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Do I have to have car insurance?

Most states require you to carry liability insurance (which pays for damage that you do to others) and have laws outlining the minimum coverage you must buy. In states that don't require car insurance, you must show proof of financial responsibility — meaning evidence that you can pay for any damage you cause. See the minimum levels of required car insurance.

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Collision and comprehensive coverage is optional. Collision pays for repairs to your own vehicle in the event of an accident. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car that isn't due to car accidents — theft, fire, vandalism, natural disasters and collisions with animals. However, if you have a loan on your car, your bank may require you to carry collision and comprehensive until your car is paid off.

Last updated: Jan. 7, 2010
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