Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

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: Jan 6, 2022

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's What You Need to Know

  • Drivers in most states need to meet the minimum level of insurance for their state to legally drive
  • It’s a good idea to get more than the minimum amount of liability to protect yourself from costly bills
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage aren’t legally required, but they are a good idea for drivers who want to protect their cars from costly repair bills

While buying a car is always exciting, it can also be confusing. Most drivers know they need car insurance to legally drive, but figuring out how much insurance you need can be challenging.

The minimum amount of insurance you need depends your state and whether you own your car. You most likely will need to get full coverage if you have a car loan.

If you’re asking yourself, “How much car insurance do I need?” the answer isn’t as complex as you might think. You can get help with Florida car insurance by speaking with an agent or looking online.

One of the first steps in figuring how much insurance coverage you need is to shop around for quotes to see what fits your budget. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool if you want to see what quotes might look like for you.

Types of Car Insurance

How much car insurance coverage do I need?

To determine how much coverage you need, you should first learn what each type of insurance is and if you need it.

While there are a lot of insurance products you can buy, there are three main ones: liability, collision, and comprehensive.

Liability coverage helps pay for damage you cause to other cars and property. Most states (except New Hampshire) have a minimum amount of liability coverage you need to drive legally.

Collision protects your car, no matter who is at fault for an accident. This includes accidents with other drivers as well as collisions with objects such as trees or walls.

Comprehensive covers your car against anything else that can damage it, including weather, vandalism, animal contact, and theft.

Other types of insurance that you can purchase include:

  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist. Even though most states require drivers to have insurance, not every driver does. This coverage protects your vehicle against drivers with inadequate insurance.
  • Personal injury protection. This gives you extra coverage for any medical bills you or your passengers incur after an accident.
  • Roadside assistance. When you purchase this, you can call for help anytime you’re stranded on the side of the road.
  • GAP coverage. GAP coverage is for drivers with an auto loan. You’ll likely owe more on your loan than the car is worth for the first year or so of your loan, and GAP coverage pays the difference if your car is totaled.

In general, you can’t go wrong with having all three of the main types of coverage. If you’re worried about your car, a mixture of all three will certainly protect your car from everything on the road.

However, you don’t necessarily need all three. If your car is older and low value, you can probably skip comprehensive.

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How much insurance do I need for liability?

If your state requires insurance (and most states do), you’ll need liability coverage. The good news is that liability coverage is the least expensive option of the three main insurance types.

If you’re on a tight budget, you own your car outright, and your vehicle is older or less valuable, you can get the minimum amount of liability as required. State minimum liability coverage is the cheapest insurance option.

You can check your state’s minimum coverage requirement by looking at your state’s MVD site.

Should you buy more than the state minimum?

Just because it’s the cheapest option doesn’t mean it’s the best. Even if you only want liability coverage, getting more than the minimum is usually a smart choice.

If you ever cause an accident, you’re responsible for the damages. If you get the state minimum requirement, your insurance may not cover the full cost of repairing the damage. If that happens, you’re responsible for paying the remaining amount out of pocket.

If you can’t afford a hefty payment for any property damage you cause, the courts can garnish your wages or seize your assets to pay for it.

Therefore, buying more liability insurance will keep you safe if you can afford it. You should buy the highest liability amount you can afford.

The best amount of liability coverage to buy is a 100/300/100 plan. This coverage is $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability, and $100,000 per accident in property damage. This will give you plenty of protection if you ever cause an accident.

How much insurance coverage do I need for full coverage?

Unlike liability, full coverage is not a state requirement. If you take out a car loan, the lender will likely require you to have comprehensive and collision on top of liability.

Comprehensive and collision insurance are a good idea for most drivers. No matter how much your car is worth, you’ll need to replace your vehicle if it’s totaled. If you only have liability, your insurance company won’t help you get a new car.

You should also consider comprehensive if you live in a high-risk area. A high-risk area is one with extreme weather risks, such as in tornado alleys or flood zones. Residents in rural areas need to watch for animal contact. Some urban areas have higher car theft rates.

How much does insurance cost?

Several factors go into the price of your insurance. These include:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your vehicle make, model, and year
  • Where you live
  • Your driving history
  • Your insurance history
  • Your credit score
  • How much you drive

Insurance companies will use all these factors to determine your price. No matter what coverage you end up buying, the right amount of insurance for you will fit your budget.

Here, you see the average price of the top insurance companies:

StateAverage price of state minimumAverage price of full coverage
Alabama$507$914
Alaska$435$729
Arizona$520$828
Arkansas$542$950
California$570$1,047
Colorado$649$1,116
Connecticut$833$1,181
Delaware$823$1,195
Florida$869$1,206
Georgia$892$1,283
Hawaii$448$781
Idaho$403$780
Illinois$507$976
Indiana$432$840
Iowa$339$795
Kansas$399$947
Kentucky$585$1,043
Louisiana$936$1,637
Maine$370$764
Maryland$700$1,256
Massachusetts$642$1,215
Michigan$873$1,494
Minnesota$483$939
Mississippi$511$1,105
Missouri$492$1,002
Montana$423$696
Nebraska$417$934
Nevada$798$1,258
New Hampshire$425$861
New Jersey$932$1,464
New Mexico$548$1,058
New York$869$1,485
North Carolina$371$838
North Dakota$303$808
Ohio$438$864
Oklahoma$502$1,100
Oregon$677$1,043
Pennsylvania$539$1,065
Rhode Island$869$1,467
South Carolina$645$1,145
South Dakota$327$872
Tennessee$456$957
Texas$631$1,295
Utah$568$984
Vermont$375$842
Virginia$468$920
Washington$667$1,077
West Virginia$513$1,072
Wisconsin$412$804
Wyoming$354$935

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You can also save money by taking advantage of car insurance discounts that your company of choice offers.

Before you decide on an insurance policy, you should figure out your budget. Once you know how much you can afford to spend on insurance, you’ll be able to figure out exactly how much insurance coverage you need.

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Find the Best Insurance for You

Buying insurance can be a confusing, complicated process, but you don’t have to do it alone. Using this guide is a good starting point, and you can work with an insurance agent.

When you’re ready to choose how much insurance coverage you need, you should get quotes from as many companies as possible. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool to see what quotes might look like for you.