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Car insurance in New Jersey

Minimum auto insurance requirements and driving laws in New Jersey

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Before getting auto 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.

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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.

How can I save on my car insurance?

Looking for some ways to save money on your auto insurance in New Jersey? No matter what state you’re in, you can use our general tips to lower your premiums and get a better value out of your coverage.

Who do we recommend?

Metromile Car Insurance

  • Pay by miles driven
  • Low base rates
  • Drive less, pay less

Metromile Car Insurance

Drive less, pay less: Metromile offers pay-per-mile driving that offers huge potential savings for low-mileage drivers. Available only to residents of California, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey and Illinois.

  • Easy claims online or by phone
  • Handy driving app
  • Multi-car discounts
  • All miles over 250 per day are free
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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:

Compare New Jersey car insurance providers

Details Features
Liberty Mutual Car Insurance
Liberty Mutual Car Insurance
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
  • Multi-car discount
  • Bundle discount for combining auto and home policies
  • New vehicle discount
Get Quote More info
Esurance
Esurance
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
  • CoverageMyWay® helps you make smarter choices
  • Gain peace of mind with 24/7 claims service
  • Manage your policy on the go with Esurance Mobile
Get Quote More info
Allstate Auto Insurance
Allstate Auto Insurance
With a range of coverage options at affordable prices, Allstate auto insurance can be personalized to your needs as a driver.
  • Reward System for Safe Drivers
  • Bumper-to-Bumper Basics® Tool
  • Comprehensive Tools to Design a Customized Insurance Plan
Get Quote More info
Metromile Car Insurance
Metromile Car Insurance
Drive less, pay less: Metromile offers pay-per-mile driving that offers huge potential savings for low-mileage drivers. Available only to residents of California, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey and Illinois.
  • Pay per mile driven
  • Charged for only up to 250 miles per day
  • Designed for low-mileage drivers
Get Quote More info
USAA Auto Insurance
USAA Auto Insurance
USAA offers affordable and competitive auto insurance quotes to millions of military members and their families.
  • Convenient service that helps you before, during and after a claim
  • Coverage around the world as your military assignments change
  • Assistance in any vehicle you drive
Get Quote More info

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.

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 the Garden State, 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 offenseSecond offenseThird offense
JailUp to 30 daysUp to 90 daysUp 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 CenterMinimum of 6 hours a day for 2 days2 daysDetainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program
License suspension3 months to 1 year2 years10 years
Ignition interlock device (IID) required6 months to 1 year1–3 years1–3 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 offenseSecond offenseThird 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 CenterYesYesYes
    License suspension7 months to 1 year2 years10 years
    Ignition interlock device (IID) required6 months to 1 year1–3 years1–3 years

    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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