Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • As long as you meet your state’s minimum requirements when it comes to car insurance coverage, purchasing the minimum coverage is perfectly legal
  • If you are financing your vehicle, you will probably need to carry more than just liability
  • Your state’s minimum requirements will not cover your car for vandalism, weather damage, or any similar occurrences

If you are looking to purchase car insurance, you are probably wondering, “is it bad to just carry minimum coverage car insurance?”

Truthfully, the answer to this question depends on your specific situation. There are many factors that help people decide what type of car insurance they need.

Some people choose full coverage, including collision and comprehensive, and others choose to invest only in their state’s minimum requirement for car insurance.

If you are financing a car, you will likely need to carry full coverage. If you own your car and no longer make payments, you likely have the autonomy to make this decision on your own, although you will probably want more than minimum coverage after an accident.

So, are minimum coverage car insurance quotes what you should be searching for? And what are the factors that affect the price of car insurance?

As you search for affordable minimum coverage car insurance, be sure to use our free quote tool above to compare multiple companies at once.

What is the minimum amount of car insurance required by law?

The minimum amount of automobile insurance required by law is something that varies from one state to the next. In order to drive legally, you must meet your specific state’s minimum auto insurance requirement.

While state requirements for minimum coverage may vary, most states require at least:

  • Bodily Injury (BI)
  • Property damage (PD)
  • Uninsured/underinsured (UIM)
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)

The amount of each of these coverages depends on your state’s requirements, and the cost of insuring your vehicle in your state will likely not be the same as the cost if you lived somewhere else.

Below are sample rates for minimum car insurance in each state:

Minimum Car Insurance Rates by State
StateLiability Coverage Yearly RatesLiability Coverage Monthly Rates
District of Columbia$628.82$52.40
New Hampshire$400.56$33.38
New Jersey$869.57$72.46
New Mexico$488.03$40.67
New York$804.51$67.04
North Carolina$359.42$29.95
North Dakota$298.18$24.85
Rhode Island$759.80$63.32
South Carolina$527.09$43.92
South Dakota$300.22$25.02
West Virginia$491.83$40.99
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As you can see, there can be a significant difference in price from one state to the next, even when simply choosing the minimum coverage option.

Because car insurance laws by state differ so much, it’s a good idea to speak to a representative from any company you are seriously considering to make sure the policy you want will meet your state’s minimum requirements.

While minimum coverage car insurance rates may seem steep, they are a lot cheaper than collision, comprehensive, or other types of coverage.

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What’s the downside to just carrying minimum coverage car insurance?

If you are wondering how much insurance you need for your car, you have the freedom to decide this for yourself after meeting your state’s requirements.

While it may seem like you save a lot of money going with a minimum coverage plan, it might not be a good idea for you.

The whole point of car insurance is to cover you if anything happens to you, your vehicle, or another person’s vehicle if you’ve been in a car accident. Choosing minimum coverage will not protect you from certain scenarios as well as full coverage will.

For instance, if you park your vehicle outside your home, and someone vandalizes it and steals items out of your car in the middle of the night, you are likely not covered for that with a minimum coverage plan.

But comprehensive coverage would be helpful in this type of event. The same goes for weather damage or if you hit a mailbox or other structure while driving.

Minimum coverage does not help in any of these scenarios. So if you drive a lot, if you drive a newer vehicle, or if you simply want to be on the safe side, you may want to do more than simply buy minimum coverage car insurance.

Should I buy more than minimum coverage car insurance?

For a lot of people who ask this question, the smart answer is “yes.” To protect yourself and your property, you should purchase car insurance that covers you regardless of the scenario.

You may be in a situation where you feel you cannot afford to purchase more than your state’s minimum requirements for car insurance. If that’s the case, you need to be sure to carry at least your state’s minimum coverage in order to drive legally and without penalty.

But you may still be able to find better coverage by shopping around online and comparing car insurance quotes.

Before you decide to focus on a minimum coverage car insurance company, use our free tool below to compare quotes and see what you would pay for better coverage.