Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Every state has its own set of rules for driving and insurance coverage
  • Liability is the minimum requirement in most states
  • PIP protects both you and your passengers in case of injury

Is there a difference in state minimum auto insurance coverage between states? There is a difference in the amount of liability coverage that each driver is required to carry between all of the states.

Every state sets its own rules for driving and how people must conduct themselves on the public roads.

This means that each state has the right to set the amount of insurance coverage that people must have at as high or as low an amount as they believe is necessary.

To find the best auto insurance coverage for your state, enter your zip code into our FREE  comparison tool above!

Bodily Injury Liability

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The type of liability coverage that most states require that drivers purchase is bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage.

Bodily injury liability consists of two different numbers.

The first number is the amount of coverage that drivers must have in the event that they are the cause of an accident that results in bodily injuries to one person.

For example, in one state, for one person hurt in a car collision, the one who caused the accident must have purchased a policy that offers $15,000 to pay the injured party’s medical bills or funeral expenses.

The second number related to bodily injury liability coverage is the amount of money that people must have for everyone hurt in the accident that the driver has caused.

In the state from above, drivers must have bought a policy that will pay $30,000 total for everyone hurt in the accident.

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Property Damage Liability

The third number is associated with property damages. The property damage liability coverage is the amount of money that drivers must be prepared to pay for property repairs, such as for:

• Cars
• Utility Poles
• Damaged landscaping
• Livestock that has been injured or killed
• Damages to buildings and houses

In the example, property damage liability is required to be $10,000 under these policies.

When people are seeking how much their states require of them for liability insurance, they will see the three numbers written as 15/30/10.

Why the Requirements Differ in Each State

Penalities for Driving Without Insurance

People will notice that there will be several reasons for the differences in auto insurance rates between states is the minimum requirements that people need to purchase.

One of the reasons for the difference is if the state is a tort state or it is a no-fault state.

As was mentioned above, liability coverage is required by drivers in most states.

In a tort state, drivers have unlimited abilities to sue each other for their bodily injuries and property damages.

In contrast, in a no-fault state, the drivers will not be able to sue the driver that hits them for their medical bills until the state’s qualifications have been met.

To prevent lawsuits, no-fault states require their drivers have limited amounts of liability coverage.

Because people in no-fault states need to purchase liability coverage and PIP insurance, people may find that they are paying more for their insurance coverage than those in tort states because, in most cases, they only need to purchase liability coverage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Another reason that drivers in some states will pay for more coverage than in other states is because some states require that their drivers purchase more than just liability.

For example, a state may obligate drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.

By mandating that all drivers purchase liability coverage, the states have set out to decrease instances when drivers cannot take financial responsibility for the damages they cause when they drive recklessly.

When people do not do this and drive uninsured or underinsured, the injured drivers have the recourse of obtaining payment for their bills with their uninsured motorist coverage.

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The Basic and Standard Policies

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When people opt to buy just the liability coverage that is required of them in tort states, they are purchasing the basic policy.

Every auto insurance company is required to sell packages that include at least the state’s minimum requirements.

The other choice people have when they wish to purchase more than just the minimum requirements is to buy a standard policy.

With the standard policy, they will have the liability coverage they need in tort states plus the extra coverage they must have in no-fault states and the optional coverage they choose.

Making Auto Insurance Affordable

If drivers have a difficult time affording their insurance policies, they may decide that they would like to purchase the basic policy.

With the least amount of insurance, these drivers will obtain the lowest prices for their auto insurance coverage.

Although purchasing the state’s minimum requirements only will keep drivers from receiving penalties and possibly losing their licenses, it will not be enough coverage to keep them from losing their savings to the repairs needed on their own vehicles and their medical bills.

Compare Auto Insurance Quotes

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By comparing the quotes a comparison website can give them, they will find that they receive some high quotes but that they will also receive some surprisingly low quotes.

When they look into these auto insurance companies further, they will discover that they would be able to purchase a policy that has very good coverage for them at a price they can more easily afford.

Be sure to use our FREE auto insurance comparison tool below by entering your zip code below!

References:

  1. https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/auto/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liability_insurance
  3. https://www.libertymutual.com/auto/car-insurance-coverage/bodily-injury-liability
  4. https://www.nationwide.com/auto-liability-insurance.jsp
  5. http://www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com/insurance/Alternative-Markets/Products/Pages/Commercial-General-Liability.aspx
  6. http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/T/Tort.aspx
  7. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/personal-injury-protection-insurance.aspx