When driving a registered vehicle in the State of Indiana, insurance is required. According to Indiana Code 9-25-4-5, Indiana minimum car insurance requirements are:
- $25,000 to cover the potential bodily injury or death of another individual
- $50,000 to cover the potential bodily injury or the death of two or more individuals
- $10,000 to cover property damage liability
Each auto liability policy written in Indiana is also required to include coverage for both uninsured and under-insured motorists, unless formally rejected by the customer in writing upon installment of the insurance plan.
The minimum coverage requirements for uninsured motorists protection are:
- Uninsured Motorists Protection: Bodily Injury: $25,000/$50,000
- Property Damage: $10,000
- Under-Insured Motorists: Bodily Injury: $50,000
In the event of an accident with a driver who does not have adequate coverage, drivers in Indiana with uninsured and under-insured motorists protection receive payment from their own insurance companies to cover damages and bodily injury.
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Residents of Indiana may apply for a certificate of self-insurance and will be awarded a certificate at the discretion of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Under Indiana Code IC 9-25-4-11, the Bureau will determine whether the applicant possesses the ability to be solely responsible for the payment of any financial judgments made against her/him in the event of injury, death or property damage.
All motorists in Indiana must prove financial responsibility by meeting one of the following requirements under Indiana code IC 9-25-4-7:
- Have a documented motor vehicle liability insurance policy that is current and in full effect
- Have documented proof that a bond has been submitted in the form of personal insurance
- Have documented proof that a deposit of money or securities has been made
Required Proof of Insurance in Indiana
Operating a motor vehicle in Indiana without a valid insurance policy that meets the minimum liability requirements is against the law. Drivers may be asked to provide proof of insurance upon a traffic stop or after an accident has occurred.
According to Chapter 3 of the Indiana Drivers Manual, drivers are always required to provide proof of insurance in the following situations:
- They have been involved in an accident that has resulted in property damage amounting to at least $1,000, injury or death
- They have received their third traffic violation in one year
- They have committed a misdemeanor or felony traffic violation
- They have been previously suspended due to driving without viable insurance
If drivers are found to be in any of these situations, they will be mailed a proof of insurance request and must contact their insurance carrier to have a certificate of compliance sent to the BMV within 45 days. The certificate of compliance should prove that the driver had effective insurance on the day of the accident or occurrence. Those who fail to prove insurance coverage at the time of the accident or who do not get the certificate of compliance in to the Indiana BMV within 45 days will have their license suspended.
Any questions about insurance requirements in Indiana can be directed to the Department of Insurance:
Indiana State Department of Insurance
Office of Insurance Commissioner – Steve Robertson
311 W Washington St # 300
Obtaining a Driver’s License
According to Chapter 1 of the Indiana Drivers’ Manual, the following are requirements for getting a license in Indiana:
- Be of legal age
- Hold an Indiana learner’s permit for at least 180 days
- Complete at least 50 hours of supervised training with a licensed instructor, a licensed driver over the age of 25, or a spouse over the age of 21
- Complete at least 10 of the 50 hours practicing night driving
- Submit a log of the hours driven, signed by a parent or guardian (if applicant is a minor)
- Provide proof of your identity, social security number, residency in Indiana, and lawful status
- Take and pass a vision test
- Make a passing score on a written driving test
- Pass a physical driving skills test with a driver examiner of the BMV (Those who qualify for a waiver will not have to take the physical test.)
All residents of Indiana who are over 18 years of age should have a driver’s license in order to operate a motor vehicle. Those who are under 18 years of age are allowed to apply for a probationary driver’s license until they reach the legal age. In order to apply for a probationary license, drivers must be at least 16 years and 270 days old, without a driver’s education program or 16 years and 180 days old, with a driver’s education program. Drivers with probationary licenses have restricted driving privileges.
Indiana Driver’s Education:
All residents of Indiana may take a driver’s education program before applying for a license, but it is not a requirement. Young people are able to apply at an earlier age if they take a driver’s education course, and students may be able to waive the BMV driving skills test upon receiving a passing grade on a physical test at a licensed driver’s education center. Driver’s education courses focus on learning the rules of the road and physically practicing driving skills. Students will learn how to navigate traffic on the road, parallel park, come to a complete stop, and other necessary skills needed to drive safely and efficiently. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles also offers driver’s education centers at their offices. Here is a list of the location and hours of BMV offices in Indiana.
Applying for a Driver Education Waiver:
Residents of Indiana who enroll in an approved driver’s education course are often able to have their physical BMV driver’s test waived. If the BMV recognizes the testing center as a licensed branch, the driving test may be taken as part of the driver education program and waived during application at the BMV site. Residents are only allowed to take one test through their driver’s education program before taking the BMV driving skills test. If residents make a grade of 79 % or below in the driver’s education class, if their permit expires during the program, or of that driver’s education program does not participate in waivers, they will have to take the driving skills test at a BMV site upon application.
The Driving Skills Test
The following Indiana residents will be required to take the driving skills test in order to get a license:
- Those with a learner’s permit who have not had a driver’s education test waiver
- Residents who are new to Indiana and have had an out-of-state driver’s license for under a year or have had an expired license in that state for over three years
- Residents who are new to Indiana and hold a license from outside the United States
- Residents of Indiana who have a driver’s license that has been expired for over three years
- And driver with a specific restriction that requires testing by the BMV
- Drivers who have been a cause of a complaint to the BMV
- Drivers with vision or medical concerns
- Active duty members of the military who have been back in the state for over 90 days and have had an expired license for over three years
Obtaining a Learner’s Permit:
In Indiana, residents who are over 16 may apply for a learner’s permit in order to practice driving before getting their probationary license. Those who enroll in a BMV-approved driver’s education course may apply for a permit when they are 15 years and 180 days old.
Residents apply for learner’s permits at a BMV license branch. The requirements for application are as follows:
- Bring documents that prove your social security number, lawful status, residency in Indiana, and your identity (usually a United States birth certificate, a United States passport, or foreign passport with a VISA and I-94 form)
- Pass a vision test
- Pass a written driving test
- Submit an agreement of financial liability
Residents who are under 16 years old must also bring proof of enrollment in a driver’s education course. The start date of the course must be no more than three weeks from the time of application for the permit.
Once the permit period has ended, residents under 18 may receive a probationary driver’s license. The probationary license allows the driver to drive on his or her own, with the following exceptions:
- The driver is not allowed to transport passengers or products for hire
- All passengers must wear a seat belt, no matter where they are sitting
- The driver not use any sort of telephone while driving, except to make 911 calls
- The driver not allowed to drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for 180 days
- After the 180 day period, the driver is not allowed to drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, after 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and before 5 a.m. Monday through Friday
- Probationary license holders may drive at any time of the day if they are driving to or from work, a religious event, or a school function
- Probationary license holders may drive at any time of the day if they are driving with an Indiana licensed driver over 25 years old
The Indiana BMV provides a chart outlining the dates residents may apply for learner’s permits and probationary licenses.
Learning the Rules of the Road
Drivers in the state of Indiana must follow the state driving rules or risk fines, license suspension, jail or other legal ramifications. Following the rules of the road as closely as possible also ensures a lower probably of accidents and lower car insurance rates.
Information on the following Indiana driving laws is available online:
- Driving while intoxicated: IC 9-30-5
- Driving without a license: IC 9-24-18
- Driving with insufficient insurance: IC 9-25
- Driving without registration IC 9-18-6
- Vehicle operation IC 9-21-8
- Accidents IC 9-26
- Reckless driving IC 9-21-8-52
- Traffic control signals IC 9-21-3
- Traffic control devices IC 9-21-4
- Passenger Restraint Systems IC 9-19-10
- Passenger Restraint Systems for children IC 9-19-11
- Speed limits IC 9-21-5
- Motor Vehicle equipment IC 9-19
There is no monetary limit on lawsuits in the state of Indiana. Any individual who is injured, incurs property damage, loses a family member, or experiences other losses as a result of an auto accident in Indiana has the right to sue the individual at fault. For this reason, it is very important for drivers to protect themselves from any lawsuit that may arise after an accident. Insurance companies in Indiana recommend purchasing coverage that meets more than just the minimum state insurance requirements, though there is cheap liability car insurance in Indiana.
Insurance companies in Indiana use several factors to calculate monthly insurance rates. They usually begin with a base rate that may increase or decrease based on factors that indicate probability of an accident occurring, such as age and driving record. Common factors taken into consideration are as follows:
- Age. Insurance companies typically charge higher rates if a driver is under 25 years of age because statistics generally indicate that to be the age group with the highest occurrences of accidents. Younger drivers will usually be charged more than older drivers, while those over the age of 25 tend to enjoy the best car insurance rates in Indiana.
- Gender. Males under the age of 25 are typically asked to pay higher insurance rates than females under the age of 25 because that age group has a statistically higher amount of accidents.
- Driving record. The amount of accidents, tickets and insurance claims on your driving record will affect your insurance rates. The more incidents you have on your driving record, the more your insurance rate may increase.
- Claims history. Any other past insurance claims will be factored in to your current insurance rate. The more claims you have had, the higher your insurance rate may be. Those with perfect driving records and no claims will get the best insurance rates.
- Marital status. Those who are married tend to statistically have less accidents than those who are not married. Married people may be able to secure lower rates than unmarried people and enjoy low cost car insurance in Indiana.
- Geographical area. Drivers living in areas with higher crime rates may see higher insurance rates because the chance of theft or damage is higher. Also, drivers living in areas that have a higher rate of traffic collisions may also see increased insurance rates.
- Year, make, and model of the insured vehicle. The more it may cost to repair or replace a vehicle after an accident, the higher an insurance rate may be. Also, because high-performance and luxury vehicles are more likely to be stolen, an insurance company may seek a higher premium in order to balance the potential for claims.
- Credit history. Insurance companies in Indiana do look at a driver’s credit score when calculating their rates. Those with shoddy credit history may have to pay higher rates.
Getting the Best Rates
One of the first things to do when searching for affordable auto insurance in Indiana is to research the rates offered by different companies. Drivers can compare auto insurance rates in Indiana and then speak directly with a representative from each company to select the most affordable plan that offers the most benefits for the price.
Drivers in Indiana should also consider purchasing more than one type of insurance policy from the same company. For example, many companies that provide car insurance also provide things like homeowners’ insurance, and customers may get reduced rates on both if they stay within the same company. Considering the consolidation of insurance policies in this way could lower insurance costs overall. Also, including several vehicles on the same policy will also reduce the overall cost per driver. All of this can help drivers get the best auto insurance rates in Indiana.
Maintaining a clean driving record will also affect insurance rates. Drivers who are careful and follow traffic laws are generally rewarded for that behavior, while drivers with consistent accidents or other issues typically see their rates increase as reckless behavior continues. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers with stellar driving records. Also, certain professionals are sometimes offered lower premiums, such as teachers and doctors. Many insurance companies also offer discounts to students who maintain good grades or who take a driver safety course.
Choosing an Insurance Agent or Broker
Insurance brokers do not represent any specific insurance company. Rather, they work to find a policy or combination of insurance policies that will best fit a client’s needs. Insurance agents, on the other hand, work directly for one insurance company and make a commission on any policy that they secure for a client. Brokers make a commission as well, but their commissions are not tied to one company.
Insurance agents may be able to secure better deals within their own specific insurance company, which makes working with an agent beneficial. However, insurance brokers will be able to compare the rates and benefits of different companies in order to find the best policy. Both types of agents should be licensed by the Indiana Department of Insurance. The Department of Insurance provides a search page for licensed agents in the state of Indiana. The search results provide contact information for all agents, and users are also able to look up any violations or other complaints on an agent’s or insurance company’s record.
Customers who have problems with their insurance company may file a complaint online. The Department of Insurance will file complaints about issues such as invalid denial of a settlement, extensive delays in settlements, illegal cancellation of a policy, or misrepresentation by a broker or agent. The Department of Insurance will review the complaint and get back to claimants within 72 hours. If the complaint is deemed appropriate, the Department will mail a copy to the insurance company or broker in question. The Department will also make recommendations to the customer about steps to take and may even take action against the insurance company or broker in order to rectify the situation.
After an Accident
Anyone involved in a car accident in Indiana should notify the police as soon as possible after it has occurred. If there are injured persons, any type of possible aid should be given and those involved should call 911 immediately. Any driver involved in the collision should stay at the scene until the police have arrived, taken any necessary information, and given the okay to leave the scene. After an accident has occurred and all persons have make every possible to effort to ensure that those involved are safe or will soon receive care, drivers should think about their account of the incident and prepare to give a detailed description to police. Drivers should also take down the names of the police offers who reported to the scene, witnesses and other drivers in order to report the information to their insurance company. The name, phone number, address, driver’s license number and insurance information of the other driver should be recorded, even if the driver has no car insurance in Indiana. Drivers should also record the make and model of the car.
Drivers should report the incident to their respective insurance companies as quickly as possible after an accident has occurred. The insurance report will include information such as how fast you were driving, the amount of damage to both cars, what happened before the accident, and what happened during the accident.
The Indiana Department of Insurance also suggests keeping copies of all correspondence related to the accident, such as emails, letters and phone calls. The Department recommends negotiating a settlement that is satisfying, rather than accepting the first settlement offered by an insurance company.
If a driver is not at fault in an accident, his or her insurance company will seek payment from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Insurance Coverage for High-Risk Drivers:
If a driver has been involved in several at-fault accidents or has accumulated many serious violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, driving recklessly, or driving without insurance, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles may deem that driver high-risk and mandate proof of SR-22 insurance, also known as high-risk insurance.
For information on SR-22 insurance coverage in Indiana, drivers can contact the Indiana BMV Financial Responsibility Center or the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles:
Indiana BMV Financial Responsibility Center
531 Virginia Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 43204
Phone: 317 232-2840
Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Indiana Department of Insurance offers assistance to consumers shopping for the best insurance policy and dealing with insurance claims and problems with carriers. The Department of Insurance provides links on their website where consumers can seek assistance with issues such as:
- Filing a complaint against an insurance company
- Filing a complaint against an insurance agent
- Finding contact information for an insurance company
- Finding complaints against an insurance company
- Finding another state agency
For help and information about fraudulent insurance activity, consumers may contact:
Deputy Commissioner Enforcement Division