Auto insurance protects you and your vehicle in the event of an accident. You may be required to have car insurance where you live, but is it the same everywhere in the United States? Is car insurance required in every state?

You may be surprised to learn that not every state requires it. How many states require car insurance? All except two: New Hampshire and Virginia.

Each state sets its own requirements for minimum car insurance. While auto insurance is not required in New Hampshire, drivers are still responsible for $25,000 for property damage and up to $50,000 for liability in the event of an accident. Drivers in Virginia can register as uninsured motorists, but they must pay the state $500 per year if they decline car insurance. 

However, they have no coverage if they get into an accident. In addition, if a driver is pulled over by police or involved in a car accident, and they cannot provide proof of car insurance or financial responsibility, they could have their driver’s license and registration suspended. Because of this, most drivers in those two states purchase car insurance anyway to protect them financially. 

Though auto insurance is not required in all states, financial responsibility is. So if you choose not to purchase an insurance policy and are then involved in an accident, you are still on the hook for any damages—which could mean tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, there is often less hassle and less risk by simply opting for your state’s minimum coverage.