If you want to learn about car insurance in Louisiana, we’ve got all the information you’ll need right here. Keep reading for information on required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, the state’s higher-than-average prices, important coverage decisions, and more.
Louisiana is a “tort” state that requires all drivers to carry car insurance.
Louisiana law has certain standards that all auto insurance policies sold in the state must meet. Those standards require a minimum amount of liability coverage. The following table breaks down the minimum coverage amounts.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$15,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident
$30,000 total for all injuries in an accident
|Property damage liability||$25,000 total per accident|
When someone driving your car causes an accident, liability coverage pays for any victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $30,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $25,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 15/30/25 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover your medical bills or car repairs. It only covers those expenses for victims of accidents. Covering your own expenses requires you to buy optional types of protection listed in the sections below.
Driving in Louisiana without car insurance could end up being costly. If someone driving your uninsured car causes a crash, you could end up responsible for any victims’ medical or repair bills. You could also get your license plates taken and have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines:
|No. of offenses||Fine amount|
|1st||$75 – $100|
|2nd||$100 – $250|
|3rd & subsequent||$700 maximum|
There’s another drawback to driving without car insurance in Louisiana. If you’re uninsured and involved in an accident, you don’t have the same rights as insured drivers.
That’s because Louisiana is a “no pay no play” state. This means that uninsured drivers won’t be able to get compensated for the first $25,000 in property damage or the first $15,000 in medical bills. So if you’re an uninsured Louisiana driver and someone crashes into you, causing $10,000 in damages to your car, their insurance doesn’t have to pay for your repairs.
Louisiana law has allowed drivers to use electronic proof of insurance since 2012. The Bayou State was one of the first states in the U.S. to enact an electronic-proof law. That means your insurer might be able to give you an electronic copy of your insurance ID card that you can display on your smartphone or tablet. This is known in the industry as an “e-card.”
For the electronic document to be valid proof of insurance, it should clearly state at least the following:
In addition to required liability coverage, there are optional coverages you can add to your policy. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. Here are some of the most widely available coverage add-ons in Louisiana.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. More than 7 out of every 10 Louisiana residents bought comprehensive coverage in 2011.
Deductibles for comprehensive coverage must range from $0 to $250 in Louisiana, according to officials.
Comprehensive coverage may be especially important in cities like New Orleans, where there are higher-than-average rates of car theft. The National Insurance Crime Bureau found that, in 2012, New Orleans and its metro area has the most thefts of any metropolitan area in the state.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. More than 7 out of every 10 drivers in the state bought collision coverage in 2011.
In Louisiana, collision coverage must come with a deductible.
State regulators point out that “Many people drop their collision and comprehensive coverage when their cars are about five years old because they may be worth only a few thousand dollars.” You’ll need to decide what’s best for your particular financial situation.
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after an accident. It does so when the accident was caused by a driver who either:
In Louisiana, you have the option of buying “economic-only” uninsured motorist coverage. If you choose this option, you’ll have coverage for your medical bills, but you won’t have coverage for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
It pays for your car repairs if it was damaged by an uninsured driver. If you already have collision on your policy, you can’t buy this coverage.
Claims filed under this coverage come with a $250 deductible and are limited to whichever is less: $25,000 or the cash value of the car. However, higher recovery limits are available.
It pays your medical and funeral bills. It also does so for your family members and passengers. It provides coverage no matter who caused the accident.
It pays for towing and labor due to a mechanical breakdown. State officials say most auto policies limit this coverage to $25 per tow and that some car insurers will refuse towing coverage for older car models.
Louisiana has some of the highest car insurance costs in the U.S. The average cost of an auto insurance policy in the Pelican State was 40.6% higher than the national average in 2011. That makes it the 2nd-most expensive state for coverage in the U.S.
Premiums in New Orleans may be the highest in the state. According to one study, the city has the 3rd-highest average rates of any city in the entire U.S. Only Detroit and Philadelphia had higher average auto premiums in 2012, according to the study by Runzheimer International.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Pelican State:
Tennessee uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance pays your medical and repair bills.
But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the crash. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.
If you’re partially responsible, it changes how much you can get from the other driver’s insurer. Tennessee uses “pure comparative fault” to determine payment. That means the amount you get for your bills will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you’re 20% responsible for a crash, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay 100% of your bills. Instead, it pays only 80%, since you were 20% responsible. So in this example, if you have $10,000 in bills from a crash, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.
What if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay your bills? You use your own policy. Medical payments coverage will help pay your medical bills. Collision will help pay your repair bills. But both of those coverages are optional. You’ll be on your own if you didn’t add them to your policy.
Louisiana officials want you to know your rights as a driver in the Pelican State. Officials publish a Bill of Rights for Motorists in Louisiana that contains advice about repair estimates, costs, and payments. There’s also a Q&A with the state’s top insurance regulatory official, so you can get answers to your questions about Louisiana auto insurance.
Louisiana drivers should make sure a car insurer carrier is certified before buying Louisiana car coverage. The Louisiana Department of Insurance offers a verification tool so that consumers can make sure of their carrier is licensed.
Have you already filed a claim, only to find there’s a delay with your payout? Or is there another problem you want regulatory officials to know about? You can file an official complaint and regulators will follow up with you.
Sometimes, insurers refuse coverage if a driver has had too many traffic violations or accidents. The Louisiana Automobile Insurance Plan covers drivers that can’t find coverage from standard auto insurers. The Plan is the last-resort provider for Louisiana car insurance.
But beware: Since it’s populated with high-risk drivers, that’ll likely mean higher prices.
Louisiana has some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. According to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average Louisiana car insurance policy is 40% higher than the nationwide average.