What States Do Not Require Car Insurance?

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When you register your car at the DMV, you’ll typically need to provide proof that your vehicle is insured. Car insurance doesn’t just protects you against damage that can occur to your car. It also helps to protect you against financial responsibility that you would face in an at-fault accident. 

While most states have minimum insurance requirements that all drivers must meet, that isn’t always the case. What states do not require car insurance? There are a few select states where you don’t actually have to buy car insurance at all. Before you forego your car insurance, it’s important to understand the other requirements you need to meet and what implications carrying no insurance can have if you’re ever in an accident. 

What States Do Not Require Car Insurance? 

While most states require you to have car insurance, Virginia and New Hampshire take a different approach. 

Virginia

Virginia requires drivers to have insurance coverage, and to meet the state’s minimum insurance coverage requirements: 

  • Bodily injury or death of one person: $25,000
  • Bodily injury or death of more than one person: $50,000
  • Property damage: $20,000

However, Virginia also gives you the option to opt out of having car insurance. You can pay an annual $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee in addition to your registration fees. Once you pay you won’t be required to buy car insurance. But before you think you’re getting off easy, this option offers zero protection in the event of an accident. So while you’re not required to have insurance, you’ll be solely responsible for all costs. 

New Hampshire

New Hampshire doesn’t require minimum car insurance coverage amounts, so it’s legal to drive without insurance. While those rules apply to most New Hampshire drivers, if you have a history of a DWI or have been previously convicted of causing an accident while uninsured, you may be required to buy car insurance. 

If you are one of those drivers who are required to buy car insurance, then the policy you purchase needs to meet the following minimum requirements: 

  • Bodily injury or death of one person: $25,000
  • Bodily injury or death of more than one person: $50,000
  • Property damage: $25,000
  • Medical payments coverage: $1,000

Proof of Financial Responsibility

If a state doesn’t require car insurance, you will need to provide proof of financial responsibility, which proves you can afford to pay for damages that could occur if you were in an accident. 

In Virginia, you can prove this financial responsibility by buying a Surety Bond or depositing enough cash with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to cover accident-related expenses. Alternatively, you could purchase liability coverage for your vehicle. You also have the option of paying an Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee of $500 when you register your car. This is in addition to your registration fee, and it doesn’t provide any insurance coverage. You will need to pay that fee every year. 

In New Hampshire, you don’t have to provide this proof of financial responsibility to get an insurance waiver, but you do need to provide that proof after you’re involved in an at-fault accident. You can purchase a Surety Bond or deposit cash with the State of New Hampshire. If you are unable to provide proof of financial responsibility after an accident, your license and registration might be suspended. 

Other States With Less Strict Car Insurance Requirements

map of the united states

Aside from New Hampshire and Virginia, the remaining 48 states have minimum car insurance requirements that you must carry before you can register your vehicle. You will need to provide proof of insurance when registering your vehicle, and if you are caught driving without insurance, you will face penalties from fines to jail time. 

That said, the minimum car insurance requirements vary from state to state, and some requirements are less strict than others. In Florida, you don’t need to purchase insurance for your motorcycle. Florida also has some of the lowest minimums, including a $10,000 property damage liability per accident and $10,000 personal injury protection minimum. 

In comparison, Maine requires a minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability per accident, as well as bodily injury, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and medical payments coverage. 

When you’re shopping for car insurance, an insurance provider will be able to help you verify that you have the minimum coverage required by your state. Using a comparison tool makes it easy to tell if you’re getting the best rate. 

With Compare.com, you can fill out a single quote request form, which takes about five minutes. Then, you’ll receive personalized quotes from multiple insurance providers, so you can compare the coverage and rates and decide which option is best for you. 


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If You’re in an Accident Without Car Insurance

The consequences that you face for being in an accident without car insurance will depend on the state you’re in at the time. 

In Virginia, you will be liable for an at-fault accident. You will need to cover any expenses resulting from the accident, including property damage and bodily injury costs for those involved. You will also need to pay your own medical bills and for your vehicle’s repair or replacement. Given how quickly these costs can add up, if you’re in an accident, you could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. One accident could cause severe financial devastation! 

If you’re in New Hampshire, you will be responsible for liability expenses up to $50,000, and property damages up to $25,000. You will need to pay those costs out-of-pocket. If you’re not able to do so, your license will be suspended. Unless you have an extra $75,000 sitting in your bank account at any given time, if you’re a New Hampshire driver, it’s likely a better bet for you to secure at least a state minimum insurance policy. 

And if you don’t have auto insurance but you’re in a car accident in a state that does require insurance? You could be in even more trouble. You may be responsible for all of the resulting expenses, and you could face additional fines for driving without insurance. Your license might be suspended and you could even face jail time.

Ultimately, while New Hampshire and Virginia drivers aren’t required to have insurance, it doesn’t make financial sense not to. If you have tens of thousands of dollars available in case you’re in an accident or your vehicle is damaged in some other way, you might as well pay for insurance coverage. On the other hand if you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars sitting in an account, you can’t afford not to have auto insurance. 

Pros and Cons of Having Car Insurance When Your State Doesn’t Require It

If you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, you might be considering going without car insurance. There can be some advantages to it, but it’s also important to consider the downsides. 

Pros

If you decide to opt out of your car insurance, you don’t have to spend time looking for an insurance company and understanding the different policies. There’s no time being spent on administrative tasks like signing up for your policy. And if you’re in an accident, you won’t have to worry about communicating with an insurance company or sending documentation, like a police report. 

When you don’t have car insurance, you don’t have to worry about rate increases or expenses. You’ll also save money on insurance costs. 

Cons

The disadvantages of not having car insurance far outweigh the benefits.

If you decide to go without car insurance in New Hampshire or Virginia, you will still be responsible for an uninsured motor vehicle fee of $500 to $600 per year. That fee is close to what you would pay for a state minimum coverage policy, but it doesn’t give you any insurance protection. If you’re in an accident, you could be financially responsible for tens or hundreds of dollars of damage. A single accident could result in years of financial difficulty. 

Let’s say you are in an accident and you aren’t insured, but you can’t pay for the damages involved. You could lose your license and have your registration suspended. Without a car, it will be even more difficult to come up with the money you need to pay off those expenses, and you could find yourself where you can’t get or keep your head above water. 

Remember that car insurance protects you against more than just accidents, too. If a tree falls on your vehicle or a rock cracks your windshield, you will be responsible for those repair costs out of pocket. If you don’t have significant money set aside and your car sustains damage, you might not be able to replace or repair the vehicle. 

Also, keep in mind that when you don’t insure your vehicle, you could be fine as long as you stay in New Hampshire or Vermont, but if you travel to another state, you will be in violation of that state’s laws. You might need to take public transportation or have a friend or family member with an insured vehicle drive you around, which can be expensive and inconvenient. 

Why You Should Still Buy Car Insurance

Even if you live in a state that does not require car insurance, it’s a good idea to hold an auto insurance policy. An insurance policy doesn’t have to be expensive, and it’s possible to find policies that are around the same cost of the Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee that you would otherwise pay. 

Insuring your vehicle means you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re protected in case of an accident. Without insurance, you might face financial difficulty and even potential lawsuits. Knowing you’re insured, you can better enjoy your time on the road. You won’t have to set tens of thousands of dollars aside to pay for damages if you’re in an accident, and instead, you can use that money in a way that makes sense for you and your family. 

How to Find Affordable Car Insurance

toy car and coins representing finding affordable car insurance

You’re likely considering foregoing auto insurance because you’re worried that you won’t find a policy to fit your budget. Thankfully, you can use multiple strategies to find cheap car insurance.

Explore Different Coverage Options

The type of coverage you have, as well as your coverage limits, will affect your premiums. At the least, it’s better to opt for state minimum coverage instead of foregoing insurance all together. While the state minimum will only be a liability policy, it’s better than nothing. But if you do have a little wiggle room in your budget, you might be surprised to find that you can secure more comprehensive coverage that fits your budget if you shop around. 

Read more: State minimum car insurance

Adjust Your Deductible

You may be able to increase your deductible, which can result in a lower premium. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying this higher deductible before your insurance company will pay for expenses. If you decide to increase your deductible, make sure that you have enough money set aside to make that larger payment, just in case you ever need to use your insurance. 

Read more: Auto insurance deductible

Avoid Insurance Gaps

One of the best ways to save money on your insurance is to always maintain your car insurance. Avoid gaps in your insurance coverage, which can drive up your rates. Even if you’re moving to a state like New Hampshire or Virginia, don’t let your insurance lapse until you’re entirely certain that you want to go without insurance. 

Look for Discounts

As you explore different insurance companies, look into the different discounts they offer. Many insurance companies offer discounts for everything from showing good driving habits to paying your premium up front or enrolling in paperless billing. 

Read more: Common auto insurance discounts

Drive an Economical Vehicle

The make and model of your vehicle can also affect your insurance costs. More expensive cars cost more to repair or replace, so insurance companies pass that increased risk onto you in the form of higher premiums. 

If you want to save money on your car insurance, avoid buying a luxury vehicle or an expensive brand-new vehicle. Consider buying a used, more affordable car, which will save you money on both the car purchase and its insurance. 

Shop Around

To save on car insurance, it’s most important to shop around and compare quotes. 

Compare.com makes that easy and saves you time. When you use our auto insurance comparison tool, you can easily view quotes from different providers and see which policy will save you the most money. Compare.com users save an average of $720 per year on their car insurance, and this convenient comparison tool can help you to find the policy that’s right for your needs. 

 

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