What to know when hitting the road in the Magnolia State
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Like most states, Mississippi requires its 2 million licensed drivers to carry auto insurance. How much does that cost?
On average, Mississippians pay $979 each year for auto insurance, which is 6 percent less than the national average. While Mississippi doesn’t require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it’s not a bad idea considering the state has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation. Learn more about car insurance in the Magnolia State below.
Mississippi does not require drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) or medical payments coverage.
While Mississippi requires only bodily injury and property damage liability, it’s wise to purchase additional coverage. UIM coverage is a particularly good idea, considering 29 percent of drivers in Mississippi are uninsured — the highest rate in the country, according to the Insurance Research Council.1
Mississippi has the highest proportion of uninsured drivers in the country: Nearly 3 in 10 drivers are uninsured.
Medical payments, collision, and comprehensive coverage will also provide greater protection in the event of an accident. Additionally, you’ll want to increase your liability limits beyond the required minimum. We recommend full coverage car insurance, although it’s more than what’s required in Mississippi via its state laws. Although the average rate for full coverage is higher, it will save you money if you have claims.
|Type of coverage||Whose losses it covers||What it covers||Minimum limit we recommend||Deductible|
|Bodily injury liability||Other party’s||Medical costs (injury or death)||$500,000 (combined with property damage)||No|
|Property damage liability||Other party’s||Property damages||$500,000 (combined with bodily injury)||No|
|Comprehensive||Yours||Vehicle damages from incidents other than collisions (e.g., weather, theft, vandalism)||Actual market value of your vehicle||Yes|
|Collision||Yours||Vehicle damages from collisions||Actual market value of your vehicle||Yes|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist||Yours||Property damages and medical costs in the event someone with insufficient or no insurance hits your car||$500,000||No|
|Medical payments||Yours||Medical costs (injury or death)||$500,000||No|
On average, Mississippians spend $979 on auto insurance annually. The average annual cost of liability coverage is $540, collision coverage is $363, and comprehensive coverage is $246. 2
These are averages, and you might pay more or less depending on other factors like your age, credit, vehicle, driving record, coverages, and provider. We’ve seen annual premiums as low as $301 and as high as $8,989. The cost of insuring teen drivers tends to be highest. To find the best rates, shop around with multiple providers before choosing one.
Auto insurance is a significant monthly expense, and it makes sense to find the cheapest car insurance provider. Additionally, here are some ways you can lower your costs without switching providers:
Ask your insurance provider whether it offers discounts for activities like using a GPS monitor, taking a defensive driving course, and maintaining a good driving record.
Like most states, Mississippi requires you to have proof of insurance. If you drive without insurance in Mississippi, you’ll face a $500 fine and a license suspension of up to one year. However, if you show proof of insurance before your hearing, the fine will decrease to $100 and your license suspension will be lifted.3
Avoid unnecessary fines, suspensions, and other headaches by always driving with proof of insurance. Mississippi accepts both paper and digital proof.
Check whether your provider offers digital proof of insurance on a mobile app, which you could then add to your smartphone wallet. You might also have the option to download a PDF. Of course, an old-fashioned paper insurance card in your glove compartment works just as well.
Mississippi is an at-fault state, which means that the driver responsible for the accident must pay for the other party’s property damage and medical treatments. (In no-fault states, each party pays for their own medical treatments). That’s why it’s a good idea to purchase medical payments coverage. Hospital bills can accumulate quickly, and you don’t want to be on the hook for paying someone’s bills out of your own pocket.
Additionally, Mississippi has pure comparative negligence laws. This means that if you and the other party were each partially responsible for the accident, you can split the costs according to the degree of fault. With pure comparative negligence, you can sue the other party to recover damages, even if you hold a higher degree of fault. For example, if you hold 90 percent of the fault for the accident, you can still sue the defendant for 10 percent of the damages.
UIM coverage helps you pay for expenses if a driver hits you and their liability limits are too low to pay for the damages, or they lack insurance altogether. While Mississippi does not require drivers to carry UIM coverage, it’s wise to purchase it anyway.
About 29 percent of Mississippi drivers — over 600,000 individuals — are uninsured. That’s 57 percent above the national average and the highest rate in the country. Because Mississippi has so many uninsured drivers, it will probably cost more to add UIM coverage to your policy than it would in other states.4
In Mississippi, UIM insurance is stacked, meaning you can combine your UIM coverage across multiple cars on a policy. If you choose to stack UIM coverage, your selected limits multiply by the number of cars you have. For example, if you choose limits of $50,000 for an accident involving one person and $100,000 for accidents involving two or more people, and you have two cars, your limits will increase to $100,000/$200,000. Additionally, UIM insurance in Mississippi covers hit-and-runs.
In Mississippi, a DUI stays on your driving record for five years. While Mississippi does not increase penalties for high blood alcohol content (BAC), penalties do increase for each subsequent DUI offense. For example, for second and subsequent offenses, the state requires the use of an ignition interlock device.
|Offense number||1||2||3 and up|
|Imprisonment||Up to 2 days||5 days to 1 year||1-5 years|
|License suspension||90 days to 1 year
You may be eligible for driving privileges with an ignition interlock device or by applying for hardship exemption.
You may be eligible for reinstatement of driving privileges after 1 year by completing a court-approved treatment program.
During the period of license restriction, the vehicle must be impounded or sold; if other licensed drivers depend on the vehicle, an ignition interlock device is required.
You may be eligible for reinstatement of driving privileges after 3 years by completing a court-approved treatment program.
During the period of license restriction, the vehicle must be impounded or sold; if other licensed drivers depend on the vehicle, an ignition interlock device is required.
|Ignition interlock device||Not required||6 months minimum upon license reinstatement||6 months minimum upon license reinstatement|
|Training/education||10 hours minimum of driver’s education program||Alcohol/drug abuse assessment and treatment as the court requires||Alcohol/drug abuse assessment and treatment as the court requires|
|Community service||Not required||10 days to 1 year||10 days to 1 year|
Mississippi’s seat belt law is under primary enforcement, which means the police can pull you over just for being unbuckled (as opposed to needing another reason, like speeding). Whether you’re sitting in the front or back seat, you must buckle up. A seat belt ticket is $25 for each unbuckled individual. The state also requires restraint systems, like car seats or boosters, for children under the age of 7.
Distracted driving includes texting and driving, eating and drinking while driving, and even changing the music in the car. It endangers yourself and others on the road.
Mississippi does not impose a special cell phone ban on young drivers, but texting and driving is illegal for all drivers. The penalty for texting and driving is a $100 fine. In some cases, a texting-and-driving violation can lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if texting while driving results in the death of another person, the state may charge the driver with vehicular manslaughter.
Distracted driving is under primary enforcement, meaning the police can pull you over solely for texting and driving. Mississippi allows all other handheld cell phone use, except for commercial drivers.
Mississippi teens can apply for their learner’s permits when they turn 15. They must drive under adult supervision (21 and older) for at least one year before they can apply for an intermediate license. The fee to receive a learner’s permit is $7. To receive an unrestricted license, teens must provide proof of school enrollment, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, or be 18 years old.
The state imposes a curfew for teen drivers, prohibiting them from driving at night unless under adult supervision. The curfew lifts when the teen has held their unrestricted license for six months or when they turn 18, whichever comes first.6
|Days||Prohibited driving hours for teens without adult supervision during first 6 months of unrestricted licensure|
|Sunday-Thursday||10 p.m. to 6 a.m.|
|Friday-Saturday||11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.|
If you’re involved in an incident, you have three years to file a property damage or personal injury claim. After that, an insurance provider isn’t required to pay for the claim.7
Auto insurance companies are not allowed to cancel policies that have been in force for over 60 days, except in the following cases:
In Mississippi, an insurance provider must give you at least 30 days’ notice for a midterm cancellation prior to the effective date. If you failed to pay your premium, however, it only has to give you 10 days’ notice.
Unlike cancellations, non-renewals mean that either you or your provider decided not to renew the policy once it expired. Like with cancellations, insurance companies must give you proper notice and explanation before dropping your policy.
There are several reasons a company might not renew your policy:
In Mississippi, if your insurance provider decides not to renew your policy, it must give you at least 30 days’ notice.
Like many other states, Mississippi allows individuals to self-insure a fleet of vehicles. To qualify for self-insurance, you must own more than 25 vehicles. The minimum required collateral is at the discretion of the Mississippi Insurance Department.
Mississippi does not require annual safety inspections unless you own a vehicle with tinted windows. The purpose of the inspection, in this case, is to ensure enough light can enter the vehicle.
In Mississippi, if you own a vehicle with tinted windows, you must visit a window tint compliance station each year for an inspection, or you could face a fine up to $300. The inspection costs $5.
To find a compliance station near you, call 601-487-7070 or check the list below for a complete list:
|District number||County||Compliance station||Phone number||Address|
|1||Rankin||Lakeland Glass & Tint||601-946-1000||2665 Lakeland Drive
Flowood, MS 39232
|1||Madison||Solar Control of Jackson||601-707-5596||291 Highway 51, Suite E-4
Ridgeland, MS 39157
|2||Leflore||Westside Muffler & Tire||662-299-1955||804 Highway 82 E.
Greenwood, MS 38930
|2||Washington||Tire Town USA||662-332-0267||2116 Highway 82 E.
Greenville MS 38703
|3||Panola||New Image Window Tinting||662-710-8677||500 Highway 51 S.
Batesville, MS 38606
|4||Lee||Weathers Auto Supply||662-842-5577||1219 S. Gloster St.
Tupelo, MS 38801
|4||Lee||Carlock Toyota of Tupelo||662-842-6428||882 Cross Creek Drive
Saltillo, MS 38866
|4||Pontotoc||Pontotoc Auto Glass||662-489-5893||424 W. Oxford St.
Pontotoc, MS 38863
|4||Lee||Pro Tint||662-871-0847||2510 S. Green St.
Tupelo, MS 38801
|5||Lowndes||King Motor Company||662-327-4054||509 Highway 45 N.
Columbus, MS 39701
|5||Lowndes||Columbus Nissan||662-328-6691||100 Highway 12 E.
Columbus MS 39702
|6||Lauderdale||Landrum Motors||601-482-7886||1019 Grand Ave.
Meridian MS 39301
|8||Jackson||Wade Tire & Wheel||228-588-6404||20271 Highway 63
Moss Point, MS 39562
|9||Pike||Victor’s Tint & Graphics||601-276-6220||1090 Highway 51 N.
McComb, MS 396488
The state does not require emissions tests. Regardless, it’s important to keep up with your regular maintenance.
An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility which verifies that you have motor vehicle liability insurance. In Mississippi, you need an SR-22 after a license suspension or conviction for a serious traffic violation, such as a hit-and-run, reckless driving, or a DUI. Mississippi law requires you to maintain your SR-22 for three years after you regain your driving privileges. Your insurance provider will file the SR-22 for you, usually for a fee of around $20. Expect higher insurance premiums after you have an SR-22.
Defensive driving courses teach motorists safe driving strategies with the goal of avoiding hazards. In Mississippi, defensive driving courses are available both in person and online. You can take a defensive driving course to earn forgiveness for a traffic ticket or receive discounted insurance.
Whether you’re eligible for ticket forgiveness is at the court’s discretion. Generally, if you’re under 21 and it’s your first traffic ticket, or you haven’t received a ticket in the last three years, you will be eligible. If you receive permission and you successfully complete the course, which takes a minimum of four hours, the court will dismiss the traffic violation.9
Mississippi is a fault state based on tort liability, which means that each party involved in an accident will pay for damages based on their degree of fault. However, if a party doesn’t agree with the payout, they can file a lawsuit seeking uncompensated damages. For example, let’s say you go to court and the jury determines you suffered $10,000 in damages and you were 20 percent responsible for the accident. The court will reduce your damages by $2,000, leaving you with an award of $8,000.
Damages can be economic, like medical expenses and lost wages, and non-economic, like pain, suffering, and anxiety. There is no monetary or serious injury threshold for lawsuits, meaning one party can sue for any losses, no matter how minimal.
In Mississippi, you must report an accident if it involved injury or property damage worth over $500, or if someone died. You have 10 days from the accident to report it. Failure to report the accident during this time frame can result in a license suspension.
Unfortunately, like most states, Mississippi allows insurance companies to discriminate based on credit score when determining your insurance premiums. If you have a low credit score, there’s a chance you will pay more for auto insurance. Mississippi also allows for discrimination based on gender, which is why men pay more for auto insurance than women.10
A damaged vehicle is a total loss if it cannot be safely repaired or if the repairs would cost more than the state’s threshold. Mississippi uses the total loss formula, which deems a vehicle a total loss if its pre-crash actual cash value (ACV) is less than or equal to the cost of repairs plus the salvage value.
Let’s say you get into an accident and your car’s ACV before the crash was $25,000. The cost of repairs is $10,000 and the salvage value of your car after the accident is $16,000. Since the pre-crash ACV ($25,000) is less than the combined cost of repairs and salvage value ($26,000), the vehicle is a total loss.
When you move to Mississippi, you have 30 days to register your vehicle. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to pay a $250 fine plus late fees. If you buy a vehicle from a private party, you have seven days to register it from your date of purchase.
|Motor vehicle e-services||601-923-7700|
|NMVTIS help desk||601-923-7698|
|IRP, prorated, or apportioned registrations||601-923-7142|
|Physical address||500 Clinton Center Drive
Clinton, MS 39056
|Mailing address||P.O. Box 1033
Jackson, MS 39215
|County tax collectors||https://www.dor.ms.
|Counties offering online registration||https://www.
|Contact method||Mississippi Insurance Department|
|1001 Woolfolk State Office Building
501 N. West St.
Jackson, MS 39201
In Mississippi, the average cost of car repairs is $396.36, which is about 3 percent higher than the national average. This breaks down to $160.45 for labor and $235.91 for parts.
In 2020, Mississippi saw 205 vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents, a rate 20 percent less than the national average. Often, larger cities see higher rates of vehicle theft, which means you may pay a higher premium if you live in any of the following metropolitan statistical areas.
|Metropolitan statistical area||Number of motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
In 2019, Mississippi had 643 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is about 10 percent less than the national average.
You’re ready to get behind the wheel in Mississippi. Mississippi borders several other states, so if you’re making frequent trips across the border (or driving across the country!) check out our state driving guide for information on DUIs, tickets, car accidents, and more.
State Farm and Farm Bureau typically offer cheap car insurance options in Mississippi. USAA also offers cheap insurance, though it is available only to active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their family members. To find cheap car insurance in Mississippi, get quotes from at least three companies, and take advantage of any available discounts and bundles.
The grace period for late payments is seven days for weekly premium policies, 10 days for monthly premium policies, and 31 days for all other policies. After you pay your first premium, Mississippi legally requires insurance providers to give you a grace period for missed payments.
If you have paid off your vehicle, you only need to carry Mississippi’s minimum liability insurance coverage. If you lease or finance your vehicle, the lender may require coverage beyond the state’s minimum. Check with the institution with which you leased or financed the vehicle. Leasing companies often require a full-coverage insurance policy with 100/300/50 minimum limits.
The 2021 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study named Farm Bureau the best auto insurance company in the Southeast, which includes Mississippi. Alfa, Nationwide, Progressive, and State Farm are also excellent options. These companies score well on coverage, pricing, and resources.
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research council. (2021, Mar 22).
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. Consumer Federation of America. (2014).
Uninsured And Underinsured Coverage: Protection From Unprotected Motorists. Allstate. (2020, Oct).
Senate Bill 2236. Mississippi Legislature. (2019).
Graduated licensing laws by state. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. (2022, Apr).
Car Accidents: Statutes of Limitations. Enjuris. (2022).
TINT COMPLIANCE LOCATIONS. Mississippi Department of Public Safety. (2022).
Mississippi Code Title 63. Motor Vehicles & Traffic Regulations § 63-9-11. Criminal liability; first time violators. FindLaw. (2018, Jan 1).
What determines the price of an auto insurance policy? Insurance Information Institute. (2022).