this interactive car insurance map, you can click on any state and learn what is the basic minimum requirements are for that state.



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11 Responses to "Do all states require car insurance?"
  1. Visitor

    Great information. I like your interactive map, but would like to also see just a page that lists all states requirements. That way at a quick glance I could compare one state to another.

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  2. Visitor

    Overall it answered my question, but I would have preferred a listing of all the state's requirements rather than have the time-consuming necessity of clicking on each of the 50 states to see what the requirements are. I do LOVE being able to have this input! THAT gets a vote of 20!

      Reply»  
  3. Visitor

    If one carries insurance (liability, uninsured motorist, comprehensive, collision) it does not matter if they are hit by a motorist without insurance. Mandatory? No. BUT be responsible and make sure YOU are covered. If YOU are covered it does not matter what others do.

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  4. Visitor

    I think they should change the law to at fault insurance. You should pay for your own vehicles and injuries.

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    1. B January 17, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      If you have insurance from work use it.

        Reply »  
  5. Anonymous

    I would like to know where to find info about which states do and do not require automobile insurance. That would be nice...

      Reply»  
  6. Anonymous

    Texas doesnt require insurance if you can show responsability by depositing the amount that would be insured with the state or various other means. I think insureance shouldnt be required if you have enough money to pay any claims.

      Reply»  
  7. Anonymous

    I think it should be mandatory for all states to require drives to carry insurance. I have recently been in an accident. The girl that hit me had no insurance, she was driving a friends car (the friend did not have insurance on the car) and she, technically, did not have her drivers license. She totalled my 2005 Chevy truck. It has been a very frustrating ordeal. If the congressmen would just realize how important something like this is, they would require all 50 states to carry insurance, not just 48. If Wisconsin and New Hampshire do not require insurance, the penalities for the person without the insuarnce should be much more harsh so that a lesson is learned. The license should be taken away for a few years and proper reimbursement should be given to the party that does have the insurance.

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  8. Anonymous

    i wanted a list of states that do and states that dont

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  9. Anonymous

    More importantly some people do not believe in insurance, to me it's the biggest scam that dumb Americans fall for. To answer the question, which states actually check on you to have insurance, Wisconsin does not check you for any, I lived there for 20 years and had been driving w/out it for 5 years. A drunk hit me about a year ago, but he replaced my bumper no questions asked.

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  10. Anonymous

    What state(s) do/does not requre car insurance?

      Reply»