Do You Have to Have Car Insurance?

All states except New Hampshire require minimum liability car insurance, and lenders will require full coverage if you lease or finance a vehicle.
Written by Jessica Barrett
Edited by Kathleen Flear
Reviewed by Brice Regling
You have to have car insurance in almost every state—and driving without it can result in expensive fines, an immediate license suspension, and the potential for thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket accident costs.
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You have to have insurance—but you don’t have to have all the insurance. You must meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements but what you purchase beyond that is up to you.
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Yes—you have to have car insurance in most states

Liability insurance is mandatory in all states except
New Hampshire
, where you still must provide proof of financial responsibility. The minimum insurance requirements vary depending on where you live.
  • Many states require coverage limits of at least 25/50/25—that’s $25,000
    bodily injury liability
    per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000
    property damage liability
  • Some states require less and some more, but most experts recommend you purchase significantly more than the state minimum limits—ideally 100/300/100, but 50/100/50 is a good, affordable choice if you don’t have a lot of income or assets
Jerry makes finding the right car insurance easy. Answer a few questions about you, your driving history, and your vehicle and Jerry will find you the cheapest options.

Car insurance protects you from liability when you’re at fault

States require drivers to buy an auto insurance policy because requiring liability insurance across the board reduces personal injury lawsuits and out-of-pocket repair and medical expenses for individuals. 
When additional coverage, such as UM/UIM or PIP, is required, it’s usually to streamline coverage for medical bills after a car accident. 

Driving without insurance is illegal everywhere in the U.S. except New Hampshire—and even in those states, you can face serious consequences for causing an accident while uninsured.
While the exact penalties vary by state, here’s what you can expect if you can’t provide proof of insurance: 
  • Fines: Up to $5,000—even for a single offense
  • License suspension: Mandatory in most states for up to three years 
  • SR-22 requirement: Mandatory in most states 
  • Registration suspension: Mandatory in some states
  • Jail time: Mandatory in some states for up to a year
  • Vehicle impoundment: Optional in some states but mandatory for repeat offenders in
    North Dakota
If you have violations or
coverage lapses
on your driving record, expect higher premiums once you get your license back.

What if you can’t afford car insurance?

If you have little driving experience, multiple violations on your record, a lapse in coverage, or an SR-22 requirement, it can be difficult to find
affordable high-risk car insurance
. Likewise, if you’re looking for
low-income car insurance
, it can be tricky to find an affordable policy that offers enough coverage.
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To find the best insurance costs for the coverage you need, compare
auto insurance quotes
from at least three to five insurance companies. 
Jerry
can help you do this in less than a minute—you’ll get the most affordable rates from among more than 55 insurers across the country.
Choose your provider, adjust your coverage levels, and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re getting the best rate possible for the protection you need.
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FAQ

Is it illegal to drive without car insurance?

Yes. All states except New Hampshire require all drivers to purchase automobile insurance. If you drive without insurance coverage, you’re breaking the law.

What is the minimum car insurance coverage?

Minimum coverage varies depending on where you live. All states except New Hampshire require some level of liability coverage. Some states also require additional types of insurance coverage like PIP and/or uninsured motorist coverage.

What are the penalties for not having car insurance?

Minimum coverage varies depending on where you live. All states except New Hampshire require some level of liability coverage. Some states also require additional types of insurance coverage like PIP and/or uninsured motorist coverage.

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