A guideline on required insurance, the law, and key statistics
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Louisiana is the most expensive state for car insurance in the U.S. In fact, the typical consumer in the state spends an average of $1,495 on car insurance each year, which is 43 percent higher than the national average, according to statistics from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ 2020 report. For drivers who aren’t able to obtain insurance in the open marketplace, the state offers plans for those who are eligible through the Automobile Insurance Plans Service Office. Keep reading to learn about your options.
Louisiana requires drivers to have car insurance with a minimum of $15,000 bodily injury per person, at least $30,000 bodily injury per accident, and a minimum of $25,000 property damage liability. Bodily injury liability covers the accident-related medical, legal, and funeral costs of the other driver if you are at fault in an accident. Meanwhile, property damage helps to repair damage to their vehicle or other damaged property, such as a fence, if you are at fault in an accident. Learn more about the minimum car insurance in Louisiana.
Aside from minimum coverages, which coverages do you need and what limits should you choose?
Your insurance coverage limits should be based on a number of individual factors, including personal assets and geographic location. In general, it is imperative to work with an insurance agent to buy appropriate coverage in Louisiana.
Higher-net-worth individuals should also work with financial planners. The amount of coverage you need to buy will depend upon the value of your vehicle, other insurance policies you currently have, and your assets. Make sure your insurance package includes the following coverage.
Louisiana drivers don’t need personal injury protection, which covers medical bills, funeral expenses, and wages regardless of who is at fault. Rather, drivers can buy medical payments coverage, commonly known as MedPay, which covers medical bills only.
Michael G. Rivas, a certified financial planner and enrolled agent registered in the state of Louisiana, said that if you don’t have a lot of assets or earn high wages, Louisiana’s state-required minimums can be sufficient since the person seeking damages would obtain compensation from the insurer (and there are no assets to seek in court).
However, for higher-net-worth individuals, the general rule is that your assets and liabilities influence insurance coverage amounts. “You should protect your net worth,” Rivas said. Your 401(k) and IRA are protected from accident-related lawsuits, according to Rivas.
However, wealthier individuals should buy umbrella policies that match their net worth (assets minus liabilities) for added protection. Rivas also mentioned that the court can rule to garnish your wages in an accident-related lawsuit, which an umbrella insurance policy can help cover.
What is the cost of car insurance in Louisiana? Unfortunately, Louisiana is the most expensive state in the U.S. for car insurance. This is due to the high amount of accident-related litigation and uninsured/underinsured motorists, which forces more drivers to go to court, according to the Laborde Earles law firm in Louisiana.1
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ 2020 data, Louisiana consumers spend $1,495 annually on car insurance, the highest amount in the nation. By coverage, the 2020 average annual cost of liability coverage in the state was $979, the average annual cost of collision coverage was $452, and the average annual cost of comprehensive coverage was $254.
Based on a total average of this data, Louisiana’s average annual car insurance rate is 43 percent higher than the national average. On average, drivers in Louisiana pay more than double the cost of car insurance in North Dakota, the state with the lowest average rate.2
However, car insurance quotes will vary based on the required coverages, whether or not you have a clean driving record, and other factors. To find the cheapest car insurance in Louisiana, compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies.
These are some of the car insurance providers in Louisiana:
Aside from searching online for the best car insurance rates, you can lower your monthly premiums with insurance discounts. You can find savings by enrolling in defensive driving courses, bundling the different insurance policies you have (such as home and auto) under the same insurer, raising your deductible, or lowering your coverage limit for accidents.
What happens if you don’t have proof of insurance?
If you don’t have proof of insurance, the fine is not more than $500 for the first through third offenses. The state will suspend your car registration and revoke your license plates until you can provide proof of valid insurance and pay the reinstatement fee.
The reinstatement fee is $50 plus $10 impoundment for the first offense, $150 plus $10 for the second offense, and $500 plus $10 for the third offense. If you are unable to show documented proof of insurance, the state reserves the right to impound your vehicle. You would also be subject to storage and wreckage fees.
According to Louisiana state law, proof of insurance can be an insurance card, an insurance binder for new policies, your insurance policy’s declaration page, or a written letter on behalf of the insurance company. Some insurers offer digital proof of insurance via a mobile app or a downloadable card.
In the following section, we will discuss the fault system and other state laws that you need to know.
Louisiana is an at-fault driver state, which means the driver at fault is liable for the other driver’s losses involved in the accident. This includes property damage and bodily injuries.
The state of Louisiana is a pure comparative negligence state, which means the drivers can split the costs of the damages according to their degrees of fault. For instance, if one driver is responsible for 30 percent of the accident, that driver would need to pay 30 percent of the total losses.
Louisiana doesn’t require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage. The state allows unstacked insurance coverage only. This means if you own multiple vehicles, you can’t combine your policies to increase uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage amounts.
In the state of Louisiana, a DUI will stay on your driving record for five years.3 Your license will be suspended for two years for the first offense, and your vehicle will be confiscated. You will need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle if you are found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.2 percent or above or have had repeated convictions. IIDs are highly incentivized for first convictions, although they’re not mandatory.
For BACs of 0.15 percent or above, there are enhanced penalties at the court’s discretion. For the first offense of a BAC 0.2 or above, there is a $750 to $1,000 fine and a two-year license suspension (as opposed to one year). For the second offense of a BAC 0.2 percent or above, there is a four-year license suspension (as opposed to two years).
Louisiana has a primary seat belt law for all passengers ages 13 and up. This means law enforcement can issue a ticket to the driver for noncompliance with the law without any other driving offenses having taken place.4
In Louisiana, there is a ban on handheld cell phone usage for drivers in school zones. The state bans texting for all drivers. Also, Louisiana bans handheld cell phones for all teen drivers under 17 years old as well as novice drivers who have had their licenses for less than one year.
Fines for texting and driving start at $25 and go up to $500 for the first offense, with possible community service at the judge’s discretion. Each subsequent violation is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, a 60-day driver’s license suspension, and possible community service, again, at the judge’s discretion.5
Teens can drive with learner’s licenses under the supervision of a parent or an adult driver who is at least 21 years old, a licensed instructor, or a sibling who’s at least 18 years old. No other passengers are allowed.
Violations can restrict the driver from obtaining a full driver’s license for 30 to 180 days. The driver’s supervisor, such as the parent, can be held liable and face a fine of $100 to $500 and up to six months in jail if the teen driver is found to be in violation of the law.
In Louisiana, the statute of limitations of claims is one year for both property damage and personal injury claims. This means if you are seeking additional accident-related payments or disputing a denied insurance claim in a court of law, you and/or your attorney must file the paperwork within one year from the date of injury. After that date, it is highly likely the court will not hear your case.
Insurance companies in Louisiana need to give you at least 30 days of written notice if they choose not to renew your car insurance policy prior to its expiration date. If you miss a premium payment while your current car insurance policy is in effect, insurers have 10 days to notify you via mail or email prior to canceling your policy for nonpayment.
For midterm cancellations due to a suspended license from a DUI, on the other hand, insurers typically give a 30-day notice. For misrepresentation on your application, according to Louisiana state law, the insurer can cancel your policy even if it has been in effect for more than 60 days.
Louisiana allows bonds instead of car insurance, also known as self-insurance, if you own more than 25 vehicles. The state requires a minimum of $100,000 in collateral.6
In the state of Louisiana, you need to have your car inspected for emissions and safety every two years at any official Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. You can find a list of inspection stations at https://deq.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/Air/Web_StationList_current.pdf.
The state also requires a smog check in certain parishes and cities, such as Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge. You have one month to complete the inspection after your inspection sticker expires. Contact your local DMV at https://expresslane.org/ to confirm if your vehicle also needs a smog check (see exemptions below). Overall, Louisiana includes emissions inspections with its annual safety inspections for a total cost of $18.7
Vehicles 40 years old or older are exempt from smog checks. Also, cars over 25 years old that are registered as antiques and/or primarily used for exhibitions are exempt from safety inspections.
An SR-22 is a financial responsibility insurance certificate that verifies you have the minimum amount of motor vehicle liability insurance. It is required in this state if you have any of the following:
In these cases, the state would require you to obtain an SR-22 for three years after your reinstatement date.
Defensive driving is using safe driving strategies to avoid hazards. You can take defensive driving courses in person or online. Typically, these courses are four to six hours long. Be sure to compare rates according to your location since some online programs can cost between $25 and $50.
Taking a defensive driving course can reduce any points you may have on your driving record. Also, many insurers offer discounts on your insurance premiums if you enroll in these courses.
In Louisiana, there is no monetary threshold or serious injuries threshold associated with a car accident. This means the amount of monetary damages or the level of serious injury from a car accident does not need to meet a threshold amount in order for you to file a lawsuit.
Unlike other states, where reporting a car accident to the police is legally required in certain circumstances, Louisiana does not require this.
In Louisiana, insurers can request the credit score and the gender identity of an applicant. In other words, if everything else is equal, male drivers who have lower credit scores will pay higher monthly premiums than female drivers with higher credit scores.
In Louisiana, an insurer can declare a total loss if the damage meets the state’s total loss threshold, which is 75 percent of the car’s fair market value. In other words, if a car’s repairs cost 75 percent or more of its fair market value, it will be declared a total loss and won’t be repaired.
We’ve compiled a list of key information for car registration in Louisiana and how to obtain a replacement if your document is lost or stolen.
You need car insurance to register your vehicle in Louisiana. Here’s how to get it:
Find a complete breakdown of fees at https://revenue.louisiana.gov/Publications/20164(6_20).pdf.
As long as you own a car and don’t have any liens on it, you can request a duplicate copy of your car’s title. Here’s how:
You can contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance in three ways.
The average cost of car repairs in the state, including parts and labor, is $392, which is 2 percent lower than the national average. The average labor cost is $156, and the average parts cost is $236.8
Crime and traffic fatality rates in Louisiana are slightly higher than the national averages.
In Louisiana, the motor vehicle theft rate in 2020 was 8 percent higher than the average, with 267 incidents per 100,000 residents.9
These are the worst cities in Louisiana for car theft:
|Metropolitan statistical area in Louisiana||Rate of motor vehicle theft per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
The traffic fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2019 was 727 in Louisiana, which is 3 percent higher than the national average.
Now that you have an overview of car insurance requirements, laws, and statistics within the state of Louisiana, check out our complete auto insurance guide for more information on protecting your financial liabilities — or our state driving guide for all of the U.S.
Along with our Louisiana guide, we’ve compiled the state’s drivers’ most frequently asked questions here.
If you move to Louisiana from another state, you need up-to-date car insurance to register your vehicle in your new home state. Don’t cancel your policy before you move or before your replacement insurance coverage takes effect. Do the following instead:
Most car registrations in Louisiana are valid for two years. Classic cars that are at least 25 years old and paper-certified members of classic car clubs, with signed affidavits and notarized bills of sale, don’t require registration. For more information on license plates for classic cars, visit https://expresslane.dps.louisiana.gov/SpecialPlatesPublic/SpecialPlates1.aspx.
If your car fails inspection, you will be given an orange temporary sticker to display on your vehicle. In order to continue to drive the vehicle past the date on the temporary sticker, your car will need to pass a free reinspection or a retest within 30 days. Once the vehicle passes reinspection, you will receive a valid inspection sticker.
If the vehicle does not pass the free reinspection during the specified 30-day retest time period, your car will need to pass another full inspection (possibly at full charge), or you will be unable to legally drive the vehicle. Visit https://deq.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/Air/FAQ052914.pdf to view more common questions on inspections.
If you lost your registration card, you can pay $12 for a replacement in Louisiana (plus an optional service charge in certain locations). The DMV may assess an additional local fee of up to $6 if you’re applying for a replacement by mail.
Why Does Louisiana Have the Second-Most Expensive Car Insurance Rates? Laborde Earles. (2017, Aug 30).
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
LOUISIANA DWI DUI LAWS. DrinkDriving.org.
Seat Belts. Governors Highway Safety Association. (2021).
RS 32:300.7. Louisiana State Legislature. (2016).
RS 32:1042 – Self-insurers. Justia US Law. (2022).
Frequently Asked Questions. Louisiana Department of Environment Quality.
2020State Repair Cost Rankings. CarMD. (2020, July).
Crime in the United States. FBI.(2019)
NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. National Insurance Crime Bureau. (2021, Aug 31).