Here’s everything you need to know about auto insurance in the Constitution State.
Find The Right Insurance
Let our Perfect Policy Connectors do the work for you!(855) 909-2474Request a free quote
Like the majority of states in the U.S., Connecticut requires you to buy car insurance. On average, people in Connecticut spend $1,229 annually on car insurance, which is 17 percent more than the national average. In this article, we’ll explain every aspect of car insurance and driving laws in the state of Connecticut.
Car insurance requirements vary by state. In Connecticut, drivers must carry liability coverage for bodily injury, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and property damage. The minimum limits for bodily injury and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The property damage minimum limit is $25,000.
It’s tempting to only buy enough auto insurance to fulfill the minimum state requirements, but state minimums are rarely enough to protect you. It’s smarter to increase your liability limits to as much as you can afford to protect yourself if you’re in a serious accident. If you are at fault in an accident and don’t have enough liability coverage to pay the cost of damages that you’ve caused, you will still be held financially responsible.
Having the highest possible liability coverage levels is the best way to protect yourself from asset seizure or wage garnishment. Choosing higher limits depends on your personal budget, but drivers should carry a minimum of 100/300/100 in liability coverage. This means $100,000 for bodily injury claims per person, $300,000 in bodily injury claims per accident, and $100,000 in property damage claims.
While Connecticut only requires liability insurance (which covers the other party’s medical expenses and property repairs in an accident that you cause) and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (which covers your medical expenses and property damage when the driver at fault in an accident is uninsured or underinsured), most drivers should get comprehensive and collision insurance, as well. We recommend that you set the limits on these two types of insurance to match the market value of your car.
Check out our page on how much car insurance you need to learn more about coverage limits.
Comprehensive auto insurance protects you from the day-to-day risks of car ownership: vehicle damage from vandalism or weather events, vehicle theft, falling objects, or other collision-related events not related to a car accident. About 78 percent of insured drivers have comprehensive coverage.
While liability insurance only covers the cost of damage to the other driver’s vehicle, collision insurance will pay for repairing or replacing your own car in the event of an accident, no matter who was at fault. Around 74 percent of U.S. drivers purchase collision insurance.
Some states require you to get specific insurance to cover the cost of medical bills. Although Connecticut does not, it’s still a good idea to purchase MedPay. MedPay covers medical expenses from accidents no matter who was at fault and whether or not you have health insurance.
According to the latest 2020 estimates from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Connecticut drivers spend an average of $1,229 on annual premiums.
Average liability coverage costs $791, collision coverage costs $400, and comprehensive coverage costs $139 annually. The minimum coverage can range from $427 to $1,569, while full coverage can cost between $1,071 to $4,649.
To lower car insurance rates, consider adjusting your deductible, dropping unnecessary coverage, or looking for car insurance discounts.
Note that the average rate depends on many factors, like zip codes and driving history. Compare car insurance quotes and take into account customer service when deciding on a provider.
Since auto insurance is required by law, drivers need to carry proof of insurance to avoid penalties. Failure to show proof of insurance results in fines and a license suspension.
Below, we’ve listed the fines and penalties for offenders:
|Offense number||Fines||License and registration suspension (in months)|
A vehicle owner must carry an insurance identification card and registration in the vehicle at all times. Some insurers will provide digital versions of proof of insurance with a mobile app.
Like the majority of U.S. states, Connecticut uses an at-fault system. That means the driver who is determined to be at fault in an accident is responsible for property and bodily injury damages. Connecticut abides by modified comparative negligence laws; which means an accident victim is only compensated if their degree of fault is less than 50 percent. If they’re any percentage at fault, their compensation is reduced by their degree of fault.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can cover bodily injury and property damage. If the other party is uninsured, you will receive reimbursement. Unfortunately, if you’re an accident victim, you can’t stack coverage within single and multiple policies.1 Stacking consists of combining coverage limits for several vehicles.
In Connecticut, it is a criminal offense to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of more than 0.08 percent. If the driver is under age 21, the BAC limit is 0.02 percent.
If you are caught drunk driving in Connecticut, you will face a number of penalties, up to and including jail time. The severity will depend on the circumstances of each particular case and the number of previous offenses that you have. The penalties upon conviction are as follows:
|Offense number||Fines||Imprisonment||License suspension||Interlock device requirement||Hours of community service|
|1||$500-$1,000||6 months maximum||45 days||1 year||100|
|2||$1,000-$4,000||120 days to 2 years||45 days||3 years (or 2 years if under 21)||100|
|3||$2,000-$8,000||1-3 years||Permanent driver’s license revocation||10 years||1002|
Connecticut has a 10-year washout or look-back period, which means that a DUI will stay on your record for 10 years. A first-time offender charged with a DUI may apply to the court for admission to the Pretrial Alcohol Education Program. The applicant must state under oath that they have not been in the program within the previous 10 years. The court will dismiss DUI charges if the driver completes the program satisfactorily.
Connecticut has primary seat belt laws, which allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic infraction taking place. Drivers and front-seat passengers must wear safety belts at all times. Additionally, all passengers ages 4 to 16 in the back seat need to wear safety belts. Fines for adults who don’t wear seat belts start at $92.
In Connecticut, it is illegal to use any handheld mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who are 16 or 17 years old can’t use cell phones or mobile devices at any time, even hands-free accessories. Penalties include $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for each subsequent offense. If you’re driving distracted and receive fines for offenses, you may receive demerit points on your driving record, which could lead to a license suspension.3
|Driver age||Permit/license type||Passenger restrictions||Curfew||Supervision||Cell phone restrictions|
|16-17||Learner’s permit||Can’t have any passengers except for licensed driving instructor, parents, or legal guardian (all wearing permanently installed seat belts)||None||Must be accompanied by someone at least 20 who’s had a driver’s license for 4 or more consecutive years||Can’t use any mobile electronic devices|
|16-17||Driver’s license||Under 18: Can only drive with parents, guardians, or licensed adults at least 20, with no other passengers
After 18: Can drive with any passengers
|Under age 18: Can’t drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless it is for employment, school, religious activities, or a medical emergency||First 6 months: Can only drive with parents or legal guardian, at least 1 of whom holds a valid driver’s license
Next 6 months: Can drive with immediate family
|Can’t use any mobile electronic devices|
The statute of limitations for auto insurance claims in Connecticut is two years for both property damage and personal injury claims. If an accident or injury leading to wrongful death occurred, you can’t file a claim after more than five years.4
Auto insurance companies cannot cancel policies that have been in force for over 60 days except under the following circumstances:
Non-renewal occurs when your company decides not to renew your policy once it expires. Insurance companies must give you notice and explain the reason before they drop your coverage. Reasons may be because they no longer offer that type of insurance, they don’t want to write as many policies in your area, or because you have been convicted of a DUI.5
Companies need to notify you of the following cancellations and non-renewals within a certain number of days prior to your expiration date.
Connecticut allows drivers to self-insure (meaning they purchase bonds instead of car insurance) at the discretion of the insurance commissioner. You must prove that your self-insurance meets the minimum state requirements for auto insurance to be approved.
In Connecticut, you are required to get an emissions test for most vehicles every two years. To register certain motor vehicles such as pickup trucks or motorcycles, you will also need a vehicle identification number (VIN) verification.
For the emissions test, you’ll receive a letter from the DMV 45 days before your vehicle is due for an emissions test. If you have a diesel vehicle, it may require exhaust emissions inspections through the DMV’s commercial vehicle safety inspection.
The emissions test for your vehicle requires the following inspections:
These are the exceptions that means your vehicle doesn’t require an emissions inspection:
Call 1-877-4MYC-TVIP or visit https://www.ctemissions.com/FindATestCenter to find locations for your emissions inspection. Emissions tests cost $20 at privately owned automotive service facilities located throughout the state.
If you have a car, pickup truck, or motorcycle that was registered in another state, you will need a VIN verification to register your motor vehicle in Connecticut. You can find a VIN Verification Station at https://ctemissions.com/VINVerifications.
An SR-22, or certificate of financial responsibility, proves you meet the minimum state requirements for auto liability insurance. Drivers need SR-22s after being convicted of serious traffic violations, such as any of the following:
These drivers are considered high-risk and need to maintain their SR-22 filing statuses for one year following their license reinstatements. Additionally, their insurance rate will vary based on the violations and the severity of the accident. The cost of an SR-22 is approximately $25 in Connecticut.
You can still get auto insurance without a license, though you may have more difficulty finding an auto insurance provider.
Defensive driving courses teach you driving strategies to help you avoid accidents. Connecticut state law mandates insurance companies offer a minimum of 5 percent discounts to drivers 60 and older who have successfully completed DMV-approved accident prevention courses. If you meet the requirements, you’ll qualify for the minimum discount regardless of your driving history.
If you are younger than 60 years old, insurance companies are not legally obligated to offer you premium discounts, but some companies offer discounts voluntarily. These discounts can exceed 5 percent, so check with your provider for more information on if you qualify.
The discount will apply to your policy for at least two years following the completion of a course. You can take defensive driving courses from any of these providers:
In at-fault states like Connecticut, each party pays for damages based on their degree of fault. If you disagree with your payout, you can file suit and seek uncompensated economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, and noneconomic damages such as pain, suffering, and anxiety. There are currently no damage caps or serious injury thresholds for personal injury cases in Connecticut.8
In Connecticut, you are required to report a car accident to the police if any bodily injury or death occurs, or if property damage costs over $1,000. You have five days to report an accident; otherwise, you’ll face penalties such as 90 days to four years in prison and/or fines of $1,000 to $10,000.
According to Root Inc., 66 percent of the general American population are not aware that credit score is a factor in auto insurance calculations.9
Connecticut doesn’t regulate price discrimination by auto insurance companies based on either credit score or sex. This means that insurance companies in Connecticut can take your credit score and gender into consideration and increase your yearly premiums accordingly. Additionally, in Connecticut, women pay a few dollars less for car insurance than men do.
A car is declared a total loss after an accident if any of the following is true:
Connecticut relies on the total loss formula, under which a car is a total loss when the salvage value is less than the cost of repair.
Once you have established residency in Connecticut you have 90 days to transfer your registration from your previous state. Here’s how to do it:
Fees for registering vehicles depend on your type of vehicle and its usage.
|Vehicle type||Usage type||Registration fee|
|Passenger, SUV, van||Regular||$80|
|Passenger, SUV, van||Taxi||$266|
|Trailer||Commercial||$47-$1,546 (based on GVWR)|
|Trailer||Seasonal||$47-$1,546 (based on GVWR)|
Combination fees vary for both passenger and commercial usage.
|Registered GVWR (in pounds)||2-year fee||13-18-month fee||7-12-month fee||1-6-month fee||3-year fee|
|Less than 3,001||$94||$70.50||$47||$23.50||$141|
You can contact the DMV in one of three ways.
You have three options to contact the insurance department:
The average cost of car repairs in Connecticut (including parts and labor) is $401.55, 5 percent higher than the national average. On average, labor accounts for $153.58 of the total cost of repair, and parts account for $247.97.
According to the FBI, the motor vehicle theft rate in Connecticut in 2020 was 237 per 100,000 inhabitants, 4 percent lower than the national average.
Based on 2020 estimates, the top five spots for motor vehicle theft in Connecticut include the following metropolitan statistical areas:
|Metropolitan statistical area||Motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|New Haven-Milford, CT||338|
|Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT||254|
|Norwich-New London, CT||135|
In 2019, Connecticut’s average fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 249, which is 184 percent lower than the national average.
By now, you have a solid grasp on the basics of auto insurance in Connecticut and the ins and outs of state driving laws. Check out our state-by-state guide to driving for more information about how driving in Connecticut compares to the rest of the country.
Typically, car insurance follows the car in Connecticut. Bodily injury liability, personal injury liability, uninsured motorist protection, collision, and comprehensive coverage payouts are all based on the car registered on your insurance policy, not the driver.
If you’re found at fault for an accident in Connecticut, your annual auto insurance premiums may go up by an average of $547.
The average yearly cost of car insurance for 18-year-old drivers in Connecticut is around $6,276.
You will need to purchase full-coverage auto insurance, which includes liability, collision, comprehensive, and gap insurance for a leased car in Connecticut. Additionally, since you’re leasing a car, you need to have insurance that covers damages to the leased vehicle for the duration of the lease.
The minimum limits for liability insurance are $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and $25,000 per accident for property damage liability. The minimum limits for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. However, your lessor may have higher limits.
What Is Insurance Policy Stacking and Can Connecticut Motorists Stack Multiple Policies? Brickley Law. (2022).
CONNECTICUT DUI LAW. CT.gov. (2012, Jul 17).
Distracted Driving Prevention. CT.gov. (2022).
Connecticut Car Accident Laws. NOLO. (2022).
What’s the difference between auto policy cancellation and nonrenewal? Insurance Information Institute. (2022).
CHAPTER 700 PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE. CT.gov. (2022).
Program Information. Connecticut Emissions Program. (2022).
Connecticut Personal Injury Guide. The Courtroom. (2021, Jun 17).
Credit scores and car insurance: How Unfair Pricing Practices Discriminate Against Millions of Drivers. Root Inc. (2022).