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Louisiana drivers face some of the highest car insurance premiums in the country, according to average rate data from Quadrant Information Services. But the penalties for driving without insurance far outweigh insurance costs. To help drivers make informed decisions, Bankrate’s guide outlines Louisiana car insurance laws, consequences of failure to comply and optional insurance coverage you may want to consider.
What are the car insurance laws in Louisiana?
- Drivers are required to show proof of insurance to receive a driver’s license.
- Drivers must be able to show proof of insurance at all times while behind the wheel.
- Drivers are required to carry minimum liability coverage, which includes both bodily injury and property damage coverage.
Liability insurance in Louisiana
Louisiana car insurance laws require minimum liability coverage with 15/30/25 policy limits. This means drivers must carry:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability
Meeting these minimum requirements will keep you square with the law, but this coverage may not be enough to protect you from financial issues. Drivers who cause an accident that results in substantial damage to other drivers’ vehicles or major injuries to other parties will be held liable for damages exceeding their policy limits.
Further, liability coverage does not help pay to repair or replace your own vehicle after an accident you cause. Nor does it pay for damage related to vandalism, theft or weather-related incidents. For that, you would need to add full coverage to your car insurance policy. Full coverage typically includes collision and comprehensive insurance.
Is Louisiana a no-fault state?
Louisiana is an at-fault state, or “tort” state. This means that if you are responsible for causing an accident, your insurance policy helps pay for the other driver’s medical bills and vehicle damage up to your policy limits. If the other driver’s bills exceed your policy limits, you would need to finance the remaining costs out of pocket.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Louisiana
Drivers face stiff penalties for disobeying Louisiana’s car insurance laws. Louisiana law requires that all registered car owners carry automobile insurance. Those caught driving without it are subject to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000.
There are additional penalties if you fail to present proof of an active insurance policy or if you let your insurance lapse. If these insurances, your driving privileges could be suspended and your vehicle impounded. Your car registration and license plates could be revoked or canceled, as well.
If you are involved in an accident without liability insurance, your driver’s license could be suspended and your registration revoked for up to 180 days. Falsely claiming you have insurance has severe consequences, too.
Importantly, Louisiana is considered a “No Pay, No Play” state. This means if you do not have insurance, there are limits on how you’ll be compensated after an accident — even when it is the other driver’s fault. Without insurance, you are unable to recover the first $15,000 for personal injuries and the first $25,000 for property damage.
Additional auto insurance coverage options in Louisiana
Louisiana drivers spend an average of $3,618 per year for full coverage, the third-highest average in the country. While opting for minimum coverage can help you save money on your policy, it may leave you financially vulnerable in the event of an accident. There are numerous options to customize your policy for further financial protection:
- Collision: This covers your car if it’s damaged in a collision with another vehicle or a stationary accident.
- Comprehensive: This is the insurance that covers damage to your car caused by circumstances other than an accident. Common examples of this include theft, fire, vandalism and flooding. Comprehensive coverage can also help if you are involved in an animal collision.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist: This provides financial protection if you are involved in an accident and the at-fault driver does not carry insurance or does not have adequate insurance. It helps pay for necessary medical payments, loss of income and other expenses from the accident you need to recoup.
- Rental car reimbursement: For added convenience, this inexpensive option reimburses you if your car is in the repair shop due to an accident. Many carriers work directly with a rental car company for direct billing when you have this option.
- Gap coverage: If you total your new car in an accident, the amount you owe on your car loan or lease may be greater than the value of your vehicle. Gap insurance helps cover the difference.
- Roadside assistance: This provides help if you need towing, fuel delivery, lockout service and more.
Frequently asked questions
The best car insurance company in Louisiana will vary depending on what’s important to you. You may want to consider the company’s financial stability, customer satisfaction, average rates and discount opportunities when selecting a provider. Reading carrier reviews and referencing the 2024 Bankrate Awards winners for best overall auto insurer, best budget insurer, best customer experience and more can help you make an informed decision.
To find cheap car insurance in Louisiana, experts recommend getting quotes from several insurance companies to compare. Rates vary by provider since each has its own system for setting rates. You may want to start your search by referencing Bankrate’s cheapest car insurance in Louisiana resource, which is updated monthly. However, your exact premium will vary based on several factors specific to you and your vehicle, which is why it’s imperative to get personalized quotes before selecting an insurer.
To save on car insurance in Louisiana, it can help to get quotes from multiple insurers and ask about discounts like those for paying in full, signing up for paperless billing, taking a defensive driving course or purchasing multiple insurance products from the same company. Remember, when comparing quotes, it’s essential to specify the same coverage types and policy limits (or as close as possible) so that the comparisons are valid.
Ultimately, how much auto insurance you purchase is up to you, but some strong arguments favor maintaining more than the minimum coverage. These arguments tend to make two specific points. One is that minimum coverage may not be enough to pay for all the damage and injuries you might cause if you are at fault for an accident. The other is that liability coverage doesn’t cover your own vehicle costs or medical bills — it only covers financial losses you cause to others. Before deciding on a policy, you may want to speak with an insurance agent for further guidance.