Every state in the U.S. has its own rules for what type of insurance you have to carry to drive legally on its roads. However, some states don’t require you to carry insurance at all, although you generally still have to take responsibility for any damages you cause on the road. Specifically, there are only two states that allow you to drive without insurance: New Hampshire and Virginia. However, they have some special rules that you should still be aware of. Read on to learn about the states that have unique insurance requirements compared to the rest of the country.
New Hampshire is one of the two states that give you the option of legally driving without car insurance. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider getting it anyway. You’ll still be financially responsible for any injuries or property damage that you cause in your vehicle.
If you do decide to get auto insurance in New Hampshire, you’ll need at least a liability insurance policy that covers the following minimum limits:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
- $1,000 to cover your injuries
Liability insurance is only meant to cover the bodily injuries and property damage of other drivers involved in car accidents with you. New Hampshire demands a small personal injury protection coverage, but other than that, every dollar that the insurance company pays out in a liability plan goes to pay for the repairs, hospital bills, and other expenses that the other driver or property owner would hold you accountable for.
So, though you can save some money by driving without car insurance in New Hampshire, you’re rolling the dice and crossing your fingers that you’ll never get into an accident where you’re found at fault. If you do get into an accident and need to cover the other driver’s expenses, all that money you saved by not purchasing insurance will be for nothing.
Not everyone can avoid paying car insurance in New Hampshire. If a driver has been convicted of at least two minor traffic violations or one major violation, they can be required to show proof of insurance. If for some reason you’re required to get insurance in New Hampshire, you have two options to choose from: get a liability plan that has at least the minimum limits listed above, or deposit $75,000 with the New Hampshire treasurer. New Hampshire drivers pay an average of $598 annually for a minimum liability insurance plan.
Though Virginia doesn’t require you to have insurance to drive, you will have to pay extra to register your vehicle. Most states require you to show proof of insurance before you’re able to get your vehicle registered and make it street legal. Not Virginia — all you have to do is pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee every time you renew your vehicle’s registration.
The $500 fee does not give you any sort of insurance or protect you in any way. Therefore, you might be better off putting that money toward the peace of mind of insurance.
It’s assumed that when you agree to drive without insurance in Virginia, you are going to accept the risk and responsibility of paying for the bodily injuries and property damage of other drivers if you’re involved in a collision with them and found to be at fault. Having liability insurance can help you feel more financially secure in case an accident does occur.
If you decide to get insured in Virginia, you’ll need a liability plan that covers the state’s minimum limits. As of January 2022, those minimum limits are:
- $30,000 for bodily injury per person
- $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 for property damage
Insurance plans that go into effect in January 2025 or after will need to have at least:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Something else to think about is that drivers in Virginia pay an average of $555 for liability insurance, which is around the price of the fee you need to pay to drive without insurance. However, this number is just an average. What you pay for your insurance can depend on a number of factors, including which provider you choose, so your cost may be higher, but it might also be lower. If you take your time to research your options and look for good deals, you might ultimately be able to save money when you choose to purchase liability coverage.
What Affects the Cost of Your Insurance?
If you’re avoiding car insurance because you can’t or don’t want to pay for it, there are some methods you can use to lower the cost. Many factors come into play when an insurance company calculates how much it will charge you for insurance, including your:
- Location (your state, as well as where you are in that state)
- Credit score
- Driving history
- Vehicle make, model, and age
Some of these factors you can change, such as your location, but others will just take time to see a difference. For instance, many insurance companies view younger drivers and drivers with recent traffic violations to be higher risks. As you get older and maintain a good driving record, you might start to see lower insurance premiums. Your credit score is something else you can change and improve over time.
Your vehicle plays a big role as well. The older your car, the less your insurance may cost. Luxury models are more expensive to insure than other affordable options. Try to choose a model with more safety features, such as a family-friendly SUV rather than a muscle car, if you want to lower the cost of your insurance.
If you want to read more resources about insurance, vehicle maintenance, and car ownership in general, be sure to look through our blog. Even though it’s not required in every single state, insurance financially protects you from the road’s surprises, and equipping yourself with knowledge takes care of the rest.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.