New Jersey car insurance laws require that all drivers carry the state-required minimum insurance limits. Any lapse in insurance will force insurance companies to pass that information to the state, which may impose fees and penalties.
New Jersey offers two options that meet the state-required minimum, standard and basic, to its residents. Most people choose the standard option since it offers more protection at just a little more cost.
What Are the Mandatory Car Insurance Requirements in New Jersey?
Here are the state minimum liability coverage requirements for New Jersey under the basic and standard options.
- Bodily injury liability insurance per person/accident: $15,000/$30,000
- Property damage liability insurance per accident: $5,000
- Personal injury protection per person or accident: $15,000
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, meaning auto insurance carriers for each affected party are responsible for paying damages up to coverage limits, regardless of who is at fault. This is in stark contrast to at-fault states, where the driver determined to be at fault is expected to pay for the other driver’s damages.
We highly recommend liability coverage well above state minimums for greater peace of mind. State minimums may not be enough to pay for all damages incurred in a severe accident.
What Factors Does New Jersey Law Allow in Determining Your Premiums?
New Jersey sets insurance rates for companies, but the law allows insurance companies to determine the amount of premiums you pay based on several factors. Some of the most important factors include your age, gender, zip code of residence, and claims record.
Other factors determining how much a person pays for auto insurance include enrollment in defensive driving courses, paperless billing/auto-pay, credit score, marital status, and the make and model of the vehicle you drive.
Note, premiums are also affected by coverage. To qualify for lower premiums, opt for state minimums or higher deductibles and higher coverage limits.
Luckily, there are many ways drivers can qualify for lower auto insurance premiums including:
What Is the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in New Jersey?
Penalties for driving without insurance in New Jersey are very high, even for first-time offenders. First-time offenders can expect a suspended license (up to one year) and a fine of at least $300. Subsequent offenders face higher fines not exceeding $5,000, as well as a mandatory jail term of 14 days. In addition, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission requires paying a surcharge of $750, split into three annual payments.
With regards to points, a first offense does not add points to your record. However, a second offense can add nine points, skyrocketing your insurance premiums.
Note, all police officers can tell if your vehicle is not insured by running your license plate number during a traffic stop.
Am I Required to Report an Accident in New Jersey to Authorities?
It depends. New Jersey requires all drivers to report car accidents based on certain conditions. These conditions include any accident resulting in injury/death and damages over $500. Written accident reports must be filed at the nearest police station within 10 days following the accident.
To corroborate your case, be sure to take in all possible evidence, including photos and videos. Failing to report an accident can result in a suspended license, vehicle registration, fines, and court costs.
How Many Car Accidents Happen in New Jersey?
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, there were 549 fatal crashes in 2020, which resulted in 587 deaths. Of the fatalities, 29.1 had consumed alcohol.
This represents a modest increase over 2019, which saw 524 fatal crashes and 558 fatalities.
For more information on NJSP fatal accident statistics, visit NJSP Fatal Accident Statistics.
How Many Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Are in New Jersey?
Although there are no official records as to the exact number of uninsured and underinsured motorists in New Jersey, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that New Jersey has the lowest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation (2019) at only 3.1%. Compared to the highest percentage state for uninsured drivers (Mississippi at close to 30% and Michigan at 26%), 3.1% is an exceptional figure.
Note, any drivers who are caught driving without insurance are subject to stiff penalties, including revocation of driver’s licenses and registration, steep fines, and plenty of headaches facing administrative work and court costs.