What is Standard Coverage for Auto Insurance?

Last Updated on August 4, 2020

Standard auto insurance coverage is the basic insurance required to legally operate an automobile. This level of insurance is applicable to drivers who have an average risk profile and do not want to pay a considerable monthly premium for extensive insurance coverage. Though standard auto insurance coverage requires a higher deductible than would apply with comparably expensive auto insurance, the monthly premium is cheaper than that of more expansive coverage options. In short, this is the optimal way to be insured while driving on the road yet not pay an egregiously expensive monthly premium. Let’s take a closer look at what standard coverage for auto insurance is all about.

Qualifying for Standard Coverage Auto Insurance

standard coverage auto insuranceThose who have a fairly clean driving record along with minimal or no claims filed in the recent past are likely to qualify for this form of auto insurance. However, there are some drivers who will not qualify for this basic level of auto insurance due to an excessive number of accidents or claims. Such individuals might still be able to obtain auto insurance dubbed “high-risk” or “assigned-risk” insurance. Thankfully, the vast majority of drivers qualify for standard auto insurance.

The type of automobile an individual owns also impacts his or her eligibility for a standard auto insurance policy. Auto insurers rate drivers based on several different risk categories, one of which includes the vehicle that will be insured under the policy. Additional risk categories include gender, age, and credit rating/history.

Standard Auto Insurance Coverage Details

Liability insurance is applicable to bodily injury as well as property damage claims stemming from auto accidents that are the fault of the insured party. This coverage is applicable to the expenses of the driver or owner of the property who endured damage as a result of the insured driver’s on-road err. Liability insurance is not applicable to the driver who holds the policy. Aside from property owners and other drivers, this coverage is also applicable to pedestrians who are injured by the wayward vehicle.

The liability component of standard auto insurance is typically shown in ratio form. As an example, a 100/200/50 policy covers $50,000 worth of property damage, $200,000 of injuries to multiple individuals, and $100,000 for the injury of a single individual. However, this is not to say standard coverage has these exact minimums.  There is a good chance your state has a minimum liability insurance coverage requirements in the range of $5,000 to $50,000.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage Explained

While not required by law, standard policies can also include collision and comprehensive forms of insurance. Such coverages provide additional protection for the driver who holds the policy. The collision coverage that is a component of standard auto insurance reimburses the insured party for damage inflicted on the automobile as a result of the insured driver’s negligence or err. Most drivers have this form of insurance as a core component of their standard auto insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage is applicable to damage to a vehicle from another cause aside from a collision. Examples include:

What About Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Medical Payments, and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Standard coverage has the potential to include personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and medical payments coverage. At the moment, about a dozen no-fault states mandate that drivers have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage is optional in several states. This form of auto insurance coverage is applicable to medical bills as well as lost wages when you or a passenger endure an injury in an auto accident. PIP insurance is commonly called no-fault insurance as it covers costs no matter which driver is at fault.

Medical payments coverage is fairly similar to PIP. Medical payments coverage is applicable to medical bills regardless of whom is at fault in the accident. Medical payments coverage is not applicable to lost wages. However, medical payments coverage is optional in several states. Those who have health insurance might find medical expense coverage is unnecessary.

However, standard coverage should include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This form of coverage pays for the driver and his or her passengers’ medical expenses as well as damaged property when the driver involved in the at-fault collision lacks auto insurance. Though states mandate auto insurance such as the standard coverage that is the subject of this article, some drivers drive without it in violation of the law. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is also applicable to hit-and-run accidents. In short, every driver should have this form of coverage as there are plenty of negligent drivers who will either choose to drive with insufficient insurance or no insurance at all.

When in Doubt, Opt for the Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage

If you are short on money, do not drive often or have a vehicle that is not worth much, your best option is likely the standard coverage option. Standard coverage ensures you have the bare minimum of auto insurance coverage so you can legally drive your vehicle.

However, if you plan on leasing a vehicle or purchasing a vehicle with an auto loan, you will have to check to see if the lending company requires a certain level of auto insurance coverage. In some cases, leasing a new vehicle or leaning on outside financing to buy a vehicle necessitates auto insurance coverage above and beyond the standard coverage.

Auto Insurance Should not Subject Your Assets to Risk

Furthermore, you should also consider your assets when gauging whether standard coverage will suffice. The level of car insurance you obtain should be enough to safeguard your assets. This way, if you end up in an auto accident, you will not have to worry about whether your assets will be at risk in the event that you are determined negligent. The last thing you need is for a bare minimum standard auto insurance coverage to be maxed out, subjecting your hard-earned assets to seizure to make up the difference between the level of damages and the level at which you are insured.

If you are worried that your assets will not be protected by a standard auto insurance policy, you should look into purchasing additional liability coverage, purchasing umbrella coverage, or opting for a combined single limit policy.

Standard Auto Insurance Coverage Differs by State

Laws pertaining to standard auto insurance differ by state. There is no single overarching national policy that mandates a specific level of auto insurance coverage. Check your state’s nuanced rules to determine exactly what the standard auto insurance coverage is in your area. The majority of states mandate that drivers carry a minimum of liability insurance that covers the property damage and bodily injuries of others in the event of an accident.

Keep in mind some state laws are written in a punitive manner, stating that if a driver is involved in an accident and found driving without standard coverage for auto insurance, he or she will not be eligible to obtain compensation resulting from an accident, even if he or she did not cause that accident. Add in the fact that driving without standard coverage has the potential to result in a ticket, a driver’s license suspension, and a court summons and it is easy to understand why everyone is encouraged to carry standard coverage at a bare minimum.

Below are the minimum coverage requirements for each state:

AlabamaLiability: 25/50/25
AlaskaLiability: 50/100/25
ArizonaLiability: 15/30/10
ArkansasLiability: 25/50/25
CaliforniaLiability: 15/30/5
ColoradoLiability: 25/50/15
ConnecticutLiability: 25/50/25
UM/UIM BI: 20/40
DelawareLiability: 25/50/10
PIP: 15/30
District of ColumbiaLiability: 25/50/10
UM BI: 25/50
UMPD: $5,000
FloridaLiability: 10/20/10
PIP: $10,000
BI liability not required by Florida but many insurers require 10/20
GeorgiaLiability: 25/50/25
HawaiiLiability: 20/40/10
PIP or PPO: $10,000
IdahoLiability: 25/50/15
IllinoisLiability: 25/50/20
UM BI: 25/50
IndianaLiability: 25/50/25
IowaLiability: 20/40/15
KansasLiability: 25/50/25
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
PIP: $4,500 medical/$900 work loss
KentuckyLiability: 25/50/25
PIP: $10,000
LouisianaLiability: 15/30/25
MaineLiability: 50/100/25
UM/UIM BI: 50/100
Medical payments: $2,000
MarylandLiability: 30/60/15
UM/UIM BI: 30/60
UMPD: $15,000
PIP $2,500
MassachusettsLiability: 20/40/5
UM/UIM BI: 20/40
PIP: $8,000
MichiganLiability: 20/40/10
PIP: Medical and work loss
PPI: $1,000,000
MinnesotaLiability: 30/60/10
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
PIP: $40,000
MississippiLiability: 25/50/25
MissouriLiability: 25/50/10
UM BI: 25/50
MontanaLiability: 25/50/20
NebraskaLiability: 25/50/25
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
NevadaLiability: 25/50/20
New HampshireLiability: 25/50/25
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
Medical payments: $1,000
*Insurance not required in NH
New JerseyLiability: 15/30/5
UM/UIM BI: 15/30
UMPD: $5,000
PIP: $15,000
New MexicoLiability: 25/50/10
New YorkLiability: 25/50/10
UM BI: 25/50
PIP: $50,000
North CarolinaLiability: 30/60/25
UM BI: 30/60
UMPD: $25,000
North DakotaLiability: 25/50/25
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
PIP: $30,000
OhioLiability: 25/50/25
OklahomaLiability: 25/50/25
OregonLiability: 25/50/20
UM BI: 25/50
PIP: $15,000
PennsylvaniaLiability: 15/30/5
First party benefits (PIP): $5,000
Rhode IslandLiability: 25/50/25
South CarolinaLiability: 25/50/25
UM BI: 25/50
UMPD: $25,000
South DakotaLiability: 25/50/25
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
TennesseeLiability: 25/50/15
TexasLiability: 30/60/25
UtahLiability: 25/65/15
PIP: $3,000
VermontLiability: 25/50/10
UM/UIM BI: 50/100
UMPD: $10,000
VirginiaLiability: 25/50/20
UM/UIM BI: 25/50
UMPD: $20,000
WashingtonLiability: 25/50/10
West VirginiaLiability: 25/50/25
UM BI: 25/50
UMPD: $25,000
WisconsinLiability: 25/50/10
UM BI: 25/50
WyomingLiability: 25/50/20
GuideBI liability: Bodily injury liability
PIP: Personal injury protection
UM: Uninsured motorist coverage
UIM: Underinsured motorist coverage
UM BI: Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
UMPD: Uninsured motorist property damage coverage
PPI: Property protection insurance (MI)
James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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