How Much Auto Insurance Do I Need?

Posted October 13th, 2017 by Jason Metz

Auto insurance can be broken down into three main types: liability, physical damage to your vehicle, and medical coverages. While you'll need to carry the minimum as required by state law, you'll also want to carefully consider the value of your car as well as additional coverage. When determining how much liability insurance you'll need, make sure you're covered for an amount equal to your assets. That's because this is the amount you could be sued for if you cause an accident. Additionally, if you lease or have a lien on your vehicle, your lender or leasor may require you to carry comprehensive and collision insurance.

More: Types of car insurance

The following coverage packages illustrate common package types. This is a broad overview of what insurance companies offer.

Keep in mind, you can mix and match coverages depending on your specific needs. Also, the health insurance you carry might factor into what choices you'll make when selecting personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage.

Insurance companies offer a wide range of products. 

More: List of car insurance companies


This is the state required minimum coverage. Experts advise purchasing more coverage than the state-mandated minimums, as these limits are low and won't cover the costs if you cause a big accident. For example, repair of one bumper can cost over $3,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In California, for example, the minimum liability amount for property damage to others is only $5,000. Any damages over that amount could cost you out-of-pocket. 


Consider this level of coverage if your car is valued under $10,000 and you can afford to pay out of pocket for repair, but you want higher liability and medical coverages to protect your assets. We recommend at least $25,000 for Property Damage, $50,000/$100,000 Bodily Injury, and $50,000/$100,000 for Under/Uninsured Motorists.


This level of coverage is purchased most often. It includes both collision, comprehensive, and higher amounts of liability and medical coverage. This would be $50,000 worth of Property Damage, $100,000/$300,000 Bodily Injury, and $100,000/$300,000 Under/Uninsured Motorist.


This level of coverage is a good choice if you have a lot of assets. It will include both collision and comprehensive coverages for auto repair and a high level of liability and medical coverage. Typically this is $100,000 Property Damage, $250,000/$500,00 Bodily Injury, $250,000/$500,00 Under/Uninsured Motorist. Even if you buy a lot of coverage, you can find cheap car insurance by shopping around. 

From there, you can begin to compare differing products and discounts that each company offers. 

For example, some carriers offer accident forgiveness insurance. Many carriers offer multiple products like home or renters insurance and life insurance. This gives you a chance for a bundling discount.