Louisiana requires drivers to maintain a minimum level of car insurance coverage to legally drive in the state. While average insurance premiums in The Bayou State are some of the highest in the nation, it is not worth the risk of driving without insurance in Louisiana due to the potential penalties you could face if caught. If you’re unable to show proof of coverage, you’ll likely receive a no-insurance ticket in Louisiana, and could face a fine or loss of license. Even worse, if you’re in an accident, you may have to pay out of pocket for damages. Bankrate can help you understand the consequences of driving without insurance in Louisiana and find insurance that fits your budget so you can stay covered.

Louisiana car insurance laws

Louisiana car insurance laws require a minimum of 15/30/25 liability coverage. This coverage means you have the following protection while you are behind the wheel:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury coverage
  • $30,000 of total bodily injury coverage
  • $25,000 of property damage coverage

While this is the minimum amount of coverage drivers in Louisiana are required to have, obtaining more coverage, like higher liability limits or adding optional coverage, could provide even better financial protection in the event of an accident. Minimum coverage is unlikely to cover all the expenses resulting from an accident, especially if you are responsible for causing the crash. You’ll have to consider the cost of repairs for the other person’s car and any medical bills that are the result of the crash — and that doesn’t take into account covering your own costs.

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Liability insurance in Louisiana

In Louisiana, liability insurance covers damages and injuries sustained by other drivers and their passengers in an accident when you are at fault. But Louisiana’s minimum auto insurance requirements might not offer adequate financial protection in a serious accident.

For instance, the minimum property damage liability coverage of $25,000 may fall short if the other vehicle involved is newer or more expensive to repair or replace. Similarly, the bodily injury liability minimum of $15,000 per person may not cover all medical expenses if passengers in the other vehicle sustained severe injuries.

To mitigate potential financial harm, insurance experts often recommend carrying more than the minimum liability coverage required by the state. This ensures that you are better prepared to handle the expenses associated with an accident, reducing the likelihood of facing significant financial strain in such circumstances. You may also want to consider purchasing full coverage car insurance, which includes both comprehensive and collision coverage for damage to your own vehicle. If you’re not sure how much car insurance you need, consider speaking with a licensed agent.

Is Louisiana a no-fault state?

Louisiana is not a no-fault insurance state. In a no-fault state, drivers carry special coverage that covers their medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. No-fault does not mean that no one can be found at fault for the accident. Rather, the system aims to streamline the claims process and reduce litigation by allowing drivers to turn to their own insurance company for compensation due to injuries.

Louisiana, however, uses a tort system for auto insurance. This means that after an accident, the at-fault driver (or their insurance) typically pays for the injuries and property damage sustained by the other party. Louisiana law requires drivers to carry liability insurance to cover these potential costs.

Louisiana does have laws regarding fault and comparative negligence. Louisiana applies a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover damages, but the amount you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This means if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident that caused $10,000 in damage, you can only receive $8,000 in compensation.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Louisiana

If you do not have a policy with coverage that at least meets the minimums required in Louisiana, you could face several consequences, as outlined by Louisiana law.You may face a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000 if caught driving without insurance in Louisiana. Your driving privileges can potentially be revoked, with the possibility that your vehicle will be impounded and your license plates canceled. In the event you get into an accident without insurance, your license can be suspended and your registration revoked for 180 days.

Falsely claiming you have insurance coverage can lead to a 12-18 month loss of driving privileges. Reinstating your license requires paying fees, as well as potential storage costs for impounded vehicles. Additionally, Louisiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law dictates that uninsured drivers cannot collect the first $25,000 of property damages and $15,000 of personal injury damages in accidents, regardless of fault, leaving uninsured drivers responsible for covering these costs out-of-pocket, adding financial strain even if you are the innocent party.

Potential fines and fees for driving without insurance in LA

Louisiana instituted an online insurance verification system in 2016 to handle the problem of uninsured drivers, who made up an estimated 13.7% of the state’s drivers in 2022. This system allows police officers to check on a driver’s policy status from their vehicle while at a traffic stop.

Reason for fee Amount
Failure to provide proof of insurance within three days $500-$1,000
Lapsed insurance for 11-30 days $125
Lapsed insurance for 31-90 days $275
Lapsed insurance for more than 90 days $525
Reinstatement fees Up to $850
Storage and/or wrecking fees for an impounded vehicle varies

Other car insurance coverage options in Louisiana

Louisiana car insurance laws require all drivers carry a minimum coverage insurance policy. Many drivers opt for additional coverage to provide more financial protection. While not all insurance carriers offer these endorsements, some common ones include:

  • Collision insurance: Collision insurance auto coverage can pay for damages to your vehicle resulting from an accident with another vehicle or object, no matter who is at fault.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive insurance protects your vehicle from damage that happens from something other than a crash, like theft or weather damage.
  • Gap insurance: If you are still paying off your car, gap insurance helps pay the difference between a car’s value and your remaining loan balance.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance covers services like towing, battery replacement, and flat tire replacements.

Getting into an accident without insurance in Louisiana

In Louisiana, having an accident without car insurance can leave you in a financial bind. If you are at fault in the accident, you will be legally required to pay all the costs incurred by the other driver, whether this includes medical expenses, a totaled car or damage to a stationary object. This is in addition to any of your own expenses from the accident.

If you are driving uninsured and get into an accident and it’s not your fault, Louisiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law means you’ll still face financial consequences. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance cannot be applied to the first $15,000 of your personal injury costs or the first $25,000 of property damage costs. These amounts will need to be paid out of your own pocket before the other driver’s car insurance covers the rest (up to its policy limits).

Even if you do not have a lot of money to spare, you can potentially save a great deal of money and avoid hefty fines by purchasing a minimum coverage policy in Louisiana. Although Louisiana car insurance is not inexpensive, it could be less of a strain than the penalties you risk by driving without coverage.

Frequently asked questions

    • Providing false insurance information is never a good idea. You will be fined and may have to pay significant fees and find your vehicle impounded. If you drive without insurance, you may think you are saving money in the short term, but in the long term, it could cost you thousands of dollars as well as the use of your car and license.
    • Louisiana is one of the most expensive states for car insurance, based on Bankrate’s study of average car insurance rates throughout the nation. Louisiana drivers pay an average of $942 per year for minimum coverage and $3,609 per year for full coverage (as of January 2024), significantly more than the national average of $740 per year for minimum coverage and $2,542 for full coverage.It’s important to keep in mind that your actual rate will vary based on multiple factors. You can, however, take advantage of discounts and compare car insurance quotes from different companies to find the best coverage at a premium within your budget.
    • The best car insurance company for you may not be the same as the one that’s best for your neighbor. There are multiple factors that go into your premium in Louisiana, ranging from your age and credit rating to the type and age of the car you drive. Your best bet is to gather multiple quotes and see which one is best for you.
    • There are multiple penalties, starting with a fee of $500-$1,000 if you fail to provide proof of your insurance when stopped or within three days after. You may also receive a ticket for not having insurance, have your car impounded or your license revoked, and face additional fees for lapsed coverage.
    • There are exceptions to Louisiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law. Exceptions include if your vehicle was parked at the time of an accident, if the other driver was under the influence during the incident, if you are a passenger or a driver from another state, or if you are carrying insurance that meets the minimum levels of coverage mandated by the state.