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Published: April 18, 2022Last updated: August 4, 2022

Guide to New Jersey Car Insurance

The Garden State is one of four states that do not require bodily injury liability.

New Jersey is sandwiched between New York and Pennsylvania and borders the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of four states, along with Florida, New Hampshire, and Virginia, that doesn’t require bodily injury liability coverage. Drivers in New Jersey can choose between at-fault and no-fault insurance systems. Let’s dive deeper into car insurance in the Garden State.

Required Car Insurance in New Jersey

  • Property damage: $5,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): $15,000 per person and accident, or up to $250,000 for the following injuries:
    • Disfigurement
    • Permanent or significant brain injury
    • Spinal cord injury

How Much Coverage You Need

Although New Jersey doesn’t require bodily injury liability coverage, which covers the injuries of someone you hit in an at-fault accident, we recommend getting as much as you can afford anyway. The same goes for property damage liability coverage, which covers the other party’s property damages in an accident you caused. The minimum required amount in New Jersey, $5,000, may not be enough to cover all of the other car’s repairs. That would leave you responsible for the remainder out of pocket.

We also recommend getting comprehensive and collision coverage to cover your own car’s damages in accidents you cause. The limit should be your car’s actual market value (AMV); in other words, what you would get if you sold it tomorrow.

NOTE:

Because of depreciation, your AMV will be less than what you paid for the car initially. If you want to get back what you paid, opt for gap insurance coverage.

While we’re glad New Jersey requires personal injury protection, you may want to raise your limit even higher than the minimum $250,000 if you have significant assets. Beyond that, consider buying uninsured motorist coverage in case someone hits your car and is driving without insurance. The limit should match your liability limits, which include both property damage and bodily injury.

Cost of Car Insurance in New Jersey

New Jersey ranks No. 6 in the country for highest average price of car insurance. In 2019, the last time the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) published national data, the annual rate was $1,395.53, which is 23 percent higher than the national average.

Customers paid an average of $958.31 a year for liability coverage, $422.29 for collision coverage, and $129.97 for comprehensive coverage, according to NAIC data. That said, you can pay anywhere from $427 to $6,873 for car insurance, as many factors affect the cost. For example, insuring teen drivers is expensive due to their propensity for accidents and, consequently, costly claims.

Car Insurance Companies in New Jersey

  • Allstate
  • Farmers Insurance
  • GEICO
  • New Jersey Manufacturers (NJM)
  • Palisades Group
  • Progressive
  • Selective
  • State Farm
  • Travelers

Each auto insurance company will give you a different insurance quote for car insurance coverage and other insurance products like roadside assistance. Evaluate the same coverage options for each company so you get comparable insurance rates.

Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

  1. Choose a cheap company. We’ve compiled a list of the cheapest car insurance options in New Jersey for your saving pleasure.
  2. Get just the minimum coverage. The cheapest coverage is the minimum the state requires, although you could be responsible for more out of pocket if you cause an accident.
  3. Use discounts. Every car insurance company offers discounts for actions like enrolling in automatic payments, taking defensive driving classes, or even for teen drivers getting good grades in school. Ask your insurance agent how you can save.
  4. Bundle multiple policies. If you have multiple insurance policies across multiple companies, combine them under one provider to unlock multi-policy discounts.
  5. Raise your deductibles. Raising your deductibles will lower your premiums, but keep in mind you’ll be responsible for paying the deductible before your insurance provider contributes to claims.

Proof of Insurance

Since car insurance is a requirement in New Jersey, you’ll need to carry either paper or electronic proof whenever you drive. If a police officer catches you driving without insurance, you could face the following penalties.

Offense number Fine License suspension (in years) Community service length (in days) Imprisonment (in days)
1 $300-$1,000 1 Determined by the court None
2 Up to $5,000 2 30 14

New Jersey Driving Laws

At-Fault vs. No-Fault

New Jersey’s fault system is unique. Although personal injury protection is required, bodily injury coverage isn’t. In other words, in an accident, each party is responsible for its own medical costs under PIP, although the at-fault party will pay for property damage. However, some people may opt to carry bodily injury coverage to pay for the other party’s injuries in accidents they cause, like many people do in the state of Arizona.

The Garden State has modified comparative negligence laws, which say that a victim must be less than 50 percent at fault in an accident to receive compensation. If they were partially at fault, but less than 50 percent, their compensation would be reduced based on the degree of fault. If they were more than 50 percent at fault, they wouldn’t be able to seek any damages.

Uninsured Motorists

Surprisingly, while New Jersey has costly auto insurance, it also has the lowest rate of uninsured motorists in the U.S. Only 3 percent of the state’s drivers skirt the financial responsibility laws, 303 percent less than the national average of 12 percent.

Although New Jersey doesn’t require uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, if you have UM on multiple cars across multiple policies, multiply the number of cars by your UM limit. That’s your new limit for each car due to the state’s allowance for stacking.

Driving Under the Influence

Penalty type All offenses, drivers under 21 First offense, drivers over 21 Second offense, drivers over 21 Third offense, drivers over 21
Loss or postponement of driving privileges 30-90 days Until interlock device is installed 1-2 years 8 years
Community service 15-30 days None 30 days 30 days
Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) participation Referral to IDRC or participation in an alcohol and traffic safety program Minimum of 6 hours a day in IDRC for 2 consecutive days Yes 90 days in IDRC-approved inpatient rehabilitation program
Fine None BAC 0.08%-0.1%: $250-$400

BAC 0.1%-0.15%: $300-$500

$500-$1,000 $1,000
Imprisonment None Up to 30 days 2-90 days 180 days
Interlock requirement None 3 months BAC 0.08%-0.1%: 3 months

BAC 0.1%-0.15%: 7 months to 1 year

2-4 years
Insurance surcharge None $1,000 a year for 3 years $1,000 a year for 3 years $1,500 a year for 3 years
$425 in other fees Yes Yes Yes Yes1

Seat Belt Use

Everyone in a moving car in New Jersey is legally required to buckle up, as long as they are either 8 or older, or under 7 and over 84 inches (4 feet, 9 inches) tall. Enforcement is primary in the front seat and secondary in the back seat. With primary enforcement, law enforcement can pull someone over just for not wearing a seat belt in the front seat. In the back seat, another violation in addition to the unbuckled seat belt would be required for police to enforce this law.

Distracted Driving

New Jersey doesn’t allow drivers to use handheld electronic devices while driving, and drivers with learner’s permits and intermediate licenses can’t use any devices, even hands-free. Here are the penalties for breaking New Jersey’s distracted driving laws, which are under primary enforcement.

Penalty First offense Second offense within a 10-year period Third or subsequent offense within a 10-year period
Fine for distracted driving $200-$400 $400-$600 $600-$800
License suspension None None Possible 90 days
Responsibility for court costs Yes Yes Yes

Teen Drivers

Restriction type Special learner permit Examination permit Probationary driver license
Curfew 11:01 p.m. to 5 a.m. 11:01 p.m. to 5 a.m. 11:01 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Cell phone use allowed No No No
Supervision Adult (21 or older) with a valid New Jersey license and 3 years of driving experience in front seat Adult (21 or older) with a valid New Jersey license and 3 years of driving experience in front seat Not required
Passengers Any parent, guardian, or dependent, plus 1 more passenger Dependents and 1 additional passenger, unless a parent/guardian is present Dependents and 1 additional passenger, unless a parent/guardian is present
Seat belts Required for everyone Required for everyone Required for everyone2

Statute of Limitations for Claims

Wait no longer than six years to file any claims for property damage or personal injury. Beyond this statute of limitations, your insurance company isn’t required to cover your claims.

Notification Laws: Cancellations and Non-Renewals

Legally, insurance companies must notify you 15 days before canceling your insurance or 60 days before not renewing your insurance at the end of its term. Companies can only cancel your insurance for not paying a premium, having a suspended or revoked license, or committing fraud or misrepresentation on your original application. Non-renewal is more flexible, as it occurs when the policy ends. Learn more about cancellations versus non-renewals.

Self-Insurance

If you have more than 25 vehicles, you can apply to self-insure your cars in New Jersey. However, you’ll have to pay a $1,000 filing fee, and whether or not you’ll be able to insure your own cars is at the discretion of the state’s Commissioner of Insurance. Self-insurance makes more sense for businesses or organizations with large fleets of vehicles, not those with personal vehicles.

Inspection Requirements

New Jersey has requirements for both emissions and safety inspections. Check the inspection sticker on your windshield to determine when you need to get an inspection next, or use the chart below to find out what inspections you need.

Power Model year Gross vehicle weight rating (in pounds) Safety inspection required every year Emissions inspection required every 2 years
Diesel 1997 and newer Up to 8,500 Yes Yes
Diesel All 8,501-17,999 Yes No
Electric All All Yes No
Gas 1995 and older Up to 8,500 Yes No
Gas 2007 and older 8,501-14,000 Yes No
Gas 2013 and older 14,001 and up Yes No
Gas and bi-fueled 1996 or newer Up to 8,500 Yes Yes
Gas and bi-fueled 2008 and newer 8,501-14,000 Yes Yes
Gas and bi-fueled 2014 and newer 14,001 and up Yes Yes

If your car is eligible for inspection and the date is coming up, follow these steps:

  1. Gather your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of New Jersey insurance.
  2. Schedule an appointment online at https://www.njmvis.com/appointments/. Alternatively,  make an appointment over the phone by calling 888-656-6867 toll-free on weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., or Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 12 p.m. You can also walk into a nearby office, which you can find via https://data.nj.gov/Transportation/Vehicle-Inspection-Facility-Locations-Map/a7mk-8suc?fac=deic.3
  3. Go to the appointment and pay the inspection fee, which will be $2.50 at most.

SR-22s

An SR-22 certificate is a form that proves you have the minimum coverage New Jersey requires. You might be legally required to obtain an SR-22 if any of the following statements are true:

  • You lost your license or driving privileges previously, but now it’s time to reinstate your license.
  • You had multiple traffic infractions or accidents.
  • You were convicted of a DUI.4

FYI:

Getting insurance with an SR-22 will be more difficult than it would be if you had a clean driving record. It’s not impossible, but expect higher premiums, as you’re now considered a high-risk driver.

Defensive Driving Courses

If you want two points deducted from your driving record, one option is to take a defensive driving course. Find a course that New Jersey has preapproved at https://www.nj.gov/mvc/license/driverprograms.htm.

Thresholds for Suing

If you want to sue someone following a car accident, your injuries must meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Dismemberment
  • Displaced fractures
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Significant scarring or disfigurement

The threshold for suing is only in regard to the severity of the injury, not the cost of the losses.

Reporting Accidents

In New Jersey, you must report car accidents that include injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 immediately. If you don’t, you could face license suspension and a fine of $30 to $100.5

Credit Scores and Sex Discrimination

If you are a man and/or have poor credit, expect to pay more for car insurance than women and/or people with good credit. The state allows companies to determine prices based on both sex and credit scores.

Total Loss Threshold

In New Jersey, a car would be declared a total loss if its salvage value is less than its repair costs. Note that you cannot insure a salvage vehicle, meaning you cannot drive it legally in the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Driver Contact Information

How to Register a Car in New Jersey for the First Time

  1. Schedule an appointment online at https://telegov.njportal.com/njmvc/AppointmentWizard. Walk-ins are not allowed.
  2. Bring the following documents:
    • Title
    • Driver’s license or other ID
    • New Jersey insurance card or company name and policy number (you need New Jersey insurance for registration but don’t need New Jersey car registration for insurance)
    • Completed Vehicle Registration Application Form BA-49 from https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/vehicles/BA-49.pdf
    • Power of attorney (if the owner isn’t the person signing the documents)
    • Dealer reassignment documentation, if applicable
    • Lienholder info/financing statement if the vehicle is leased or financed
    • Application for Certificate of Ownership (if you’re transferring registration from another state) from https://www.state.nj.us/mvcbiz/pdf/Business_Licenses/OS-7.pdf
  3. Pay the required titling fee plus the registration fee and sales tax. Your registration fee depends on your vehicle type.
    Model year Weight (in pounds) Fee
    1970 or older Under 2,700 $35.50
    1970 or older 2,700-3,800 $44.50
    1970 or older Over 3,800 $65.50
    1971-79 Under 2,700 $38.50
    1971-79 2,700-3,800 $49.50
    1971-79 Over 3,800 $72.50
    Older than 2 years Under 3,500 $46.50
    Within 2 years Under 3,500 $59
    Older than 2 years Over 3,500 $71.50
    Within 2 years Over 3,500 $84

    The titling fees are as follows.

    • Standard: $60
    • Financed vehicle, one lien: $85
    • Financed vehicle, two liens: $110

    You can pay by money order, cash, credit card, or a check made payable to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC).

Not every car requires you to personally register it. For example, if you bought your car from a dealership, the dealership will handle the registration for you.

How to Renew Your Registration in New Jersey

There are three ways to renew your registration in New Jersey.

  1. Renew your registration online at https://mymvc.state.nj.us/reg-renewal/. You’ll need the following information:
    • Registration renewal form via https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/vehicles/BA-49.pdf
    • Social Security number
    • Insurance company name and policy number
    • Credit card
  2. Renew your registration in person. Make an appointment first via https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/vehicles/regrenew.htm. You’ll need the same documents as you would for a new registration.
  3. Renew your registration by mail. You’ll need the following information:
    • Completed Registration Renewal Notice, which you should have received in the mail
    • Return envelope provided with the notice.
    • Check or money order made payable to the NJMVC

    Send the required documents and fee to the return address on the original notice.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Contact Information

  • Email: https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/About/ContactEmail.htm
  • Phone: 609-292-6500, extension 5014 for registration
  • Mail:
    • Motor Vehicle Commission
    • Customer Advocacy Office
    • P.O. Box 403
    • Trenton, NJ 08666-0403

How to Get a Duplicate Car Title in New Jersey

  1. Fill out the form located at https://www.nj.gov/mvc/pdf/vehicles/duplicate-noproof.pdf.
  2. Gather the $60 fee.
  3. If you aren’t the vehicle owner, get the form notarized.
  4. Send the form and fee to this address:
    • New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
    • Special Titles Section/Duplicate Titles
    • 225 E. State St.
    • P.O. Box 017
    • Trenton, NJ 08666-0017

State Insurance Department Contact Information

  • URL: https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/index.html
  • Phone number: 609-292-5360
  • Mailing address:
    • 20 W. State St.
    • P.O. Box 325
    • Trenton, NJ 08625

Car Repair Costs

Car repairs in New Jersey cost 5 percent more than the national average at $403.43, which includes both parts and labor. That breaks down to $143.47 for labor and $259.96 for parts, according to CarMD.

Crime and Traffic Fatalities in New Jersey

Car Theft

New Jersey’s car theft rates are the seventh lowest in the country, with only 116 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020. That’s 113 less than the national average, based on FBI data.

However, some metropolitan areas, like the greater Philadelphia area (including South Jersey) and Trenton, have higher car theft rates than the rest of the Garden State.

Metropolitan statistical area Rate of motor vehicle theft per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 213
Trenton-Princeton, NJ 171
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ 153
Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ 126
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 1186

Traffic Fatalities

Fortunately, New Jersey fares well in traffic fatality rates, with only 559 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, that’s 27 percent less than the national average.

Conclusion

No matter where you are going in New Jersey, make sure you’ve got the insurance requirements and state laws down pat. However, if you’re leaving the state to visit nearby areas, check out our pages on Pennsylvania car insurance and New York car insurance, as the laws vary by state. Read our FAQs below for more information about the Garden State specifically.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t drive or park your car on public roads in New Jersey, then yes, it can be uninsured. However, it must be in storage, and if you use it on public roads at all, you could be penalized for lacking minimum coverage.

Insurance follows the car, not the driver, in New Jersey. That means if someone else is driving your car with your permission and gets into an accident, your car insurance will cover the injuries and damages.

These are some companies with the cheapest car insurance in New Jersey:

  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • GEICO
  • NJM
  • Palisades Group
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Progressive
  • Selective
  • State Farm
  • Travelers

Car insurance in Mays Landing, New Jersey, costs an average of $2,673 a year, but it can range from around $1,272 all the way up to $4,986.

Citations

  1. Driving While Intoxicated. New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. (2022).
    https://www.nj.gov/lps/hts/downloads/dui-bro-eng.pdf

  2. The 2021 New Jersey Driver Manual. New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. (2021).
    https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/license/drivermanual.pdf

  3. Vehicle Inspection Facility Locations Map. State of New Jersey Open Data Center. (2022).
    https://data.nj.gov/Transportation/Vehicle-Inspection-Facility-Locations-Map/a7mk-8suc?fac=deic

  4. Home Page. Law Offices of John W. Tumelty. (2022).
    https://www.johntumeltylaw.com/criminal-defense-articles/new-jersey-dui-offenders-face-tougher-penalties-with-sr-22-insurance/

  5. Minimum Mandatory Fines and Penalties. New Jersey Courts. (2001, Nov 19).
    https://www.njcourts.gov/notices/sorted.pdf

  6. NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. National Insurance Crime Bureau. (2021, Aug 31).
    https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/nicb-hot-spots-auto-thefts-significantly-across-country