Minimum Car Insurance Coverage

Minimum car insurance depends on what state you're living in. If you're moving to another state, you should check that state's DMV website for the minimum requirements.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 17, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Before moving to another state, check that state’s DMV website for the minimum auto insurance requirements
  • There is a certain equation in relation to insurance that you must consider
  • Either way, make sure to do your research since there are many types of auto insurance to choose from

So you’re moving to a new state, but you don’t know if your current car insurance meets the minimum car insurance requirements? If you don’t know what the minimum insurance requirements by the state are, you’re not ready to move or drive!

More importantly, how do you even find out what these requirements are or how to find them?

Compare car insurance quotes for all states with just your zip code now!

Where to Find Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

What is the minimum car insurance coverage? Most state motor vehicle departments (DMVs) have an online presence now and include the information regarding the minimum car insurance requirements right on their website for easy access.

The insurance policy comparison tool located on this website is also a great place to find this information as well as a place to compare different companies’ policies without having to visit every individual company page.

Each state will tell you what level of insurance is needed but sometimes it can be confusing so here’s a quick breakdown.

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How to Interpret Car Insurance Minimums

Let’s say your new requirement is to be 20/40/20. These numbers refer to liability coverage that pays for damage you cause to other people and property. Here is how it breaks down:

Bodily Injury Liability Limits – This coverage uses the first two numbers in the equation. The first number is the maximum amount each person can receive in an accident with the second being the total amount the company will pay for that type of claim per accident.

So in this scenario, two people could be paid $20,000 each for a total of $40,000. After that amount, any other victims may sue for further damages from you, the car owner.

Bodily injury coverage is strictly for the persons involved in an accident, not the vehicles, so choose wisely.

Property Damage – Property damage is the third number to the equation of minimum car insurance requirements. The third number refers to the total amount your insurance company will pay for property damages incurred in an accident.

This type of insurance is not always required by every state, but depending on the make, model, and age of your vehicle, any lenders or lien holders may require this to be added to your policy.

You will need to make sure to insure your vehicle for its full replacement value, because if your car is worth more or repairs cost more than the insurance coverage will pay, you will be stuck paying for the difference.

So in this above scenario, the insurance company will only pay $20,000 which could be a problem if your car costs more.

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Additional Coverage that May Be Required in State Minimum Car Insurance

Is state minimum insurance enough?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage –Some states have also started making this coverage a part of their minimum car insurance coverage. This type of insurance protects the policyholder if they are involved in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have the required insurance.

Even if the other driver isn’t as responsible as you, your car will still be fixed and your vehicle repaired.

Again make sure to cover your car’s full value in order to avoid being stuck with a hefty repair bill.

Comprehensive Coverage While most states do not require full comprehensive insurance on vehicles, you may wish to include comprehensive in your personal list of minimum car insurance coverage.

If your vehicle is financed, the lender will still want their money back even if the vehicle is totaled in an event other than a wreck. In fact, your lender will probably require that you carry collision and comprehensive coverage, even if your state does not.

Events covered by comprehensive insurance could include theft, fire, or flood. It would be a good idea to see if acts of nature may be a serious concern in the area you are moving to.

While sometimes pricey, comprehensive insurance will protect you even in situations where you are not in control and you can select a higher deductible to help keep the premiums lower.

Get Started and Save on Minimum Car Insurance Rates


Ok, let’s recap. When moving, knowing the minimum car insurance requirements of your destination is a must.

So do your homework and know the ratio of minimum coverage and then talk to your insurance company to make sure you are protected. State DMV websites and the independent insurance comparison tool located here are great sources for this type of information.

Also, if the insurance company’s rate seems to be too high, shop and compare rates. There are a lot of insurance companies and you may get lucky and find a cheaper rate for your vehicle.

Type your zip code into the free quote tool and compare minimum car insurance rates today!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State