Best States for Carrying Minimum Auto Insurance (2021)

The best states for carrying minimum auto insurance have limits that give you the most coverage for your insurance dollar. States with high limits on a minimum coverage policy and a low average rate are the best places to carry the legal minimum car insurance. Most of the top states for minimum auto insurance include coverage like personal injury protection or uninsured motorist coverage in a basic policy. You might need more than just a minimum coverage insurance policy to protect your assets, so consider your coverage carefully.

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 1, 2021

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Things to Remember

  • Every state has a minimum amount of liability insurance required by law
  • The best states to carry a minimal policy offer a lot of coverage for your dollar and a lower risk of not having enough coverage
  • Minimum auto insurance doesn’t cover your car in an at-fault accident and may not meet your car loan obligations

Every state has its own requirements for auto insurance, with a minimum level of coverage you need to carry in order to comply with the law. While experts recommend that you increase your limits above the state minimum to be properly protected, there are a number of reasons to carry just the basics. There are also some states where a basic policy is a better value than it is elsewhere.

So which are the best states for carrying minimum auto insurance coverage? We looked at state minimum coverage along with the average cost of that coverage to determine where you’ll get the best deal for your insurance dollar.

Everyone’s needs for insurance coverage are a little different, and since there are a lot of factors that affect auto insurance rates, the price will vary, even for basic coverage. So while you may settle on just the minimum in the end, it’s always worth comparing rates to see if you can get more coverage for the same amount of money somewhere else.

In the meantime, let’s look at which states give you the most bang for your minimum-coverage buck.

Top 10 States for Buying the Minimum Auto Insurance

Before we move on to talking about which states are the best bet for a driver to carry a bare-bones policy, let’s take a quick look at what the minimum required coverage is in each state. The numbers represent car insurance laws by state for bodily injury liability in thousands per person, bodily injury per incident, and property damage liability limits.

That means 25/50/25 represents bodily injury limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident, and $25,000 for property damage. Here are the numbers for each state.

U.S. Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements by State
StateCoverage Types RequiredMinimum Coverage Requirements
AlaskaBI & PD Liab50/100/25
AlabamaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
ArkansasBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
ArizonaBI & PD Liab15/30/10
CaliforniaBI & PD Liab15/30/5
ColoradoBI & PD Liab25/50/15
ConnecticutBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
District of ColumbiaBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10
DelawareBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10
FloridaPD Liab, PIP10/20/10
GeorgiaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
HawaiiBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
IowaBI & PD Liab20/40/15
IdahoBI & PD Liab25/50/15
IllinoisBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
IndianaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
KansasBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
KentuckyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
LouisianaBI & PD Liab15/30/25
MassachusettsBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5
MarylandBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MaineBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, MedPay50/100/25
MichiganBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
MinnesotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MissouriBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25
MississippiBI & PD Liab25/50/25
MontanaBI & PD Liab25/50/20
North CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25
North DakotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
NebraskaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
New HampshireFR only25/50/25
New JerseyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5
New MexicoBI & PD Liab25/50/10
NevadaBI & PD Liab25/50/20
New YorkBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10
OhioBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OklahomaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OregonBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PennsylvaniaBI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5
Rhode IslandBI & PD Liab25/50/25
South CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
South DakotaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
TennesseeBI & PD Liab25/50/15
TexasBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25
UtahBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15
VirginiaBI & PD Liab (9), UM, UIM25/50/20
VermontBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10
WashingtonBI & PD Liab25/50/10
WisconsinBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10
West VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
WyomingBI & PD Liab25/50/20

State coverage requirements vary in terms of how much liability insurance you need and whether or not you are required to carry no-fault coverage like personal injury protection (PIP). Some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) coverage.

There is no state where collision and comprehensive are required, but if you have a car loan, you’ll likely need to add both.

What that means is that the minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage required by law is very different in Minnesota from what you need to buy in California.

To decide which states are the best places to drive on a minimum policy, we looked at the average cost of a car insurance policy with the minimum legal liability coverage in each state. We compared that to how much coverage you get for that amount of money and ranked the states accordingly.

Do you live in one of the best states to buy minimal auto insurance? Take a look at how the top states ranked.

#10 – Nebraska

Minimum required liability: 25/50/25
Average cost of liability insurance: $35/mo.
Additional required coverage: UM/UIM

Nebraska auto insurance requires minimum coverage limits that are the most common limits nationwide. Seventeen states have limits of 25/50/25 as the legal requirement, and several other states on our list have those same limits.

Nebraska has one of the lowest percentages of uninsured drivers in the country, coming in at number six with only 6.8 percent uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). That helps keep costs low. UM/UIM is also required in this state.

With a reasonable average cost of car insurance for a pretty solid amount of coverage, Nebraska lands in the number 10 spot among the best states to carry the minimum limits.

#9 – Kansas

Minimum required liability: 25/50/25
Average cost of liability insurance: $33/mo.
Additional required coverage: PIP

Although Kansas has the same required liability limits as Nebraska, a slightly lower average cost for that same coverage brings the state in one spot higher in the list. Like Nebraska, Kansas has a low number of uninsured drivers on the road at 7.2 percent.

A low number of uninsured motorists is common in states with a lower cost of insurance.

Kansas auto insurance law also requires that you carry PIP, which can help pay for your own medical bills in an accident regardless of fault. That makes a basic policy here a good bet.

#8 – South Dakota

Minimum required liability: 25/50/25
Average cost of liability insurance: $27/mo.
Additional required coverage:UM/UIM

A common thread among the best states for carrying the minimum car insurance is that they’re somewhat sparsely populated, which means less traffic and as a result, fewer accidents. The other common thread is a low percentage of uninsured drivers. In this case, South Dakota is at 7.7 percent, the 10th lowest in the country.

South Dakota auto insurance requires the same coverage levels as the first two states on our list, but an even lower cost of insurance at only $25 a month on average. UM/UIM coverage is also required here. That makes the basic policy a lot of coverage for a low price.

#7 – North Dakota

Minimum required liability: 25/50/25
Average cost of liability insurance:$25/mo.
Additional required coverage:PIP

Like its neighbor to the south, North Dakota auto insurance includes solid basic coverage and the cheapest average cost of any state on our list. Only 6.8 percent of drivers are uninsured here, which helps to keep those costs down.

In a state where the average cost of insurance is low, you can bump up your coverage without a huge jump in price.

That makes North Dakota an affordable place to carry extra insurance, but if you choose the basic policy, you’ll be getting more coverage for your money than in most other states. And with PIP required, a minimum policy offers extra protection.

#6 – Maryland

Minimum required liability: 30/60/15
Average cost of liability insurance:$58/mo.
Additional required coverage:UM/UIM, PIP

Maryland auto insurance has a higher average cost than any other state on our list but also takes a jump in terms of coverage. PIP coverage is required in the state, which means you’re getting additional protection out of that basic policy. Maryland also requires uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.

When you consider all of the coverage included in a basic policy, Maryland’s higher cost doesn’t seem so high after all.

At $30,000 per person and $60,000 per incident, Maryland’s minimum policy provides pretty good liability protection from the cost of injuries. If it’s all you can afford, you’re in better shape than drivers in a lot of other states.

#5 – Utah

Minimum required liability:25/65/15
Average cost of liability insurance: $47/mo.
Additional required coverage:PIP

Utah auto insurance law is unusual in that the per-incident total for bodily injury is not an exact doubling of the per-person coverage. That helps provide additional protection from injury lawsuits. Like Maryland, Utah’s property damage limit is on the low side. Fortunately, property damage claims don’t have the same tendency to grow in cost as do injury claims.

Utah also requires PIP coverage as a no-fault state. That means you’re getting solid liability coverage as well as protection for yourself from the minimum coverage.

With a low cost of insurance on average for the amount of coverage provided, Utah is a pretty safe place to carry a minimum policy.

#4 – Texas

Minimum required liability: 30/60/25
Average cost of liability insurance: $53/mo.
Additional required coverage:PIP

Texas is not the cheapest state on our list for the cost of auto insurance, but the basic policy requirements are higher than in most states. Bodily injury liability is a decent cushion, and Texas auto insurance equals the highest amount of property damage coverage required anywhere.

Texas has a fairly high number of uninsured motorists at 14.1 percent. Like in Maryland, however, that average cost of insurance also includes a requirement for PIP. PIP will pay your medical bills if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver regardless of fault, which adds value to your basic policy.

#3 – North Carolina

Minimum required liability:30/60/25
Average cost of liability insurance:$31
Additional required coverage:UM/UIM

North Carolina auto insurance includes the same minimum liability coverage as Texas but at a lower price. That’s partially due to the fact that PIP isn’t included, but the state does require UM/UIM coverage on a basic policy.

A likely contributor to the low cost here is that the state ranks at number four for the fewest uninsured motorists at 6.5 percent. That makes the UM/UIM coverage cheaper. Overall, a basic policy in North Carolina is a pretty good deal for drivers.

#2 – Alaska

Minimum required liability:50/100/25
Average cost of liability insurance:$47/mo.
Additional required coverage:None

When we arrive at the number two spot on the list, the minimum liability limits take a jump. At $50,000 per person and $100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability coverage, drivers in Alaska have a lot of protection in the event of an at-fault accident.

Alaska has the highest rate of uninsured motorists of any state on our list at 15.4 percent, so although it’s not required, you might want to consider adding UM/UIM coverage.

Although the average cost of an Alaska auto insurance policy is higher, you’re getting a lot of coverage for that money. And it’s far from the most expensive state for auto insurance rates. In spite of the dangers of winter roads, Alaska keeps rates on the low side and a basic policy here is an excellent deal.

#1 – Maine

Minimum required liability: 50/100/25
Average cost of liability insurance:$31
Additional required coverage:UM, MedPay

In spite of tying Alaska for the highest required liability limits in the country, Maine auto insurance has a lower average cost than some states with limits that are much lower. In fact, it’s among the cheapest states in the country for auto insurance. And a minimum policy here also includes uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments (MedPay) coverage as well.

Maine has the lowest percentage of uninsured drivers on the road in the nation, at 4.1 percent, which we’ve already noted is a common thread in our top states.

Is the number of uninsured motorists because auto insurance is so cheap, or is auto insurance cheap here because there are so few drivers without coverage on the road? It’s likely a bit of both. Maine’s lower volume of cars on the roads also contributes to the low rates.

Whatever the reason, Maine’s affordable and higher-than-average minimum liability limits make this the best state to carry a minimum coverage policy.

Full Study Results: All States Ranked by Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements

Every state has different coverage requirements, and in some places, that requirement is really low. It’s important to know where your state lands in terms of coverage so you’ll know if you’ve got enough insurance to protect yourself.

Where do the states that didn’t make the list of the best rank? Take a look at the map below to find out the requirements and annual rates for your state.

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The states where a minimum coverage policy is a bad plan are, notably, also states with no-fault laws and a high number of uninsured motorists. Florida has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the country at 26.7 percent and high rates in spite of the fact that the state minimum car insurance in Florida is very low.

Although it’s not a no-fault state, California’s high cost of insurance for its very low liability limits make it a bad place to carry a minimum policy.

Frequently Asked Questions: Minimum Auto Insurance

If you still have questions about carrying minimum auto insurance coverage in your state, check for the answers below.

#1 – What states have the lowest auto insurance rates?

The cheapest car insurance tends to be found in states with a smaller population, like the Dakotas, Vermont, Maine, and Wyoming.

#2 – Is minimum auto insurance enough?

Most experts will recommend that you carry more than the minimum, but it really depends on your personal situation. The more assets you have to protect, the more coverage you need.

#3 – Do states dictate a driver’s minimum required amount of insurance, and is auto insurance required in all states?

Each state determines its own insurance laws. So do all states require you to buy some type of car insurance, and what type of insurance do most states require people to carry?

Most states do require that you carry an auto insurance policy in order to drive legally. The list of states that don’t require you to carry car insurance is short: New Hampshire. Although you don’t have to carry insurance there, you are financially responsible if you’re at fault in an accident.

Most people use insurance to provide for that responsibility, and when you buy insurance there is a minimum coverage level on that policy.

So what type of auto insurance are you required to carry in every state (49 out of 50)? Across the board in 49 states, liability insurance is required coverage. This pays for injuries and property damage when you are at fault. Even in a no-fault state, liability insurance is required.

Methodology: State Rankings by Auto Insurance Coverage

In order to determine which states are the best for carrying only minimal auto insurance, we started with the minimum requirements in each state, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). We added up the total amount of liability coverage each state requires.

We then looked at the average cost of a liability policy in each state based on National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) data. We used these two numbers to find out which states offer the most coverage for the lowest cost.

Complete Results: States Ranked by Required Auto Insurance
Complete Results: States Ranked by Required Auto Insurance