Louisianans pay the second highest annual auto insurance premiums in the nation. While insurance premiums in the Bayou State are among the highest, the minimum liability auto insurance requirements of 15/30/25 are among the lowest in the country.
Louisiana law states that you must carry liability coverage on any automobile you own. Having liability auto insurance at a minimum level is a legal requirement and not an optional financial decision. Liability insurance pays for property damages or personal injury for which you may be legally responsible, up to your policy’s dollar limits.
Required minimum limits
Each vehicle in Louisiana is required to have the following minimum liability insurance limits:
- $15,000 – bodily injury, per person
- $30,000 – bodily injury or death, per accident for
- $25,000 – property damage
Who is covered
You or anyone that you give permission to drive (provided you are the vehicle’s owner) are covered under your policy. This includes family members; however, it does not include any family member or other individual who has been specifically excluded on the policy.
In the state of Louisiana, auto insurance companies are permitted to write policies that exclude specific drivers in a household. However, it is important to note that even in an emergency, no coverage will provided that individual. The owner of the vehicle will be responsible for the vehicle, no matter who is driving.
If you let a friend drive your car and she has an accident, she will be covered under your owner’s policy, but only if you are the owner of the car and only if you have given her permission to drive it. If a parent owns the car, the parent must give permission. The exception to this is if the person had been excluded from coverage under that policy.
Proof of insurance
According to Louisiana law, you must show proof of the required minimum auto liability insurance when you register your vehicle with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV). While your insurance identification card is the most common form of showing your insurance coverage, the OMV accepts other forms, such as a signed letter from your insurance agent. However, to make sure that you have the acceptable information as required by the Louisiana’s OMV, contact them to discuss your options.
Penalties for driving without insurance
The penalties in Louisiana for failing to carry the required minimum liability auto insurance will result in:
- Confiscation of your vehicle or the placement of a yellow tag in your back window which indicates your lack of insurance proof to other police officers
- Confiscation of your license plate tags
You will have three days to present proof of insurance to the state in order to retrieve your tags or vehicle.
If you fail to provide proof of auto insurance or you do not comply with the state laws, you will be charged with fines, penalties and the suspension of your registration. Your vehicle will be taken and you will have to pay reinstatement fees of $50 and towing costs as well as provide proof of insurance to get your car back.
For a first time offense, drivers face a $75 to $100 fine. A second offense will result in a $100 to $250 fine. A fine of up to $700 will be assessed for each additional incident in which you are caught without proof of insurance.
Who is liable
Louisiana has a fault-based, or tort liability system of auto insurance. This means that the person that caused the accident is responsible and can be sued by the other driver and by the other driver’s passengers for medical treatments, damages and other expenses such as loss of wages.
Shopping for Louisiana auto insurance
The state of Louisiana offers consumers a free “Auto Rate Comparison Guide,” published by the Department of Insurance (LDI). The guide is available online at the LDI web home page. It compares auto rates among the state’s top insurers. While not all companies are included in the comparison guide, and you may in fact find that a company not included can best provide the coverage you need, it is a good starting place.
Average annual cost of insurance
The 2011 average annual premium for Louisiana auto insurance is $2,453, which is the second-highest average annual premium in the nation. The national average is $1,561.
Insurance Information Institute www.iii.org
Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) http://omv.dps.state.la.us
Louisiana Department of Insurance
Tel 225-342-5423 or 800-259-5300