Nearly six million licensed drivers traverse the state of New Jersey, each one required to carry certain amounts of insurance coverage. There is no exception to the state insurance minimums for anyone. However, the state of New Jersey has minimum requirements that are very comparable to other states. Here's an in-depth look at what you need to have and what you might want to have.

New Jersey Insurance Requirements

Like all states, New Jersey has some specific requirements that you must follow. Knowing your rights, responsibilities, and insurance requirements in New Jersey is key to avoiding hefty fines and penalties. But, these laws also exist for a reason. Following them will help keep you, and other drivers on the road, safe.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

As a driver in New Jersey, you have certain rights and responsibilities. It is always up to you to be aware of legislation surrounding what you can and cannot do on the road or after an accident. Here are some special, state-specific rules to keep in mind.

  • No handhelds. If you use a handheld device while driving, you could receive a $200 to $400 fine for your first offense of distracted driving.
  • Limited hands-free. If you are a novice driver and use a hands-free device while driving, you could also receive a fine.
  • Keep right. If you fail to keep right while driving on highways or while turning at an intersection, you could receive a $100 to $300 fine. The center and left lanes are for passing only.

In the event of an accident, filing a claim in New Jersey is very similar to other states. You will need to provide your full name, policy number, and start and end date of your policy. You will also need the date and time of the incident. You should collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses or people involved in the accident. If the claim involves another vehicle, be sure to collect the driver's license number(s) and plate number(s), too.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

You are always required to have at least the below coverage as a licensed driver in the state of New Jersey:

  • At least $15,000 in coverage per person, per accident for bodily injury
  • At least $30,000 in coverage for all persons, per accident for bodily injury
  • At least $5,000 in coverage for property damage resulting from an auto accident
  • At least $15,000/$30,000 in coverage for bodily injury of an uninsured motorist
  • At least $5,000 in coverage per accident for property damage of an uninsured/underinsured motorist (with a $500 deductible)

If you have any less than the coverage required by the state, a first-time violator will get fined at least $300 with up to $1,000 in community service. You'll also pay $250 in DMV surcharges for the next three years and your license will get suspended for one year.

Optional Insurance

While every licensed driver in New Jersey is always required to carry at least the above insurance amounts, you can always opt for more coverage in order to better protect yourself, your passengers, and your assets.

In New Jersey, you have to take special circumstances and higher risk factors into account when it comes to things like the potential of theft and weather damage. Look closely at any policy to see if it includes comprehensive coverage, which would include things like a branch damaging your vehicle or hitting an animal.

Understanding Your Premiums

You can pay your premiums on a monthly basis or every six months. The latter usually scores you a discount with the insurance company. When signing up for a policy, the company will look at multiple factors in order to determine your premium.

The make, model, and year of the car you're insuring may have a significant impact on how much you pay for insurance. A high-end vehicle with expensive replacement costs will run up your bill. So, too, will a car with limited safety features. Here are some other factors the company will look at:

  • The auto insurance coverage you had previously.
  • How many miles you put on your car per year.
  • Your driving record and accident history.
  • How long you have been driving.
  • Your age, gender, and marital status.
  • Where you live and where the car will stay.
  • Whether or not your car is being used for business.

New Jersey car insurance premiums are comparable of those to other states, but it all comes down to your personal risk factors. Of course, there are some ways to lower your rates.

Taking a defensive driving course, upgrading your car's security system, and avoiding traffic tickets and accidents are all great ways to keep your premium as low as possible. And when it's time to renew your insurance, you can always attempt to negotiate a new rate as you continue to gain driving experience and keep a clean record.

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