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Car insurance in New Jersey

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How to get cheap car insurance in New Jersey

If you live in New Jersey or you’re thinking of moving there, you’re going to need a car insurance policy that satisfies your needs plus the requirements of the state. Learn about New Jersey’s laws and regulations, the types of coverage out there, who’s at fault after an accident and more.

New Jersey

Car insurance quick facts


Minimum liability requirements


Average annual car insurance cost


Days to update your license

At-fault state

In at fault states, the driver who caused the accident pays for damages.

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Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Available states
All 50 states
Save up to 31% with safe driver discounts and bundling all your rides in one convenient policy.
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 24 states.
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
All 50 states
Backed by nearly 100 years in the business, Farmers Insurance aims to offer options and support to help you find the coverage you need.
All states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey
The General offers affordable coverage for nearly any driver who needs car insurance.

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Most popular New Jersey auto insurance companies list

CompanyDirect premiums written (billions)Market share
Plymouth Rock of New Jersey$620,7457.8%
State Farm$612,1987.7%
Liberty Mutual$557,4637.0%

Average car insurance costs in New Jersey

Drivers in New Jersey paid in the ballpark of $1,300 to $1,400 annually for their auto insurance coverage in 2017, slightly above the $1,300 national average. So if you’re looking to buy a standard policy here and you’re older than 25, you can expect to pay something in that range.

However, because car insurance is affected by so many different factors, your costs could also fall well outside of that average range.

Cheapest car insurance in New Jersey

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How to get cheap car insurance in New Jersey

  • Age. Young drivers under 25, as well as seniors, will pay more for car insurance. Drivers under 25 — and especially male drivers under 25 — are believed by the insurance industry to be at high risk for car accidents. This means the older you get, the lower your car insurance rates will tend to be, until you reach a certain age.
  • Gender. Males can often expect higher premiums. This is sometimes further modified by age and marital status.
  • Type of car. Cruising down to the shore in a sleek convertible might sound fun, but the more speedy, exotic and expensive your car is, the more insurance will cost. Large vehicles like Hummers and Cadillac Escalades are also usually pricey to cover.
  • Driving experience. L platers and P platers typically pay more, which often compounds the effect of age on premiums.
  • Occupation. Professional drivers, whether behind the wheel of a racecar or a delivery truck, can expect significantly higher premiums thanks to more time spent on the road.
  • Marital status. Single people are seen as less stable than their married counterparts. If you get married, you’ll see your premiums decrease right away.
  • Location. Some places are at higher risk of theft, vandalism and other potential hazards, which incurs higher costs. Urban drivers are at higher risk for an accident than people who live far outside the city limits. Similarly, if one area is more prone to flooding or storms you may expect this to impact your premiums.
  • Claims history. The more car insurance claims you have made in the past, the higher your premiums will generally be.
  • Driving record. The more violations you have on your driving record, the more you can expect to pay for your car insurance. If you’re notorious for speeding, driving under the influence or trying to start a drag race at every red light, your insurer will likely know about it and raise prices accordingly.
  • Credit score. Like it or not, nearly all auto insurance providers use your credit score to help calculate your risk before arriving at a policy cost. This is because multiple independent studies indicate that if your credit score is low, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident. However, there are a few states where car insurance providers aren’t allowed to use credit to determine rates — California, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
  • Other drivers. Only certain people will be approved to drive the car, and all of them impact the cost. Even the world’s safest driver will get a substantial price hike by listing another less-safe driver on the policy.
  • Typical driving habits. Your typical distance driven, how often you get behind the wheel and where you drive all play a part in your car insurance prices.

Can my credit score really affect my car insurance rates in New Jersey?

Yes, it can. Separate studies by the University of Texas and the Federal Trade Commission both show correlation between poor credit scores and elevated accident risk. Because of these findings, insurance providers throughout most of the US will factor your credit score into their calculation of your insurance costs — for better or for worse.

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Insurance help for low-income drivers

If you meet certain requirements, you might qualify for Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP), New Jersy’s low-cost medical coverage-only policy. The cost is just $360 a year if you pay the entire amount upfront, or $365 if you pay in two installments. Drivers who are enrolled in Federal Medicaid with hospitalization are eligible. And you can obtain a policy through most insurance providers.

State minimum requirements in New Jersey

Jersey handles insurance regulations a bit different compared to other states. To meet the legal minimums, drivers can choose the basic or standard policy, with the option to go beyond these two policies for more coverage.

Basic policy

  • Bodily injury liability. It’s not required, but $10,000 coverage for all persons per accident is available as an option.
  • Property damage liability. $5,000 per accident.
  • Personal injury protection. $15,000 per person, per accident.

Standard policy

  • Bodily injury liability. $15,000 per person; $30,000 per accident.
  • Property damage liability. $5,000 per accident.
  • Personal injury protection. $15,000 per person, per accident.

The standard policy provides more coverage and charges higher premiums than the basic package. Additional coverage include:

What happens if I’m driving in New Jersey and I don’t have insurance?

You’re looking at steep fines, license suspension and possibly jail time if you’re caught driving without coverage in New Jersey. Here’s a breakdown of what happens if you’re caught without coverage.

First offense

  • Fines from $300 to $1,000.
  • Pay $250 surcharge for three years — $750 total.
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to one year.
  • Community service — length determined by court.
  • Possible impoundment of vehicle.

Second and subsequent offenses

  • Fines of $500 to $5,000.
  • Pay $250 surcharge for three years — $750 total.
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to two years.
  • Community service up to 180 hours.
  • Up to 14 days in jail.
  • Possible impoundment of vehicle.

If your driver’s license is suspended for driving without insurance, you must submit an application for reinstatement to the DMV director. That director reserves the right to revoke your license longer if he believes you’re likely to drive without insurance again.

What can I use as proof of insurance in New Jersey?

As of mid-2015, the state allows you to show proof of insurance with your card or a smartphone or tablet screen.

Uninsured drivers in New Jersey

Approximately 15% of all motorists in New Jersey were driving without the legal standard of insurance in 2015, according to the Insurance Research Council. This is slightly above the national average of 13% and far below the numbers reported by some states — Florida, for example, has a rate closer to 26%.

To better protect yourself and your vehicle from an accident with a driver who doesn’t carry proper insurance, you may want to think about adding underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy.

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Can I buy temporary car insurance in New Jersey?

Yes, you can. You might need temporary coverage in New Jersey for a short period for a borrowed car or rental car. It’s perfectly legal to purchase short-term car insurance for less than six months, but most insurance companies won’t offer this option.

Your best option might be to call your current insurance provider or contact an online provider to find out your options. It might also be a good idea to find a policy that lets you cancel for no or low fees and transfer to a more long-term option when you’re ready.

What about SR-22 insurance?

Yes, you can get SR-22 insurance in New Jersey, which is a document your insurance provider files with the state that proves you have the minimum coverage required to get behind the wheel. You might need an SR-22 certificate if you’ve gotten a DUI, lost your license or been caught driving without insurance.

Driving laws in New Jersey

While most states around the US share a fairly common set of traffic laws, there are a few specific to New Jersey to make note of before you drive down to the shore.

  • Drivers who move to New Jersey are required to get a NJ driver’s license within 60 days.
  • Everyone in the car is required to wear seat belts.
  • Toddlers under age two who weigh less than 30 pounds must sit in rear-facing car seats.
  • Children must sit in a booster seat until they’re at least eight years old or 57 inches tall.
  • Tinting the front windshield or front side-windows of a vehicle is prohibited.

DUI laws in New Jersey

Every state in the US, including New Jersey, enforces a limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) for normal drivers and 0.04% BAC for commercial drivers. Additionally, drivers under 21 are held to a stricter limit of 0.02% BAC.

First offense Second offense Third offense
Jail Up to 30 days Up to 90 days Up to 180 days
Fines $250–$500 $500–$1,000 $1,000
Automobile insurance surcharge $1,000 a year for 3 years $1,000 a year for 3 years $1,500 a year for 3 years
Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Minimum of 6 hours a day for 2 days 2 days Detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program
License suspension 3 months to 1 year 2 years 10 years
Ignition interlock device (IID) required 6 months to 1 year 1–3 years 1–3 years

On top of the penalties shown above, every DUI involves the following fees.

  • $100 surcharge to be given to the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
  • $100 Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee
  • $50 Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee
  • $100 Intoxicated Driving Program fee
  • $75 Safe and Secure Community Program fee

Implied consent laws

If you’re driving on a public road in New Jersey, you’re giving implied consent to be tested for alcohol or drugs when a police officer suspects you’re under the influence. If you refuse a portable breath test or breathalyzer, you’ll pay penalties, even if you were never under the influence in the first place.

First offense Second offense Third offense
Fines $300–$500 $500–$1,000 $1,000
Automobile insurance surcharge $1,000 a year for 3 years $1,000 a year for 3 years $1,500 a year for 3 years
Surcharge for the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund $100 $100 $100
Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Yes Yes Yes
License suspension 7 months to 1 year 2 years 10 years
Ignition interlock device (IID) required 6 months to 1 year 1–3 years 1–3 years

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What happens after an accident in New Jersey?

A car accident can leave you shaken up, even when it’s just a small fender bender. Stay calm and follow these steps to keep the process as simple as possible.

  1. Get to safety. Check for injuries and potential dangers. If someone is injured or you see a danger, call 911 right away. If not, it may be a good idea to call the local police right away. Move your car out of the way if your able to.
  2. Exchange information. Get the personal information you need from the people involved in the accident — like names, driver’s license numbers, addresses and cell phone numbers. Also write down information about their car’s make and model and insurance policy.
  3. Notify your insurance agent. Call your insurance company before you leave the scene. Tell them what’s happened and ask what additional steps to take.
  4. Document the scene. Take pictures of the accident from all angles, especially the areas that are damaged. Take down the names of police officers and any potential witnesses to better protect your claim.

Who’s at fault after an accident?

New Jersey uses the Comparative Negligence Act to determine each driver’s degree of fault in an accident. After an accident, the insurance company investigates and reviews all the facts including police reports and driver and witness statements. They’ll assign a percentage of fault to each person involved in the accident. If you’re found at fault at all, payment from the other driver’s insurance company is reduced by that portion.

When do I need to notify the authorities after an accident?

If anyone is killed, if there is an injury or if there is property damage greater than $500, report the accident to local law enforcement right away. If law enforcement is not called to the scene of an accident, you’ll need to complete the New Jersey Self-Reporting Crash form within 10 days after the accident. Failure to do so could result in fines between $30 and $100 and suspension of your driver’s license and car registration.

Bottom line

Car insurance is legally required in New Jersey and provides a financial safety net in case of a serious accident. Look into your coverage options to find out what’s best for you once you’ve met the legal minimums.

To learn more, from the best discounts and deals on auto insurance to the different rules and regulations across the country, visit the comprehensive guide to car insurance.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    FredMay 18, 2018

    Do you insure imported cars?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoanneMay 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Fred,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      You can find imported car insurance by getting several quotes from standard insurers with cover for special vehicles. Then compare these with the quotes provided by specialist insurers.

      On the table displayed on this page you should see providers that might cover your imported car.


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