How much car insurance do I need?

Learn about coverage limits, collision and comprehensive, deductibles, and other important terms to help decide on how much is right for you and how you can save.

Upset woman near her car after an accident

It's a common question: How much car insurance do I need? Unfortunately, there's no black and white answer. It depends a lot on what coverages you need and the amount of deductible you feel comfortable with. So let's try to break it down:

How much liability insurance do you need?

Liability covers expenses when you're at fault in a crash. The coverages extend to the vehicle and persons impacted by the crash but not the individuals in your car. Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage on your vehicle.

No one can predict exactly how much you'd have to pay if you cause a crash. But the key question to ask is: Can you afford to cover any damages exceeding your coverage limits? The higher your liability coverage limits, the more damages your policy might cover.

To get an idea of how much liability coverage you might need, add up the value of your home, cars, savings, and investments. Then subtract your debts (what you owe). For example, if the total "net worth" was $220,000, you could consider $250,000 liability for injuries per accident. If you feel you need additional coverage, you can increase it typically in $50,000 increments up to $500,000. If you feel you need coverage beyond that, consider an umbrella policy.


Do you need comprehensive and/or collision insurance on an old car?

Collision coverage covers repairs to your car if you're in an accident. Comprehensive coverage covers your car if it's stolen or damaged outside of an accident. You might not have not a choice to carry this coverage if your car is leased or financed; most lenders will require you to carry enough coverage to cover the cost of repairs to your car.

If you own the vehicle, you could consider whether the savings from dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage is enough to offset the risk of having to pay the entire cost of repairing or replacing your car. For example, if your car is totaled from an accident in which the other driver as at fault and has no insurance, hit in a parking lot while you were in the store shopping, or stolen from while you were hiking at a park, do you have the means to replace it without any help from the insurance company?

If your car is older, it might be time to drop the collision and comprehensive coverage and put that money into savings. You can take the cost of collision and comprehensive coverage and see if the insurance policy cost more or the same as the worth of your vehicle. If so, it might be time to drop the coverage. For example, if your car is worth $1,000 and your coverage costs $500 a year plus a $500 deductible, you're not really getting anything for your money.

How much should my collision and comprehensive deductibles be?

This is a balancing act. Higher deductibles typically lower your premium, but will increase your out-of-pocket costs if a loss occurs. Ask yourself how much you're willing and able to pay directly, often on short notice, to potentially save on your premium. If you want to lower the amount you have to pay when a crash occurs, you might want to opt for a lower deductible.

If saving money on your insurance is your motivating factor behind removing your collision and raising your deductible, consider these other car insurance money savings tips.

At any time, if you have questions about what your vehicle coverage should be, contact an agent today.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
Start a Quote
Select a product to start a quote.
Agents Near You
Contact Us

Also Important

Car Insurance Deductibles: Choosing Well

Learn what a car insurance deductible is and how it affects your car insurance coverage. Plus, tips on choosing auto coverages.

First Time Car Insurance: What You Should Know

Getting car insurance for the first time? Here is what to know about policy terms, coverage and potential discounts.

Related Articles

What Affects Car Insurance Premiums

What are the factors that affect car insurance premiums? Find out. Plus, how to lower car insurance rates.

Auto Insurance for Foreign Drivers

If you are visiting the U.S. or are an immigrant that recently arrived in the country, car insurance will be essential in order for you to drive.

3 Reasons Why Auto Insurance Rates Are Going Up

Why auto insurance rates are going up.