When operating a vehicle in the State of New Jersey, drivers are required to show proof of insurance.
New Jersey minimum car insurance requirements are:
- Auto insurance policy with limits of at least 10/5/15 meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $10,000 of bodily injury to all persons per accident
- $5,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in one accident
- Personal injury protection
- 15,000 of bodily injuries per person to you or others on your policy in one accident
- Uninsured motorist coverage
- Coverage no greater than those amounts selected for liability coverage
Even though collision insurance is not required by the State of New Jersey, some drivers may choose to purchase it in order to cover damage to their vehicle from a collision.
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Self-insurance certificates are available in New Jersey through the Department of Banking and Insurance under the conditions of the state statute NJSA 11:3-30 allowing that:
- If you have at least 26 vehicles registered in your name or more than 25 vehicles leased:
- You must qualify by application through the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance:
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance
Office of Solvency Regulation
P.O. Box 235
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0325
Attn: Self-Insurance Unit
Required Proof of Insurance in New Jersey
Insured drivers must always have proof of insurance in their vehicle in the form of a New Jersey Insurance Identification Card provided by their insurance company.
This card must be presented before a vehicle inspection, if involved in a traffic violation, and when stopped by a police officer at a spot check.
Insurance card should include all of the following:
- Insurance company name, code, and address
- Name and address of insured driver
- Insurance policy number
- Effective date/expiration date of policy
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Heading that reads: State of New Jersey Insurance Identification Card
Self-insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include the following:
- Certificate Number issued by Department of Administration
- Effective date of certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of driver covered by certificate
Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance – Thomas B. Considine
20 West State Street
P.O. Box 325
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Obtaining a Driver’s License
The laws in New Jersey require all first-time drivers to go through a graduated driver’s licensing process, which consists of three phases that differ according to age.
Drivers who are age 16 and older must obtain a student learner’s permit, before earning a probationary license, and finally a basic driver’s license. Drivers age 17 and older may earn an examination permit before going on to a probationary license and then a basic driver’s license.
The requirements to obtain a learner’s permit are as follows:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Pass a knowledge and vision test
- Present a primary 4-point ID
- Show driver training course proof of enrollment
- Have a signed letter showing parental consent
- Pay a fee
The requirements to obtain an examination permit are as follows:
- Be at least 17 years old
- Pass a knowledge and vision test
- Pass a 6-point ID Verification
- Pay a fee
The requirements to obtain a probationary license are as follows:
- Be at least 17 years old
- Complete at least six months of supervised driving
- Pass a 6-point ID Verification
- Pass the Motor Vehicle Commission road test
The requirements to obtain a basic driver’s license are as follows:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a provisional driver’s license
- Complete at least one year of unsupervised driving
- Pass a 6-Point ID Verification
- Pay a license fee of $24
The following documents are required for application:
- Identification documents to pass a 6-Point ID Verification, including a minimum of one primary document and a minimum of one secondary document. For more information, see here.
- Social Security card
- Proof of address
Completing Driver Education
To enroll in a driver education course one must be at least 16 years old. You are not required to take a driver’s training course in the State of New Jersey unless trying to obtain your learner’s permit. In this case, one must have a complete all the necessary forms and have the driving instructor purchase the permit for them at a MVC agency. The permit must then be validated at a MVC Driver Testing Center after finishing the driver training course and before beginning practice driving.
Those who do wish to undergo driver’s education may obtain a list of approved registered driving schools from New Jersey’s MVC here. It is important to only take driver’s training courses from a driving school that is recognized by the MVC and employs licensed driving instructors.
Driver’s education courses at these driver’s schools usually involve behind-the-wheel instruction and class time. Those in these courses will learn about basic driving techniques, safe driving skills, and driving laws. For example, a basic course for teen drivers from Princeton Driving School, Inc., a MVC-approved driving school in Hamilton, will consist of six-hours behind-the-wheel training, permit service, vision testing, written exam, and permit validation service.
In addition to driving schools, you can also check out whether or not your student’s school or local MVC offers driver’s education. These programs will have licensed instructors and meet the minimum requirements to obtain a permit.
Knowing the Rules of the Road
New Jersey’s vehicle and traffic regulations are provided in Title 39 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes. To qualify for the lowest car insurance rates, one should be careful to obey these rules.
- Driving a vehicle on approach of authorized emergency vehicles – N.J.S.A. 39:3-54.12
- Driving while intoxicated – N.J.S.A. 39:4-50
- Keeping to the right – N.J.S.A. 39:4-82
- Passing vehicles – N.J.S.A. 39:4-86
- Right and left hand turns – N.J.S.A. 39:4-123
- Speed limits – N.J.S.A. 39:4-98
- Traffic signals– N.J.S.A. 39:4-81
- Turing signals – N.J.S.A. 39:4-126
- Use of electronic communication device while driving – N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3
- Yielding to pedestrians – N.J.S.A. 39:4-36
Residents of New Jersey typically fall into one of two insurance markets: the voluntary market and the assigned risk market. The low premium voluntary market is available to drivers with less than seven insurance eligibility points within a three year period. Those in this market will enjoy the lowest auto insurance rates in New Jersey. Those with more than seven points end up in the high premium assigned market, where the average cost of car insurance in New Jersey will be significantly higher. Insurance eligibility points are assigned to drivers by insurers for accidents for which they were at fault, suspensions, and vehicle violations. New drivers are automatically assigned three points to begin with given their lack of driving experience.
Those living in the State of New Jersey should carefully consider the type of insurance policy and how much insurance they will need as well as the amount they are able to pay for it as an insurance policy is a legal contract. Even though New Jersey drivers are required to have liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage, many still choose to purchase additional protection like collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. To make the wisest choice when it comes to insurance options, you should do your research concerning insurance policies and companies..
Here you can find some information regarding what you should consider when it comes to auto insurance.
Know Your Rates
After you have decided the amount of coverage you want to have, the company will then determine what your auto insurance rate and deductable will be. To come up with these amounts, the company will not only consider the coverage you have chosen but risk factors such as age, sex, driving record, and type of vehicle. These risk factors help to determine the probability of you being involved in an accident. The company will then put you in the same tier group as policyholders with corresponding risk characteristics and assign a rate based on that tiers driving and claims history. While not ass insurance companies consider the same risk factors, some common ones include:
- Driving history. Those who have a driving record that shows a history of accidents and violations at-fault accidents, motor vehicle violations, and suspensions are usually considered high-risk drivers and are charged higher rates. These types of accidents and violations will remain on one’s driving record for a certain amount of time before they can be removed giving them a “clean” record once more.
- Age. Statistics show that more accidents occur with drivers who are under the age of 25 than drivers between the ages of 25 and 65, which is likely due to their lack of driving experience. Therefore, insurance companies will consider drivers under 25 a higher risk and charge policyholders with young drivers more. Drivers over the age of 65 are also considered a high risk as they tend to have a slower reaction time.
- Gender. According to statistics, young men who are under the age of 25 have accidents more frequently than women in their age group. Because of this, men are usually assigned higher insurance rates than women, while women can enjoy low cost car insurance in New Jersey.
- Vehicle type. The cost of your insurance premium is affected by the make, model, and value of the vehicle you are insuring. Older vehicles that may have depreciated will cost less to insure while the insurance on luxury cars will be higher as repairs will likely be more expensive if accidental damage occurs.
- Marital status. Statistics show that fewer accidents occur and claims are made by young, married couples. Therefore, insurance companies will usually charge them lower premiums than they would single people.
- Geographical area. Premiums are influenced by where you live and will drive your vehicle, as rates are affected by the number of claims made by policyholders in your geographical area. Additionally, those who live in urban areas may pay more for insurance as the higher concentration of vehicles in these areas make accidents it more likely.
- Policy changes. Premiums can be affected any time that you choose to make changes to your policy, such as changing deductibles, adjusting coverage, moving to a new territory, and adding or removing a vehicle or driver to your policy. Also, any period of time that your vehicle was not covered by insurance when it was supposed to be can affect your premium. You could be placed in the assigned risk market if you have a lapse in coverage that exceeds 30 days.
- Vehicle use. Insurance costs can also be affected by your daily exposure to risk, meaning the distance you drive to school or work each day, using your vehicle for personal or work purposes, and average number of miles driven each year. People who do not put a lot of miles on their car will usually have the best car insurance rates in New Jersey because they do not pose as much risk on a daily basis.
Lower Your Rates
To make sure that you are the best price for your coverage, speak with an insurance agent to learn about what your insurance plan will cover for what you are currently paying rather than settling for the cheapest plan. Be sure to compare auto insurance rates in New Jersey by shopping around and speaking only with companies that are authorized to do business in New Jersey. Before purchasing auto insurance, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance advises residents to check out the following: collision and comprehensive deductibles, auto-related health insurer options, Personal Injury Protection deductable and limits, and lawsuit option.
Also, ask about discounts that may be offered but not necessarily advertised, including “good student” discounts, defensive driving courses, vehicle safety features, and multiple car policies. This can help you get the best car insurance in New Jersey. In fact, in the state, the law requires insurers to provide discounts to drivers who complete a defensive driving course approved by the Motor Vehicle Commission. For more information and to locate an approved school call 1-888-486-3339. Insurers are also required to offer discounts on vehicles with safety features like anti-lock brakes, anti-theft vehicle recovery systems, and air bag and passive restraint systems.
In addition, you can usually save on your premium by opting for a higher deductable or choosing not to cover older vehicles that are paid in full. Some health insurance plans may act as primary insurers when it comes to auto accident-related injuries, so before buying a health care primary option be sure to check with your health care insurer.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
Agents, brokers, and companies sell auto insurance in New Jersey. Some companies may sell policies directly through their websites or the mail, while others have insurance agents and brokers that sell policies for them. Insurance agents work directly for a company selling policies for commission. Insurance brokers do not work directly for one company but for individual clients helping them assess their insurance needs and compare insurance options. Once they have made a sale for an insurance company, they receive commission for it. They are required to provide information about your coverage options, how choices will affect your cost, and the benefits you receive in the case of an accident.
No matter which method you use to purchase insurance, make sure that the company and producer you choose is licensed to do business in New Jersey. In addition, always take into consideration an insurer’s financial stability, claims handling practice, and policyholder service. You can check out these insurer rating companies to find more information about the status of an insurance company.
You can check and see if a producer is licensed in New Jersey by entering their information into the Department of Banking and Insurance’s Insurance Licensee Search. Also, you can contact the Division of Insurance directly to request information about complaints that have been filed against a particular agent or company or any disciplinary action taken against them. If you end up having a problem with an insurance company that cannot be resolved through the company itself, you can call the Consumer Inquiry and Response Center at 609-292-7272 or 1-800-446-7467. In addition, you can file for assistance online or by mailing in a complaint form.
After an Accident
Accidents happen, even to the safest drivers. In the State of New Jersey, you must file a police report for any accident that results in death, injury, or vehicle or property damage.
You can report the accident to your local police department or to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). You will be asked to give your account of the accident and details surrounding it.
You must call your insurance company as soon as possible if you’re involved in an accident or your vehicle gets stolen or damaged by fire, flood, or vandalism. A representative will help you to file a claim and inform you of what documents will be needed to do so. Documents needed may include a proof-of-loss form, police report, in the vehicle repair bills, or medical bills. An insurance company must contact you within 10 working days of a claim and within seven working days if they need to inspect the vehicle involved.
You should always obtain the other driver’s insurance information, contact information, driver’s license number, and make and model of vehicle, even if the other driver has no car insurance in New Jersey. If anyone happened to witness the accident, try to get their contact information as well. Try to get a copy of the police report and any other paperwork involving your claim and keep it on file as you may need it in the future. Finally, keep a record of all expenses that are a result of the accident, in the case that they are covered by your insurance policy.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Your driving record can prevent you from being able to get auto insurance, particularly in the case that you have a significant history of tickets, car accidents, or drunk driving. Luckily, the State of New Jersey offers the New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan, making it possible for any driver to obtain insurance. The plan was established so that high-risk drivers who cannot find insurance in the voluntary market because of their driving records or other factors can find coverage. To qualify drivers must meet to following criteria:
- Be denied coverage due to negative driving record
- Possess a valid New Jersey driver’s license.
- Be free of debt from any previous auto insurance policy.
To find an auto insurer that provides the New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan for those in the assigned risk market visit the Department of Banking and Insurance’s Find a PAIP Producer in Your Area search or call 1-800-652-2471. With time, you can mend your driving record so that you may qualify for the best car insurance rates in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance can help you out when you’re shopping for insurance. Not only can they provide information on specific agencies, but investigate complaints, enforce insurance law, and educate consumers about auto insurance. You can contact the Consumer Services hotline at 1-800-446-7467.