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Auto Insurance Laws by State: Requirements, Recommendations & Penalties

Before you begin shopping for car insurance, it's important to understand the coverage you're legally required to have—and every state is different. In most places, drivers are required to hold certain levels of coverage for physical and property damage they cause others, but that's not always all. Many states go beyond that, with requirements such as personal injury protection, medical payments coverage, and liability for uninsured motorists.

But those aren't your only options. Beyond what's required, additional coverage can be added to your plan to take care of nearly any accident or incident that could happen. You can protect the parts of your car with options like collision and comprehensive coverage, get easy roadside assistance with towing and labor, or make sure you always have transportation with rental car reimbursement.

Do you know what you need?

Click on your state to find what's required as well as get recommendations for added policies to keep you, your car, and your wallet safe.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Alabama has a lot of things, but the highest percentage of drivers with insurance isn't one of them. In fact, the number of uninsured drivers is quite a bit above the national average, with an estimated 18.4% compared to 13. Because of that, adding uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for damage should you get hit by a driver without insurance.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders could see a fine of up to $500, vehicle impoundment, a 45-day suspension of their registration, a $200 reinstatement fee, and possibly up to 3 months of jail time. Subsequent offenders could face a $1,000 fine, 4-month registration suspension, a $400 reinstatement fee, and 6 months in jail.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident

But there's an exception to this rule: In certain rural locations that don't mandate vehicle registration, insurance isn't required. You can check with the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles to verify the laws in your area.

Recommended add-ons:

Due to rugged terrain, rough winters, and high levels of seismic activity—Alaska has more earthquakes than any other U.S. statecollision and comprehensive insurance are strongly recommended. Alaska also has the highest rate of vehicle theft per capita, so if you're concerned about your car being stolen, comprehensive coverage can offer peace of mind that your replacement will be covered in the event that it happens.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $500 for each violation, as well as a 90-day license suspension for the first offense, 1-year suspension for the second offense, and 3 years if you're found to be at fault in an accident.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With weather that includes sudden dust storms and flash floods that can make driving conditions dangerous, it's a good idea to protect your car with collision and comprehensive insurance. In Arizona, having comprehensive coverage could also make you eligible to receive windshield repair or replacement without having to pay toward your deductible.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

For the first offense, you could receive a $500 fine and suspension of your license and registration for 3 months. Second-time offenders face a $750 fine and 6-month suspension, while subsequent violations come with a fine of $1,000 and a yearlong suspension.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Since liability insurance is only intended to cover the damage you caused to other drivers and their passengers, purchasing personal injury protection is a smart move in case you or your passengers get hurt in an accident you caused. In Arkansas, PIP can help you cover up to 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages if you end up missing work due to injuries.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and up to $1,000 for any subsequent violations. Registration suspension and reinstatement fees apply, as does vehicle impoundment if you were involved in an accident. You could face up a year of jail time if you're caught driving without insurance 3 or more times.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $5,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

California has some of the highest rates of both vehicle theft and earthquakes in the country, on top of being one of the states that's most at risk for wildfires. Comprehensive insurance can help coverage the cost of replacing a stolen vehicle or repairing damage caused by natural disasters, extreme weather, fire, and flooding.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine and penalty assessment of up to a total of $700 for the first offense and up to $1,800 for the second. You might be subject to suspension of your license and registration, vehicle impoundment, and towing and storing fees.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

The requirements for car insurance in Colorado are pretty standard compared to other states, but it's always recommended to buy as much protection as you can afford. With additional comprehensive and collision insurance, you'll be covered for damage to yourself and your car if you end up causing an accident. For Coloradans who love the great outdoors, medical payments coverage can add additional protection if you're hit by a car while walking, running, or biking.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of at least $500 for your first offense and suspension of your license and registration until you can provide proof of insurance. Subsequent violations come with a fine of at least $1,000, license suspension for up to 8 months, roughly 40 hours of community service, and jail time for anywhere from 10 days to a year.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Connecticut is a state with a higher than average percentage of alcohol-related accidents, so medical payments coverage can provide protection if you're injured while in someone else's car, need dental care after an accident, or require healthcare for an extended length of time. Comprehensive coverage can round out your plan to cover non-collision events, as well as pay for windshield repair or replacement without you contributing toward your deductible.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $500, suspension of your license and registration, and up to 3 months of jail time.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

According to a recent study conducted by WalletHub, Delaware has one of the fewest number of auto repair shops per capita in the country. Should you get into an accident and need repairs, towing can quickly get pricey—especially if you need to travel a long way to get to a shop. Towing and labor coverage is an inexpensive add-on that can help you take the first steps toward getting back on the road.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

Suspension of your driver's license for 6 months and a fine of at least $1,500 for the first offense and $3,000 for later violations.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident

Recommended add-ons:

Unlike every other state, Florida doesn't require bodily injury liability, though it's not recommended to reject it. Though Florida's a no-fault state, meaning there are limits on a person's right to sue the at-fault driver of accident, you can still be sued if you caused an accident that resulted in serious injury or death. Having bodily liability insurance can help you cover the costs of others' medical fees, as well as your own legal representation, up to the limits of your plan.

It's also a good idea to consider purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Of all the states, Florida has by far the greatest number of uninsured drivers on the road—an estimated 26.7% or more than twice the national average. This type of policy can help pay for injury and property damage should you get into an accident with a driver who lacks coverage.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

Suspension of your driver's license and registration for up to 3 years and a fine of anywhere from $150 to $500.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident

Recommended add-ons:

Compared to other states, Georgia comes in nearly last on the list for issues such as speeding and drunk driving. However, the state has a higher than average percentage of pedestrians and cyclists who get hit by cars. In the unfortunate event that this happens, medical and funeral coverage can offer added financial protection for yourself and your family.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

Suspension of your license and registration for 60 days for the first offense, 90 days for the second, and 6 months for any future violations. Depending on the circumstances, you could serve up to a year in jail regardless of how many offenses you have.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $20,000 per person/$40,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $10,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

Unlike other states that require personal injury protection, Hawaii's PIP plans don't automatically include coverage for lost wages and funeral fees. Purchasing this added coverage can bring financial peace of mind should you or one of your passengers get hurt. Insurance policies in the Aloha State also offer alternative care coverage if you're interested in methods such as naturopathy and acupuncture.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders face a fine of $500 or at least 75 hours of community service, as well as up to a 3-month suspension of their license. If you have multiple violations, you could be forced to pay between $1,500 and $5,000, complete at least 200 hours of community service, lose your license for up to a year, and spend up to a month in jail.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Among the states, Idaho ranks high for its quality of infrastructure, low level of traffic congestion, and smaller than average percentage of uninsured drivers. These factors combined make the state a fairly safe place for drivers, however, accidents still do happen. You can cover your bases by adding collision and comprehensive insurance, which provides protection to your car if you cause an accident or suffer damage due to extreme weather, natural disasters, vandalism, or theft.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

Fines and fees totaling more than $200 for the first offense, along with suspension of your license until proof of insurance is provided. Subsequent offenders could face up to $1,000 and 6 months of jail time.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With winter storms that produce more damage than any other weather event in Illinois, it's highly recommended to buy additional collision and comprehensive insurance to cover the effects of any accidents or other incidents caused by weather. Towing and labor coverage can also come in handy if you find yourself stuck in snow on the side of the road.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $1,000 (or up to $3,500 if you've been convicted twice and involved in an accident), license and registration suspension for several months, and a $100 reinstatement fee.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

In Indiana, all insurance policies must offer uninsured/underinsured motorist liability, and while you have the option to deny it, that's not recommended. Having this added coverage can help you avoid heavy bills for yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle should you get hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance, or you're involved in a hit-and-run.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A 90-day license suspension and $250 reinstatement fee for the first offense, and a 1-year suspension and increased fees with each subsequent violation.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $20,000 per person/$40,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Iowa has some of the lowest requirements for auto insurance in the country, but that doesn't mean you should simply buy the minimum levels of coverage. Comprehensive and collision insurance are 2 of the most popular add-ons to protect yourself and your car, while medical payments coverage can fill financial gaps in your health insurance if need dental care after an accident or you're hit by a car while walking, biking, or cycling.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

If you're caught driving without insurance, but weren't involved in an accident, you could face a $250 fine or community service, as well as either vehicle impoundment or the removal of your registration and license plates. If you're caught without insurance after an accident, you'll be charged $250 and could have your license and registration for every vehicle under your name suspended for 12 months.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $4,500 per person for medical expenses/$4,500 per person for rehabilitation expenses/$2,000 for funeral-burial-cremation expenses/$900 a month for 1 year of disability or loss of income/$25 per day for 1 year of in-home services
Recommended add-ons:

There's a reason the middle of the country is nicknamed Tornado Alley, and Kansas is right at the center of it. Aside from Texas, the state gets more tornadoes than any other, with an average of nearly 100 a year. These weather events can cause some serious damage to your vehicle, so it's best to be prepared. Comprehensive insurance can cover the repair of broken windshields, smashed headlights, and damage due to falling objects.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

For a first offense, you could be fined between $300 and $1,000, get up to 6 months in jail, and have your license and registration suspended until you provide proof of insurance. Fines can go up to $2,500 for repeat violations, with jail time of up to 2 years.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

In general, Kentucky operates on the no-fault system, meaning there's a limit on a person's right to sue the at-fault driver of an accident unless the damage they caused was severe. The Bluegrass State allows you the option to deny this no-fault coverage, though keep in mind that limiting other's drivers' right to sue you means you're limited as well. With either option you choose, the state still recommends that you purchase personal injury protection of at least $10,000. If you opt to decline no-fault coverage, you'll need to have guest PIP for any passengers in your car who aren't on your plan.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders could be slapped with a fine of at least $500, 90 days of jail time, and registration suspension for up to a year. If you're caught again within a 5-year period, you could face up to a $2,500 fine, 180 days in jail, and a 2-year suspension, depending on the number of the offense.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Facing elements that include tropical storms and hurricanes, Louisiana residents are some of the most at-risk for vehicle damage due to extreme weather. For this reason, it's a good idea to include comprehensive coverage on your insurance plan, which can help pay for repair or replacement if you're vehicle gets damaged by wind, water, or falling objects.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of between $500 and $1,000, license and registration suspension, vehicle impoundment, and fees for reinstatement, storage, and wreckage. You'll also be banned from claiming any losses due to a collision.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident
  • Medical payments coverage
  • $2,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

With rugged coastlines, dense forests, and winters covered with snow and ice, Maine brings its fair share of challenges to drivers. Though the Pine Tree State already has some of the highest insurance requirements in the country, a collision policy can offer added protection, especially since statistics show that Maine's roads continue to get more dangerous.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

You'll face a fine of between $100 and $500 for each offense, suspension of your license and registration until you can provide proof of insurance, and reinstatement fees of over $100. If you fail to surrender your license and registration after they've been suspended, you can be hit with an additional $2,000 fine and 6 months of jail time.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $2,500 per person
Recommended add-ons:

Due to factors such as rush hour congestion and infrastructure, Maryland has been named among the top 10 worst states in which to drive. The state already has strict requirements for car insurance, but additional collision coverage is a good idea should you ding someone car's while driving to or from work. Your property liability will cover any damage you caused to them, while collision coverage can help repair or replace parts of your own car.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 for any subsequent violations. Your license will likely be suspended, and you could face up to a year in jail if you provide false evidence of insurance.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $20,000 per person/$40,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $5,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability
  • $20,000 per person/$40,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $8,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

Listed by WalletHub as one of the worst states to drive in, Massachusetts ranks dead last for overall infrastructure and traffic. With one of the highest percentages of rush hour congestion, collision coverage is recommended for added protection in the event that you're involved in an accident on your commute. Should you be the one at-fault, your liability insurance will cover the damage you caused to another's person car, but collision insurance is there to protect you and your vehicle.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders will face a fine of $500, driver's license and registration suspension for 60 days, and another $500 to reinstate. Subsequent violators could pay up to $5,000, with suspension for 1 year. Depending on the circumstances, jail time of up to a year is also possible.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $20,000 per person/$40,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability (out of state)
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Property protection (in state)
  • $1,000,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • No limit
Recommended add-ons:

With an estimated 20% of drivers being uninsured, Michigan poses a greater risk than average for getting hit by someone without coverage. In the unfortunate event that this happens, having uninsured/underinsured motorist liability will bring financial relief, especially since Michigan puts limits on your right to sue after an accident. The required coverage also doesn't pay for any damage to your car, so you'll want to consider collision insurance as well.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $1,000, license suspension for up to 30 days, a $125 reinstatement fee, and up to 1 year of jail time.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $20,000 per person for medical coverage/$20,000 per person for economic losses
Recommended add-ons:

Like much of the Midwest, Minnesota experiences a high level of snow and ice during the winter, though the state might just get it worse than any of the others. (Think up to 170 inches of snow in certain parts of the north.) Because of this, you might consider adding collision and comprehensive coverage, which are there to cover repairs if you cause an accident due to rough roads or you experience damage due to the weather.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

For the first and second offenses, you could face a fine of up to $1,000 or community service, and a 30-day suspension of your license, registration, and plates. Fines can be as high as $3,000 for any subsequent violations, with suspension for up to a year and possibly 90 days of jail time.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Mississippi is second in the nation for the percentage of uninsured drivers, coming in at an estimated 24%. For this reason, it's a good idea to include uninsured/underinsured motorist liability, which lets you submit a claim through our own insurance if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have the coverage to pay the necessary fees for medical care or repairs. What's more, Mississippi's tropical storms and hurricanes pose a greater risk for weather-related damage than many other states. Comprehensive coverage can get you back on the road if you need repairs or replacement due to extreme weather.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $500 and license suspension for up to a year.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability (bodily injury)
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With worse than average statistics in categories such as speeding, safety devices, and fatality rates, Missouri consistently finds itself among the top 10 states with the worst drivers behind the wheel. Any policies you can add to protect yourself are a smart idea, including collision, comprehensive, and medical payments coverage. In Missouri, comprehensive insurance also covers window repair or replacement without requiring that you pay towards your deductible.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders will have their driver's license, registration, and license plates suspended until proof of insurance can be provided. A minimal reinstatement fee also applies. If you're caught a second time, you'll have to pay a fine of up to $500, be suspended for 90 days, pay a $200 reinstatement fee, and spend up to 15 days in jail. The same general penalties apply to third and subsequent offenses, with suspension increased to 1 year and double the reinstatement fee.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Year after year, Montana continues to be named one of the states with the worst drivers in America. While this is due to a number of factors, some of the biggest contributors include a large percentage of unlicensed drivers, failure to obey traffic laws, and a higher than average rate of alcohol-related incidents. For these reasons, consider adding any and all extra protection you can afford. In Montana, most companies offer collision and comprehensive insurance, medical payments coverage, and uninsured motorist liability.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

You'll have to pay a fine of up to $500 for any offense. You could face up to 6 months of registration suspension for subsequent violations, up to 10 days in jail for the second or third offense, and up to 6 months for the fourth or more.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

All in all, Nebraska proves to be one of the safest states for drivers, with low rates of speeding, traffic congestion, and uninsured drivers. However, accidents still do happen, and having insurance that's above the minimum requirements can bring you added peace of mind. Collision and comprehensive insurance round out your plan to make it more full coverage, while towing and labor can quickly get you back on the road if you need emergency maintenance or repairs.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

Suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance can be provided, and reinstatement fees of $50 for each.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Sitting at #3 in the country for the rates of auto theft per capita, Nevada is the perfect place to purchase comprehensive insurance since it covers repair and replacement due to vandalism or theft. The Silver State also lands among the top 10 for accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. Should you get hit while walking, running, or biking, medical payments coverage is there to help supplement the costs of your healthcare.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

Fines in Nevada are based on the length of time you've been uninsured. If it's been less than 30 days, you won't pay a fine, but your license will be suspended until you can provide proof that you've gotten insurance. Fines get bigger the longer you've been uninsured, going up to as high as $1,000. Reinstatement fees of between $251 and $751 apply, depending on the number of the violation.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage liability
  • $25,000 per person
  • Medical payments coverage
  • $1,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

Unlike any other state, New Hampshire drivers aren't required to buy insurance. But if you do choose to forgo coverage, you must provide proof that you have sufficient funds to pay for any damage you might cause. New Hampshire also gets some of the most rain and snow of any U.S. state, increasing the chances of an accident.For these reasons, it's highly recommended to purchase at least the minimum levels of liability insurance, as well as collision insurance to help you repair or replace your vehicle should an incident occur.    

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

If you drive without insurance and you cause an accident, you'll be financial responsible for any incident you cause. If there's been personal injury or damage of over $1,000, your driver's license, registration, and plates will be suspended until you've met certain requirements, such as paying the other party what you owe. You'll also need a pay a reinstatement fee of $100.

Required coverage (basic):
  • Property damage liability
  • $5,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $15,000 per person
Required coverage (standard):
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $5,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $15,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

New Jersey's most basic level of legal coverage is among the lowest in the nation, but it's not recommended for the typical driver. The basic policy is designed only for those who are just beginning to drive and can't afford more coverage, or those who have little-to-no other financial responsibilities. The standard policy is by far the better option, along with increased personal injury protection if you can afford it. With New Jersey's high rate of rush hour congestion—among the worst in the nation—collision coverage is also beneficial if you cause an accident while in heavy traffic.    

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders will have to pay a fine of up to $1,000, with an additional $750 paid over the course of 3 years. Your driver's license will be suspended for a full year, you'll have to complete a court-determined amount of community service, and your vehicle might be impounded. For second and subsequent offenses, you'll pay a fine of up to $5,000, with an added $750 spread over 3 years. Your driver's license will be suspended for 2 full years, you'll serve up to 180 hours of community service, and you could spend up to 14 days in jail.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Living in a state with the second-highest rate of auto theft per capita, New Mexico residents could find it useful to have comprehensive coverage should their vehicle get stolen or vandalized. New Mexico also has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country—an estimated 21% compared the national average of 13—so having uninsured motorist liability is incredibly beneficial if you're hit by a driver who lacks coverage.   

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $300, registration suspension or license plate confiscation, and up to 90 days in jail. If you fail to surrender your license plates or registration after they've been suspended, you could face a $1,000 fine and/or up to 6 months of jail time.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Death liability
  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability (bodily injury only)
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $50,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

You might not drive if you live in or around New York City, but those living further upstate are likely to experience dangerous driving conditions thanks to heavy rain, snow, and ice. In fact, on average, New York gets more days of snow per year than any other state, so it's best for drivers to be prepared. Collision coverage keeps you and your vehicle protected if you accidentally cause an incident due to weather.

But if you are looking for insurance in the city, consider adding comprehensive coverage. With high rates of theft and vandalism in Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs, this policy can pay for repair or replacement if you need it.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $1,500, vehicle impoundment, suspension of your driver's license and registration, a $750 reinstatement fee, and up to 15 days in jail.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Required coverage in North Carolina is fairly high and for good reason: Stats show drivers to be some of the worst in the nation, with higher than average rates of accidents caused by speeding and careless driving. Protect yourself with as much coverage as you can, with policies such as collision, comprehensive, and medical payments. Should you get into an accident and need to get repairs, towing and labor is an inexpensive add-on that can get you to a shop without a pricey bill.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders will face a $50 civil penalty, suspension of their registration for 30 days, a $50 reinstatement fee, and a 1–45-day probation. Civil penalties increase by $50 each for the second and third offense, and probation could be replaced with jail time.

Required coverage (basic):
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $30,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

With North Dakota's high rate of snowfall that can make driving conditions dangerous, comprehensive insurance is a great way to protect wallet and get your car back on the road if you cause an accident due to weather. Considering that the state also has some of the lowest numbers of auto repair shops per capita, towing and labor is another great add-on should you end up getting stranded while far away from a shop.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of between $150 and $1,000 for the first offense, with license suspension until proof of insurance is provided. Subsequent violations have fines of between $300 and $5,000, license suspension, and possible jail time of up to 30 days.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

All things considered, Ohio is a fairly safe state for drivers, with lower than average incidents of careless driving and speeding. That said, you can never be sure that you'll be fully safe on the road, so extra insurance can bring added peace of mind. Most companies in Ohio offer options including comprehensive and collision coverage, towing and labor, uninsured/underinsured motorist liability, and rental car coverage.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

There are no initial fines defined by the state, however, the court might impose a financial penalty depending on the circumstances. For the first offense, your license plates and registration will be suspended until you've provided proof of insurance and paid the reinstatement fee of $160. Suspension reinstatement fees are increased to 1 year and $360 for the second offense, and 2 years and $660 for any subsequent violations.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Though not the worst of all the states, Oklahoma has a higher than average number of incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists getting hit by cars. If you're active outdoors on a regular basis, consider adding medical payments coverage to your auto insurance plan. This can help supplement your medical costs if you or someone else on your plan gets hit by a car while walking, running, or biking.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $250, license and registration suspension for up to a year, vehicle impoundment, possible jail time of up to 30 days, and $575 for reinstatement and administrative fees.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability (bodily injury only)
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $15,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

According to recent data from the FBI, Oregon ranks fifth in the country for the number of auto thefts per capita. If you're worried about your car being stolen, consider adding comprehensive coverage. This policy not only helps you replace your vehicle, but repair it if it's damaged due to vandalism, fire, extreme weather, and other non-collision events.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

An initial fine of $260, plus an additional penalty between $130 and $1,000. Your license and registration will be suspended until you provide proof of insurance, or for a full year if you're involved in an accident. You'll need to provide verification that you've maintained your insurance once every month for 3 years.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $5,000 per incident
  • First-party medical benefits
  • $5,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

In a no-fault state such as Pennsylvania, your insurance company initially helps with the cost of your and your passenger's medical benefits after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. In PA, your first-party benefits can be used for standard medical treatments, hospitalization, nursing services, and more. However, keep in mind that not everything is covered. Depending on your financial and family situation, you might want additional benefits such as accidental death, funeral expenses, and income loss.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $300, license and registration suspension for 3 months, and nearly $200 in reinstatement fees. Your registration suspension can be waived if you opt to pay a fine of $500 instead.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With infrastructure that needs improvement along with a much higher rate of accidents caused by speeding, Rhode Island roads might not always be the safest place for drivers. If you're concerned about getting into an accident, coverage for towing and labor can help get you to a repair shop without paying a hefty bill. And even if you're a safe driver, things can happen on the road that we can't always predict. Collision coverage sees to it that you get the repairs you need if damage is done during an accident in which you're at fault.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders pay a fine of between $100 and $500, have their license and registration suspended for 3 months, and pay reinstatement fees totaling up to $685. Fines are set at $500 for second violations, with a 6-month suspension of license and registration. Third and subsequent offenses come with a fine of $1,000 and a yearlong suspension.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Uninsured property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With statistics including high rates of fatalities and drunk driving, South Carolina has drivers that are considered some of the worst in the country. If you want to ensure that you and your passengers are as covered as can be, consider add-on policies that include emergency roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and medical payments. While requirements in South Carolina include coverage for drivers who are uninsured, policies also exist for underinsured drivers if you want to make sure everything is covered.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

For the first offense, you'll pay a fine of $550, plus an additional $100–$200 or 30 days of jail time. Your license and registration will be suspended until you can provide proof of insurance and you'll need to pay a $200 reinstatement fee. If you're caught again within 10 years of the first violation, you'll pay additional fines and be subject to the same suspension of your license and registration. Any third or subsequent offense will earn you jail time of anywhere from 45 days to 6 months.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability (bodily injury only)
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Altogether, South Dakota is a fairly safe state to drive in, but one place it's lacking is its level of alcohol-influenced incidents. With rates that land it in the #3 spot in the nation, drivers need to be diligent in getting the protection they need. In South Dakota, benefits such as total disability, loss of income, and accidental death can protect yourself, your wallet, and the financial future of your family should a tragic event occur.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of between $100 and $500 and/or 30 days of jail time, license suspension for 30 days to 1 year, and a reinstatement fee of between $50 and $200.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With an estimated 20% of drivers hitting Tennessee roads without insurance, it's not worth it to risk your safety and finances to forgo the coverage that could protect you. That's why, with a percentage as large as that, it's highly recommended to purchase both types of uninsured motorist liabilities. These policies can pay for medical expenses or property damage if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $300 and license and registration suspension until you provide proof of insurance and retake the driver's test. Additional reinstatement fees also apply. If you're involved in an accident that resulted in bodily injury or death, you could face fines of up to $2,500 and jail time of 1 year.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

In a state prone to wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, Texas residents can find peace of mind knowing that their vehicles are covered by comprehensive insurance in the event of extreme weather and natural disasters. Unfortunately, Texas also has a high rate of instances of careless driving, resulting in an above average number of pedestrians and cyclists being hit by cars. Medical payments coverage can step in to help cover healthcare costs should one of these events occur, while uninsured motorist liability can provide protection against the 14% of Texan drivers who don't have insurance.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders with only traffic stop violations will pay a fine of between $175 and $300, plus an additional $750 over the course of 3 years. Subsequent traffic violations or convictions that involved a collision could come with a 3-month vehicle impoundment, $2,700 penalty, and license and registration suspension for up to 2 years. If you were involved in an accident that caused serious injury or death, you could face a fine of $4,000 and 1 year in jail.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$65,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $15,000 per incident
  • Personal injury protection
  • $3,000 per person
Recommended add-ons:

Winding roads through high mountains and low valleys can present their dangers, but perhaps one of the biggest challenges to driving in Utah is the snow and ice in the winter. Should you cause an accident because of dangerous driving conditions, collision coverage can take care of repairing your car. And if you're worried about being trapped out in bad weather—or even just running out of gas—emergency roadside assistance is also there to get you back up, running, and where you need to be.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $400 for your first offense and $1,000 for any subsequent violations. Your license and registration will be suspended until you can provide proof of insurance, or for up to 1 year if it's not your first offense. Reinstatement fees of $130 also apply.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

In a state known for its tranquil landscape, it might be a surprise to learn that Vermont has some of the country's highest rates of both speeding and drunk driving. In the event that your car is damaged due to one of these circumstances, emergency roadside service and rental car coverage could be incredibly handy. Vermont also experiences a large amount of rain, snow, and ice, which can make driving conditions dangerous. Collision insurance can help cover the cost of your car repairs if you cause an accident due to bad weather.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $600 and suspension of your license and registration until proof of insurance is provided.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

All in all, Virginia is a pretty safe state to drive in, with lower than average levels of dangerous weather conditions, rates of drunk driving, and overall fatalities. That said, speeding can sometimes be an issue in the Old Dominion. If driving a bit too fast gets you into an accident with another car or an object like a median or post, collision coverage can help pay for your repairs.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of $500, license and registration suspension until you can provide proof of insurance, and a reinstatement fee of $145.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

In a state known for its rainfall, slippery road conditions can lead to the occasional accident, even if you're being careful. Collision insurance can cover the cost of your repairs should you hit another car or an object like a fence or a tree. What's more, Washington has seen a large spike in traffic congestion in recent years, particularly in the western side of the state. Collision coverage can also come in handy if you get into a fender-bender during rush hour.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

You'll have to pay a fine of at least $450. If you were involved in an accident that caused personal injuries or property damage of at least $1,000, your license can be suspended for up to 3 years.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Uninsured property damage liability
  • $5,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

D.C. may be a city filled with lawmakers, but it seems not everyone is following the rules of the road. Unfortunately, the nation's capital comes in #1 for serious accidents involving speeding and drunk driving. Though D.C.'s requirements for insurance are fairly on par with the rest of the country, added protection in the form of medical payments coverage, emergency roadside service, and rental car coverage is recommended.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders pay a $500 fine and/or get their license suspended for 30 days. A reinstatement fee of $98 also applies. Fines increase by 50% for each subsequent violation and suspension goes up to 60 days.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Uninsured property damage liability
  • $25,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

While driving down the winding roads and descending highways of West Virginia, you're likely to encounter fog and precipitation that can make driving a little bit dangerous. In the event that you cause an accident, collision insurance, towing, and labor can give you the coverage you need to get back behind the wheel. The Mountain State also sees some of the highest amounts of snowfall a year, so you can rest assured that you're covered while traversing its peaks and valleys.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

For a first offense, you'll be charged a fine of $200, lose your license for 30 days, and have your registration suspended until you can provide proof of insurance. A $150 reinstatement fee also applies. For any subsequent offenses, you could be fined up to $5,000 and lose your license for 90 days. No matter the number of the offense, it's possible to serve jail time of anywhere between 15 days to a year instead of paying fines.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $10,000 per incident
  • Uninsured motorist liability (bodily injury only)
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

With winters that often brings high winds and blizzard conditions to Wisconsin, it's highly recommended to buy collision and comprehensive insurance to cover accidents or other incidents caused by weather. Collision insurance will protect your wallet if you cause an accident due to bad conditions, while comprehensive coverage can take care of repairs to broken windshields, damage from a falling tree, and more.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

A fine of up to $500, license suspension until you can provide proof of insurance, and a $60 reinstatement fee. If you're caught without insurance after being involved in an accident, your registration will also be suspended, and you'll need to pay an additional reinstatement fee. You could face a fine of up to $5,000 if you provide false evidence of insurance.

Required coverage:
  • Bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident
  • Property damage liability
  • $20,000 per incident
Recommended add-ons:

Low levels of traffic congestion, speeding, and drunk driving make Wyoming a pretty safe state in which to drive. However, winter weather brings a great deal of snow—on average, the second-highest amount of powder in the country. Even if you're a safe driver, rough roads can lead to accidents with vehicles, objects, and even animals. Collision and comprehensive insurance cover damage caused to your car, while towing and labor can bail you out if you're stuck in snow on the side of the road.

Potential penalty for not having insurance:

First-time offenders will be fined between $250 and $750, lose their license until proof of insurance is provided, pay a $50 reinstatement fee, and possibly serve time in jail for up to 6 months. Subsequent offenders face similar consequences, but with increased fines of up to $1,500 and an additional suspension of their registration and plates.

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