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Last updated: November 20, 2023

Guide to New Jersey Car Insurance Laws

How does car insurance work in the Garden State?

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Did you know New Jersey is one of the few states, along with Kentucky and Pennsylvania, that let its drivers choose between no-fault or at-fault systems? It’s also one of two states, along with Florida, that don’t include bodily injury liability as a car insurance requirement.

We’ve gathered all of the most important information about New Jersey car insurance laws so you don’t have to research the fine print on your own. Keep reading for the ins and outs of auto insurance in the Garden State.

Car Insurance Laws in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you need insurance to register your vehicle. But how much coverage do you need?

Minimum Coverage

If you live in a state that requires auto insurance, you must meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements — meaning you must have the specific types of coverage outlined at the specific limits. New Jersey car insurance requirements are as follows:

  • Property damage: $5,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): $15,000 per person and per accident, or up to $250,000 for certain injuries:
    • Permanent or significant brain injury
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Disfigurement1

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If you’re caught driving without insurance in New Jersey, you could face fines, community service, a license suspension, and even imprisonment for second and subsequent offenses.2

Penalty by offense number 1 Subsequent
Minimum fine $300 None listed
Maximum fine $1,000 $5,000
Period of community service Court determines 30 days
License suspension length (from date of conviction) unless liability insurance is proven at the time of hearing 1 year 2 years
Length of imprisonment None 14 days

Fault System

Drivers in New Jersey can choose their fault system. The at-fault party is responsible for the property damage they caused, although each party will file claims with their own insurers for their medical costs under PIP. You can choose whether or not you want bodily injury liability coverage, which would pay for the other party’s injuries in accidents you cause.

If you choose to get a standard policy, detailed below, you can choose either a limited or unlimited right to sue. With unlimited, you can sue for pain and suffering, non-economic losses, and any injury from a car crash. With a limited right to sue, you can sue only if you experience:

  • Death
  • Displaced fracture
  • Loss of a body part
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent injury
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Significant scarring

Due to the state’s modified comparative negligence laws, plaintiffs can seek damages in a civil suit as long as they are less at fault than the other driver or drivers. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

More Laws

New Jersey also has laws surrounding car insurance cancellation and non-renewals, appeals, and self-insurance:

  • Cancellation and nonrenewal notification laws: If an insurance company wants to cancel your policy mid-term, they must give you 15 days’ notice before the policy expires. If the insurer doesn’t want to renew your policy at the end of its term, it will need to provide 60 days’ notice.
  • Right to appeal: If your insurance provider canceled your policy, you can appeal with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance by calling (609) 292-7272 or 1-800-446-7467, or by
  • Self-insurance: In New Jersey, you can self-insure your own vehicles if you have more than 25 vehicles. Self-insurance is at the discretion of the state’s commissioner of insurance. You’ll need to pay a $1,000 filing fee at a minimum.4

Supplemental Car Insurance Coverage Options

Although New Jersey requires drivers to carry only property damage liability and PIP for their medical expenses, you can get other types of auto insurance coverage in the following amounts.

Coverage type Basic limits Standard limits
Bodily injury liability Not included, but $10,000 per person/accident is an option Per person: $25,000-$250,000

Per accident: $50,000-$500,000

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage Not included Liability limits
Collision Optional Optional
Comprehensive Optional Optional

Here’s what these supplemental insurances would cover.

  • Bodily injury liability: Bodily injury liability pays for the other party’s medical costs in an accident you cause.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): If someone hits you and has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover your losses, UM/UIM would cover your property damages and bodily injuries.
  • Collision coverage: Collision insurance pays for your property damages from collisions, regardless of who caused an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage pays for your property damages from events other than collisions, like inclement weather, auto theft, and vandalism.


New Jersey has the seventh-lowest rate of auto theft in the U.S., with only 116 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. That’s 113 percent lower than the national average.5

If you want to go even further than standard coverage, consider rental car coverage, which would pay for a rental car in the event that your vehicle is being repaired under a covered claim. Roadside assistance is an option with many insurers as well.

The Cost of Car Insurance in New Jersey

Cheap New Jersey car insurance may be hard to find. As of 2020, the last time the National Association of Insurance Commissioners released data, the state’s average annual cost was $1,442 — the seventh highest in the nation. That figure is based on the below coverages and rates:

  • Liability: $903, the fifth-highest rate in the nation
  • Collision: $407, the 11th-highest rate in the nation
  • Comprehensive: $132, in contrast, the ninth-lowest rate in the nation6

Some factors that may affect your rates include your credit score, sex, and marital status. However, your rates can’t go up just because your spouse died or because you got divorced, according to New Jersey law. Your ZIP code is also a factor; rates will be lower in suburban areas compared to if you move to more densely populated, urban areas like Newark or Hoboken.

Required Inspections

For older vehicles, you’ll need to get your car inspected every year for safety and, possibly, every two years for emissions. Newer vehicles, on the other hand, need an inspection only once every five years. The inspection sticker on your windshield will tell you when your next inspection is due; make sure to complete it two months before the expiration date.

Vehicle power Minimum gross vehicle weight rating in pounds Maximum gross vehicle weight rating in pounds Model year Safety inspections required every year Emissions inspections required every 2 years
Diesel 8,500 maximum 8,500 1997 and newer Yes Yes
Diesel 8,501 17,999 All Yes No
Electric vehicles None None All Yes No
Gas None 8,500 1995 and older Yes No
Gas 8,501 14,000 2007 and older Yes No
Gas 14,001 None 2013 and older Yes No
Gas and bi-fueled None 8,500 1996 or newer Yes Yes
Gas and bi-fueled 8,501 14,000 2008 and newer Yes Yes
Gas and bi-fueled 14,001 None 2014 and newer Yes Yes

Make sure to bring the following documents to your inspection:

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance from an insurance company licensed to do business in New Jersey

Find an inspection station near you via

Make an appointment by calling 888-656-6867 anytime from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays or from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays. You can also schedule an appointment online through

Texting and Driving Laws

New Jersey bans people from using handheld electronic devices while driving. However, those with a learner’s permit or intermediate license can’t use a phone at all while driving, even hands-free. This law is under primary enforcement, which means the police can stop you due to distracted driving alone, without any other offense involved. The state’s penalties for distracted driving via electronic devices are as follows.

Penalty by offense number 1 2nd within 10-year period 3 or subsequent within 10-year period
Minimum fine $200 $400 $600
Maximum fine $400 $600 $800
License suspension None None Possible 90 days
Court costs Yes Yes Yes


More than 1 in 5 drivers in fatal car crashes in New Jersey in 2021 involved distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Interestingly, New Jersey has the lowest rate of uninsured drivers in the U.S., with only 3 percent of the state’s drivers lacking insurance, compared to a 12 percent national average.8 Perhaps that is partially due to the Garden State’s low minimum requirements. Despite those low requirements, we recommend getting a standard policy, otherwise known as full-coverage car insurance, in order to protect yourself financially.


  1. Get Legal with New Jersey’s Basic Auto Insurance Policy. State of New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance. (2023).

  2. ASSEMBLY, No. 271 STATE OF NEW JERSEY 218th LEGISLATURE. New Jersey Legislature. (2023).

  3. NJ Automobile Consumer Bill of Rights. State of New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance. (2009, Jan 1).

  4. 2022 New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39 – Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation Section 39:6-52 – Certificate of self-insurance. JUSTIA US Law. (2022).

  5. 2019 Crime in the United States. FBI. (2019).

  6. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  7. Vehicle Inspection Facility Locations Map. State of New Jersey NJOIT Open Data Center. (2023).

  8. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured: $13 Billion Spent in 2016 to Protect Against Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 22).