How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?

When you're buying car insurance, there are several different customizations you can make and additional coverage to choose from—but what do you actually need?

Tina Chang
Updated 7 July 2022
How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?
Sections on this page
  1. State Minimum Car Insurance Coverage
  2. How Much Additional Car Insurance Coverage to Get
  3. Adjusting Your Deductibles
  4. Leased or Financed Vehicles

Getting a car insurance quote starts easy, but once you get into the nitty-gritty of it, it can get confusing. Not only do you need to choose how much you want to be covered for, but you can adjust your deductible and add on extra coverage options.

So how much car insurance do you actually need? We explain how to decide what you need and don't need.

State Minimum Car Insurance Coverage

The first thing to look at when deciding how much car insurance coverage you need is what you're legally required to have. Each state has its own minimum coverage requirements, except for New Hampshire and Virginia.

State Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Property Damage Liability Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Alabama $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Alaska $50,000/$100,000 $25,000 n/a
Arizona $25,000/$50,000 $15,000 n/a
Arkansas $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
California $15,000/$30,000 $5,000 n/a
Colorado $25,000/$50,000 $15,000 n/a
Connecticut $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Delaware $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 n/a
Florida n/a $10,000 n/a
Georgia $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Hawaii $20,000/$40,000 $10,000 n/a
Idaho $25,000/$50,000 $15,000 n/a
Illinois $25,000/$50,000 $20,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Indiana $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Iowa $20,000/$40,000 $15,000 n/a
Kansas $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Kentucky $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Louisiana $15,000/$30,000 $25,000 n/a
Maine $50,000/$100,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $50,000/$100,000
Maryland $30,000/$60,000 $15,000 Bodily injury liability: $30,000/$60,000

Property damage liability: $15,000
Massachusetts $20,000/$40,000 $5,000 Bodily injury liability: $20,000/$40,000
Michigan $50,000/$100,000 $10,000 n/a
Minnesota $30,000/$60,000 $10,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Mississippi $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Missouri $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Montana $25,000/$50,000 $20,000 n/a
Nebraska $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Nevada $25,000/$50,000 $20,000 n/a
New Hampshire $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000

Property damage liability: $25,000
New Jersey $15,000/$30,000 $5,000 Bodily injury liability: $15,000/$30,000
New Mexico $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 n/a
New York $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
North Carolina


$25,000 Bodily injury liability: $30,000/$60,000

Property damage liability: $25,000
North Dakota $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Ohio $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Oklahoma $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
Oregon $25,000/$50,000 $20,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Pennsylvania $15,000/$30,000 $5,000 n/a
Rhode Island $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 n/a
South Carolina $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000

Property damage liability: $25,000
South Dakota $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Tennessee $25,000/$50,000 $15,000 n/a
Texas $30,000/$60,000 $25,000 n/a
Utah $25,000/$65,000 $15,000 n/a
Vermont $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 Bodily injury liability: $50,000/$100,000

Property damage liability: $10,000
Virginia $30,000/$60,000 $20,000 Bodily injury liability: $30,000/$60,000

Property damage liability: $20,000


$10,000 n/a
Washington, D.C. $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000

Property damage liability: $5,000
West Virginia $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000

Property damage liability: $25,000
Wisconsin $25,000/$50,000 $10,000 Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
Wyoming $25,000/$50,000 $20,000 n/a

Car insurance companies should be able to tell you the minimum coverage you need depending on your state. Most states require minimums for bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. Some may also require personal injury protection.

What If I Don't Have Minimum Coverage?

If you fail to have a sufficient car insurance policy as required by your state, you risk being fined, having your driver's license suspended, and having your car impounded.

How Much Additional Car Insurance Coverage to Get

In addition to the car insurance coverage required by your state, there are several other add-ons you can choose to further protect you in case of an accident, theft, damage, or other incidents.

As already mentioned, most states have minimum requirements for:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage
  • Property damage liability coverage

These two pay for costs involved when you're responsible for an accident. Bodily injury liability coverage kicks in when you're legally responsible for another person's injury (or death). It includes covering your legal fees, court costs, and bail bonds. Bodily injury liability insurance has two limits—a maximum that each individual can receive and a maximum for all eligible people involved in the accident combined.

Property damage liability coverage helps pay for property damage (e.g., a car, fence, etc.) you're responsible for. Like bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability also helps pay for any legal expenses related to the damage/accident.

How Do I Lower My Monthly Premium?

Several ways to lower your monthly car insurance cost include bundling your other insurance policies, completing a defensive driving course, and notifying your insurance company if you're a student or a military member.

Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Some states may also require these two types of coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. These two types of car insurance coverages help pay when the injury/death or damage is caused by a hit-and-run motorist or someone that does not have sufficient car insurance coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage

This type of car insurance coverage pays for hospital, medical, dental, and funeral expenses if

  • You, your passengers, or your household relatives are injured in a motor vehicle accident
  • You or relatives in your household are injured in other vehicles
  • You or relatives in your household are injured as pedestrians

Medical payments coverage is beneficial if you don't have a good health insurance plan to help pay for these expenses.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection (PIP) is similar to medical payments coverage in that it provides coverage for you and any relatives living in the same household. However, personal injury protection covers both medical expenses and other expenses related that aren't medical, such as lost wages or paying for someone to assist you with tasks you can't do due to your injuries.

PIP may not be available to everyone. It's something you'd want to consider if even minor injuries will prevent you from going to work. For example, if you're a roofer and sprain your wrist, you'll be out of work until you recover. Personal injury protection will help cover lost wages due to a car accident.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive insurance pays for damage or loss to your vehicle caused by things like theft, vandalism, fire, severe weather (e.g., hail), and falling objects.

Comprehensive coverage is an excellent thing to have if you live in a location that's prone to severe weather like hail, strong winds, and floods. It's also a good idea if your vehicle is likely to be stolen or damaged.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage helps pays for damage or the complete loss of your vehicle when you're involved in an accident with another car or object.

In some cases, your insurance company may waive your deductible if you also have underinsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Collision coverage is a good idea for anyone, but especially for those who may be prone to accidents.

Rental Reimbursement

If your car is getting repaired or is declared a total loss after an accident, this will help you pay for a rental car. If you can go without a car for a while if your car is no longer available to you, then rental car reimbursement may not be necessary. But it's an excellent add-on if you can't do without a car.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance helps when you're stranded somewhere and need a tow, replacement battery, jumpstarting, or other help. It doesn't help you pay for repairs or parts but will help you get back on the road.

Roadside assistance is generally relatively cheap to add to your car insurance policy and a good thing to have. You never know when you'll be in a situation where you're stranded and need a tow, or you've accidentally left your lights on and need a jumpstart.

If you already have AAA, then you won't need to add this to your car insurance policy. Some new cars also come with roadside assistance included by the manufacturer.

Gap Insurance

Gap insurance is additional coverage you should consider if you have a brand new vehicle. You will only need to have gap insurance for the first couple of years of owning your car—beyond that, it's not worth it.

Gap insurance will help you pay off your loan or lease balance should your car be stolen or declared a total loss.

Adjusting Your Deductibles

How much car insurance coverage you decide on will also impact your deductibles and vice versa. Therefore, your car insurance policy cost will not only depend on how much coverage you have but what your deductibles are. Of course, an ideal situation would be to have the lowest deductibles possible, but that isn't doable for most people as lower deductibles drive up your monthly premiums.

There Are No Deductibles for Liability Coverage

There are no deductibles when it comes to liability coverage—the only thing you need to worry about there are the coverage limits.

Choose your deductibles based on your monthly budget and how prepared you are to pay them should you need to make a claim. For example, having a higher deductible may make your monthly premiums more manageable, but remember that's what you'll be paying out of pocket if you need to make a claim, which can be several hundred dollars in one go.

Leased or Financed Vehicles

If you lease your vehicle or have a car loan, make sure you're aware of any insurance requirements within your contract. Leasing companies especially have minimum coverage amounts, determining how much car insurance you need.

These usually include higher minimum liability insurance and property damage liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and maximum deductibles for comprehensive insurance and collision coverage.

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