When driving a State of Mississippi registered vehicle, insurance is required. Mississippi minimum car insurance requirements are:
Auto Insurance policy with limits of at least 25/50/25 – meaning:
Liability coverage in the amount of:
- $25,000 of bodily injury or death to another person in any one accident
- $50,000 of bodily injury or death to two or more people in any one accident
- $25,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
Although uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required by the State of Mississippi, many drivers choose to purchase it in order to cover any expenses they may accumulate from an accident in which an uninsured/underinsured driver is at fault or in which a hit-and-run occurs.
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Self-insurance certificates are available in Mississippi under state code 63-15-53 if the following requirements are met:
- You or your company must have at least 26 vehicles registered in your name
- You must qualify by application through Mississippi Department of Public Safety:
Department of Public Safety
1900 East Woodrow Wilson Drive
Jackson, MS 39216
In Mississippi, under state code 63-15-49, you have the option to post a bond in the same amount as the minimum liability requirements instead of purchasing auto insurance. You may also make a cash or security deposit. For cash or security deposits, you must deposit at least $15,000 in cash or securities with the state treasurer, under state code 63-15-51.
Required Proof of Insurance in Mississippi
Under Mississippi law (code 63-15-4), you must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times. Failure to maintain an insurance card can result in a $500 fee and suspension of your driving privileges until you can furnish proof. The insurance card provided by your insurance company should include all of the following:
- Name of insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Effective date/expiration date of policy
- Year, make/model, VIN of registered vehicle
- Name of insured driver
- The insurance company’s customer service telephone number or name of local agent with contact information
- The following statement: “Mississippi law requires that this card is to be kept in the insured motor vehicle for presentment upon demand.”
Self-insurance certificates are issued by the state and should include the following:
- Certificate number
- Effective date of certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of driver covered by certificate
- Certificate of Deposit
- Certificate number issued by state treasurer
- Name of driver covered by certificate of deposit
- Liability Bond
- Name of company issuing bond
- Bond number
- Name of driver covered by bond
Insurance Commissioner – Mike Chaney
Mississippi Insurance Department
P.O. Box 79
Jackson, MS 39205-0079
800-562-2957 (toll-free, for consumers only)
Obtaining a Driver’s License
Here are the requirements to obtain your learner’s permit for residents younger than 18:
- Be at least 15 years old (although there are special requirements for 14-year-olds, who can only use their permit to drive in a driver’s education vehicle)
- Provide signed proof of school enrollment
- Complete application with notarized signatures of both parents/guardians (or custodial parent, if parents divorced)
- Present Social Security card/ birth certificate
- Pass written/vision exam
- Pay $4 fee
Note: You must hold a learner’s permit for 1 year before you can take a driving test
Here are the requirements to obtain your intermediate license for residents younger than 18:
- Have a learner’s permit for 1 year
- Present the same information as for a learner’s permit
- Pass driving skills test
- Pay $6 fee
Here are the requirements to obtain your full operator’s license:
- Fill out application (residents younger than 18 must have notarized signatures of both parents/guardians or custodial parent, if divorced)
- Be at least 16 years old
- Residents under 18 must show proof of school attendance, unless married
- Residents under 18 must pass driving skills test
- Residents older than 18 can have driving/writing skills test waived if they present a driver’s license from another state
- Show Social Security card or birth certificate
- Those 18 or older must show proof of domicile (physical address)
- Pay appropriate fee
Completing Driver Education
When a teen reaches the age of 14, they may enroll in a driver’s education program through their school. To participate in the behind-the-wheel training portion of a driver’s ed program, a 14-year-old student must show the DMV that he/she is enrolled in a driver’s training program and receive an instruction permit allowing him/her to drive only with a driver’s ed instructor, according to the DPS. Fifteen-year-olds do not have such restrictions.
While the Department of Public Safety does not indicate that completion of a driver’s education program is required to receive a license, many choose to complete it anyway to learn the rules of the road and basic driving skills. You can complete driver’s education through a commercial driving school and many, but not all, high schools.
Many driver’s education programs entail:
- A total of 30 hours of classroom instruction
- 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training
It is recommended that you research any driver-training program that you enroll in. You want to make sure they meet the following standards:
- Instructors are licensed and certified to teach driver’s education by the State of Mississippi
- The course meets state curriculum requirements
- Check if they have received any disciplinary action for violations
- Make sure there are enough instructors to meet student needs
Knowing the Rules of the Road
Mississippi provides their rules of the road online in Title 63, Chapter 3 of the 2010 Mississippi Code. Carefully obey these rules to qualify for the lowest possible car insurance rates.
- Careless driving: MC 63-3-1213
- Disobeying traffic control devices: MC 63-3-313
- Distances to be maintained between traveling vehicles: MC 63-3-619
- Drag racing on public roads prohibited: MC 63-3-1215
- Duties of drivers involved in accident involving injury or death: MC 63-3-401
- Duties of drivers involved in accident involving property damage of attended vehicle: MC 63-3-403
- Flashing signals: MC 63-3-311
- Maximum speed limits: MC 63-3-501
- Meeting or overtaking school bus: MC 63-3-615
- Minimum speed limits: MC 63-3-509
- Overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in same direction: MC 63-3-609
- Parking unattended motor vehicles: MC 63-3-909
- Passing by vehicles proceeding in opposite directions: MC 63-3-607
- Procedure upon approach of authorized emergency vehicles: MC 63-3-809
- Reckless driving: MC 63-3-1201
- Refusal to comply with a police officer: MC 63-3-203
- Speed limits within highway work zones: MC 63-3-516
- Stopping at railroad crossing when signaled: MC 63-3-1007
- Turning at intersections: MC 63-3-703
- Vehicle approaching intersection; vehicles approaching intersection at the same time: MC 63-3-801
Know Your Rates
How much you pay for auto insurance is determined in part by how much coverage you want (the more coverage you purchase, the higher your premium) and the deductible you select (the higher your deductible, the lower your premium). Research the average cost of car insurance in Mississippi so you’ll know where to begin. Also, the insurance company must consider all of the risk factors associated with covering you and the other licensed drivers in your household. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted to take into account the following factors:
- Age. Statistics show that drivers under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than those aged between 25 and 65. For this reason, drivers under 25 years old are considered a higher risk, so insurance companies will charge households with younger drivers more for insurance. In addition, those who are older than 65 years of age are considered greater risks because their reaction time and overall physical ability tends to slow down.
- Gender. Statistical evidence shows men have more accidents than women. Men under the age of 25 are particularly more prone to accidents than women in the same age group, so male drivers typically must pay higher insurance rates than female drivers.
- Driving record and claims history. If you have had multiple accidents, tickets, and insurance claims, you are automatically considered a riskier driver to insure. For that reason, those who don’t have clean driving records will see higher insurance rates. Accidents remain on your driving record for a period of years before your driving history is wiped clean again. Safer drivers, on the other hand, will enjoy the lowest auto insurance rates in Mississippi.
- Marital status. Statistics prove that married couples tend to have far fewer accidents than those who are unmarried, so married couples may be offered a lower insurance rate when shopping around.
- Location. As a general rule, urban drivers pay more for auto insurance than those in small towns or rural areas because the increased traffic and higher crime makes their vehicles more likely to get into an accident or be stolen or vandalized.
- Make, model, and year of the vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive and high-performance the vehicle, the more drivers will have to pay to insure them, according to Mississippi’s auto insurance guide. This is because they are more expensive to repair after accidents, not to mention more likely to be stolen. Insurance companies also point out that red, flashy sports cars are more likely to be pulled over for speeding and other violations by police.
- Credit history. Your credit history may play a part in the rates you receive. Those with poor credit history may not qualify for affordable auto insurance in Mississippi.
- Annual miles driven/use of vehicle. If you don’t put many miles on your car each year, you pose less of a risk and therefore pay a lower premium. Also, people who use their car for leisure will generally pay a lower premium than those who use their car for business and long-distance commuting to work day in and day out.
Lower Your Rates
Mississippi’s insurance department recommends shopping around at a number of different insurance companies to compare auto insurance rates in Mississippi. When shopping around, speak with an insurance agent and find out exactly what your insurance plan will cover for the price you are paying so that you receive the best price for the best coverage, as opposed to simply settling for a plan that is cheap, but doesn’t offer much. Don’t let price be the only deciding factor, however. You also want to consider a company’s financial standing, the quality of its service, and available discounts, according to the Mississippi auto insurance guide. This way, you can receive the best auto insurance rates in Mississippi.
Inquire about discounts that a company may offer but not advertise, such as discounts for young drivers with good grades, drivers who have completed a driver’s education course, discounts for farmers, and good-driver discounts. Older drivers in Mississippi (55 and older) can save money on insurance right away by taking a DPS-approved collision prevention course, under the provisions of state code 63-15-46. Other ways to get a lower auto insurance rate include: bundling your auto and home insurance under one provider, insuring multiple vehicles under one policy, and installing safety and anti-theft devices, Mississippi’s auto insurance guide points out.
Longtime customers of an insurance company may be able to call in and request a lower rate after many years of faithfully paying their premiums on time. Also, insurance companies often give you the option to pay your entire premium all at once or pay it in installments; those who pay all at once may pay less overall.
In addition, pay close attention to your other insurance plans. Some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance plans, so you can opt out of paying for coverage in areas where you are already insured. By upping your deductible to the highest amount you can reasonably afford, you can receive a lower rate as well. Finally, if your vehicle is paid for or has a low market value, you may want to re-evaluate the cost-effectiveness of maintaining damage coverage on it, the Mississippi auto insurance guide notes.
Remember to make sure that the company is permitted to do business in Mississippi. If you are suspicious about any insurance company, call the Mississippi Insurance Department’s toll-free consumer line at 800-562-2957 to verify if any actions have been taken against that company.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
Insurance agents with insurance companies aim to sell policies for commission. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, do not represent a company. Instead, they work with individual clients, assessing their clients’ needs and finding different insurance options to fit those needs. Like agents, however, they also receive a commission for the sales they make from different insurance companies. In Mississippi, you can buy insurance through captive agents, who work exclusively for one insurance company; independent agents, who represent multiple companies; and direct writers, who reach out to you directly by phone or over the Internet, according to the Mississippi auto insurance guide.
Whether you use an agent, broker, or direct writer, make sure that they are licensed with the Mississippi Insurance Department. The Department’s website allows consumers to search for companies and individuals to see if they are licensed. In addition, you can request information from the Mississippi Insurance Department about how many complaints have been filed against a particular agent or broker. The Department can also tell you how many times they have faced disciplinary actions.
If you have had issues with an insurance agent or company that you haven’t been able to resolve with the company itself, you can request assistance by calling the consumer help line at 800-562-2957, or 601-359-2453 in the Jackson area. You can also file a complaint online or by mail using the agent complaint form or company complaints form. Mail complaints to:
Mississippi Insurance Department
P.O. Box 79
Jackson, MS 39205
You can request information on why your claim has been denied, why your insurer cancelled your policy, or other complaints. The Department will assign your case to an investigator, who will review the matter and take steps to resolve it. Allow 20 working days for the investigator to contact the company that is the source of the complaint. The Department will notify the complainant of their findings in writing.
After an Accident
Accidents happen, even to the most responsible drivers. If you have been involved in a wreck, immediately notify local law enforcement. If you or someone else is seriously injured, you must request emergency medical services at that time. Drivers should stay at the scene of the accident until released by a police officer. To expedite procedures, be prepared to give a thorough account of the events leading up to the collision to responding law enforcement members, and also take down information such as the names of the police officers and witnesses you spoke with for your own accident report.
Mississippi law requires you to provide information, including your name, address, and registration number, to the other driver involved in the wreck, and to show them your driver’s license, if requested. However, you should never admit fault in any accident, according to the Mississippi Insurance Department.
In addition, you must also report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, closely following your particular company’s procedures for filing a claim. If your collision involved another driver, obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and the make and model of the car they were driving during the collision, even if the driver has no car insurance in Mississippi. Taking photos or video of the damage to your vehicle, even with your cell phone, could be useful, according to the Mississippi Insurance Department. You should also be prepared to report the extent of the damage to both cars, how the accident happened, what occurred during the accident, and the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Any police report filed must also be copied and sent to your insurance company.
When all of your information has been received, your insurance company will investigate and pay your claim according to the terms of your insurance policy. If your claim is delayed, the insurance company must notify you every 30 days until it is processed. In the event that your claim is denied, your insurance company will notify you in writing.
Your insurance company may also seek subrogation, which typically happens when someone else was at fault for an accident you were in. Your insurance will cover the costs of any medical or repair bills you had, but your insurance will then reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. During this process, you should provide your insurance company with full cooperation to ensure that this process goes smoothly. If you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company, be sure to notify your insurance company.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Your driving record may prevent you from receiving the insurance coverage, especially if you have a lengthy history of accidents, tickets, or drunk driving. However, the state of Mississippi makes it possible for every driver to find insurance opportunities by offering the Mississippi Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan specifically covers drivers in Mississippi who cannot find coverage in the voluntary market due to their driving records. In order to qualify, be sure that you meet the following criteria:
- Possess a valid Mississippi driver’s license.
- Possess a vehicle registered in Mississippi
- Show that you have not been able to find coverage in the voluntary market
You may also be required by the state to have your insurance company file an SR-22 form to prove that you have maintained minimum liability coverage. The SR-22 form is required in Mississippi to reinstate a license that has been suspended or revoked for failing to pay an accident judgment, getting caught driving without insurance, or after driving under the influence, according to Safe Auto.
The Mississippi Insurance Department offers assistance to anyone shopping for insurance. They will answer inquiries related to insurance, look into complaints with specific agencies, agents, or brokers, educate consumers on insurance law and procedures, and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can contact them at 800-562-2957 or 601-359-3569.