Connecticut Car Insurance
If you want to learn about auto insurance in Connecticut, we’ve got all the information you’ll need right here. Keep reading for information on required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, claims information, and more.
Mandatory insurance law
Connecticut is a “tort” state where all drivers are required to have insurance. You’ll have to prove that you’re insured when you:
- Get into an accident
- Are stopped by police
- Register your vehicle
Minimum Connecticut coverage requirements
Connecticut law has certain standards for car insurance policies. Every policy sold in the state must provide liability and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverages. The following table breaks down the requirements.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$20,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident|
|$40,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
|Property damage liability||$25,000 total per accident|
|Uninsured/undersinusured motorist bodily injury coverage||$20,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident accident|
|$40,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $40,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $10,000 for property repairs. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 20/40/10 coverage.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s medical bills or car repairs. It only covers those costs for victims of an accident.
Uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist bodily injury
When someone insured by your policy is injured in an accident, it helps pay their medical bills. It does so when the accident was caused by a driver who either:
- Doesn’t have insurance or fled the scene of the accident
- Has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills
Minimum policies have $40,000 worth of coverage total. See the optional coverages section for information on underinsured motorist conversion coverage.
Penalties for driving uninsured
If you break the law by driving without insurance, it could cost you. You could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills if someone crashes your car. You could also get your registration and driving privileges suspended. On top of that, you could have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees.
|Number of Offenses||Fine||License & Registration Suspension|
|1st||$100 - $1,000||1 month & until you prove you're insured|
|2nd & subsequent||$100 - $1,000||6 months & until you prove you're insured|
If you have an uninsured car, you could get fined even if you don’t drive it.
In Connecticut, officials use a verification process to find cars without insurance. They do so by matching up insurance and registration information in a DMV database. If the DMV shows that you dropped coverage on a registered car, they’ll send you a warning notice. If you don’t have insurance for the car or don’t reply to the notice, you could have your registration suspended and be hit with a $200 fine.
In addition to liability and uninsured motorist coverage, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.
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 4 out of every 5 Connecticut drivers bought this coverage in 2011, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. More than 3 out of every 4 Connecticut drivers bought this coverage in 2011, according to data from the NAIC.
Underinsured motorists conversion (UIMC)
It maximizes the amount you can get from your underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
With standard coverage, the amount you have available is reduced by payments from other sources. So if you have $75,000 worth of coverage and the other driver’s insurance already paid $50,000, your available UIM coverage is reduced to $25,000.
With conversion coverage, you can use the full amount you have included in your policy for left-over bills caused by an underinsured motorist. So if you have $75,000 worth of coverage included in your policy, you have that much UIM coverage no matter what.
It pays your medical bills from an accident. It also does so for your passengers. It provides coverage no matter who caused the accident.
It pays for the cost of renting a car after an accident.
Towing & labor
It pays for towing and labor due to a mechanical breakdown.
Full glass coverage
It pays for glass damage with no deductible.
Connecticut auto insurance rates
Car insurance premiums in Connecticut are much higher than average. The average cost of a policy in the state was more than 17% higher than the 2011 national average, according to data from the NAIC. That makes it the 9th-most expensive state in the U.S. for car insurance.
Expensive rates for Hartford drivers
Connecticut car insurance rates are pretty high compared with the rest of the country. But they’re exceptionally high in Hartford.
Hartford had the 8th-highest car insurance rates of any city in the country, according to a 2012 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 Constitution State:
- Progressive: Snapshot
- Allstate: Drivewise
- The Hartford: Truelane
- Travelers: IntelliDrive
How claims work in Connecticut
Connecticut 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.
In some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible.
If you’re partially responsible, it changes how much you can get from the other driver’s insurer. Connecticut uses modified comparative fault to sort this out. Here are the details:
If you’re more than 50% responsible for the accident: The other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay any of your bills. You have to completely rely on your own policy.
If you’re 50% or less responsible for the accident : The other driver’s insurer will pay your bills. But the amount they pay will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re 20% responsible for an accident, 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 an accident, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.
So what if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay your bills? You use your own policy. Medical payments 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.
Connecticut auto insurance companies
Know before you buy
If you’re buying from a small insurance company you’ve never heard of before, you may want to make sure it’s licensed to do business in your state. If you buy a policy from an unlicensed company, your coverage may be worthless.
Connecticut monitors who is and isn’t licensed in the state, and they provide an online tool that you can use to look up company information.
The Connecticut Insurance Department also lists enforcement actions. That way, consumers can find out if their car insurance agent or agency has had problems with regulators.
Don’t agree with your insurer about a claim? Those complaints, and others, can go to the Connecticut Insurance Department (CID). Regulators let you submit your formal complaints online.
Also, Connecticut officials post complaint rankings each year. The reports list how many complaints regulators receive about the largest insurers in the state.
There is also a state arbitration process for settling claim disputes. The process is only for property damage claims made under collision or comprehensive coverage. It cannot involve disputes over coverage or who is at fault.
Officials say that the process typically deals with disputes over:
- Car damages and repairs
- Car value
- Loss-of-use damages
- Rental bills for a replacement vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired
- Storage charges after an accident
After an accident, you want to have your claim handled fairly. Before you get your car repaired, you can review your repair rights in Connecticut. These include the right to:
- Select whichever repair shop you want
- Have your car insurer review a repair estimate
- Hold off on repairs until your car insurer agrees in writing to repair costs
Car insurance for high-risk drivers
Have a lot of traffic tickets or accidents? You might have a hard time finding car insurance coverage. In the Constitution State, you can still turn to the Connecticut Automobile Insurance Fund. It’s the car insurer of last resort for the state’s high-risk drivers.
Did You Know?
High average premiums
When it comes to average car insurance rates, Connecticut unfortunately has some of the highest in the country. The state had the 9th-highest average premium in the U.S. in 2011, according to data from the NAIC.