insurance

Minimum insurance coverage for 4 policy types

Auto insurance: Don't dare go bare
Auto insurance: Don't dare go bare © Deklofenak/Shutterstock.com

For the upside of the money you'd save by going without auto insurance, there's one huge downside: It's illegal in 49 of 50 states.

All states except New Hampshire require some mix of minimal liability coverage for bodily injury and physical damage to protect others for auto accidents you cause. In New Hampshire, you only must demonstrate that you could handle the financial costs for an at-fault collision.

While you can lower your premium by purchasing your state's minimum insurance coverage, often called a "liability only" policy, Worters doesn't recommend it. "The limits are just so low that they're not going to pay for much," she says.

That could leave you stuck owing thousands of dollars in over-the-limit medical bills and property damage you cause. You'd also have to pay to repair or replace your vehicle and be financially exposed to theft or acts of nature, not to mention medical bills if you're hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Best options: Compare auto insurance rates to get the best deal. Buy a standard policy but pass on collision, comprehensive coverage and road service. Discounts are available if you bundle your auto and home policies. Still too pricey? Consider public transportation or pedal power.

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