Every year, millions of spectators and viewers watch race cars make left turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Luckily, the traffic in other parts of Indiana tends to be more sedate. Indiana has some of the strictest safety laws in the country, and it's serious about car insurance, too. Read on to learn more about car insurance requirements and other rules of the road in the Hoosier State.
Indiana Vehicle Insurance Requirements
Indiana requires its drivers buy insurance to cover injury and property damage from driving accidents. Although it is illegal to drive without insurance in Indiana, about 16.5 percent of drivers go without it. To help protect drivers and their passengers, all new policies include coverage against uninsured or underinsured drivers. If you're willing to try your luck against all of the uninsured drivers out there, you can opt out of this coverage, but you'll have to do so in writing.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Indiana?
As long as the vehicle is used on Indiana's roads and highways, it needs to be insured. If a car doesn't work or isn't in use, it doesn't need to have liability coverage. However, consumers should clear this with their insurance company and the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles ahead of time to avoid administrative hassles down the road.
Proof of Insurance
Indiana drivers can provide proof of insurance with a printed card or via an app on their cell phones. They'll need it if they're ever in an accident. Indiana policy is to make sure people have proper insurance coverage after any of the following things happen:
- Vehicle registration
- Accident or conviction
- Traffic collision
- Traffic violation
Anyone receiving a notification from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will need to call their insurance agent and ask him or her to send a Certificate of Compliance to the bureau.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Indiana
Indiana, like nearly every other state, requires its drivers to insure their vehicles. Its minimum requirements for liability insurance are:
- $25,000 to cover an injury to one person
- $50,000 to cover injuries to multiple people
- $10,000 to cover property damage
Insurance groups generally recommend up to 10 times that much in liability coverage for injury and accidents (see: How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need?).
Drivers may also carry uninsured motorist coverage at these minimums unless they opt out in writing:
- $25,000 to cover one injury
- $50,000 per accident
- $10,0000 for property damage
Alternatives to Insurance in Indiana
Insurance-wary drivers have two alternatives to dealing with a big insurer. They can file a surety bond or they can deposit cash, securities, or trust funds worth $40,000 with the state treasurer. Afterward, they'll need to bring their receipt to the BMV.
Like other drivers, they'll still have to show proof of financial responsibility in case of an accident, but unlike other drivers, they may not be able to expand their coverage for comprehensive and collision coverage. Nor will they be immune to paying even more should they be at fault in a catastrophic accident.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Indiana?
Jenifer Groth of the Indiana Department of Insurance says there's a reason why the state is cracking down on drivers who don't have the proper coverage. "Uninsured drivers may cause damages which they are unable to respond to," she says, which means everyone else ends up paying the bill.
If you don't pay for auto insurance in Indiana, here's what can happen:
- Your license will be suspended.
- You will have to submit an SR22 form showing you have insurance for the next three years.
- You will have to pay $150, $225, or $300 to get your license reinstated.
If you change or cancel your insurance, their insurer will contact the BMV. The BMV will then get in touch with you. At that point you'll have to contact your new insurer for proof there was no gap in coverage.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need in Indiana?
Cheap car insurance and best car insurance are not necessarily synonymous. In Indiana, the amount of coverage required by law will likely fall short of what a bad accident will cost you. The right policy depends on the value of your car and your overall assets, but most experts recommend carrying liability coverage of $100,000 per injury and $300,000 or more per accident in case of a catastrophic collision, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Indiana Lack Vehicle Insurance? 16.7% National Average: 13 % (Source: Insurance Research Council - latest data, 2015)
Because Indiana has a relatively high proportion of uninsured drivers, it makes sense to keep the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that comes with your policy. "There is no effective way to ensure that drivers maintain their auto insurance coverage," Groth says. "That is why uninsured motorist coverage is advisable."
Collision and comprehensive insurance are also solid investments for any vehicle worth more than a deductible and several years' worth of premiums.
For more on the policy that's right for you, see our MoneyGeek guide to car insurance.
Teen Drivers in Indiana
When they are driving with a learner's permit with their parents in the car, teenage drivers don't need to be on an insurance plan. But when a permit leads to a license, families will have to place them on their plan, which is usually less expensive than buying them their own plan. It's a fact: families of teen drivers will have trouble finding cheap car insurance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains why, pointing out that teenage drivers account for a disproportionate amount of car crashes.
Families can lower their premiums by investing in safety features and letting their child drive a family car with good crash protection. Also, check out the good student discount.
Indiana Teen Drivers: The Impact on Your Car Insurance
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,679 increase This is a difference of 108%.
Average annual premium jump if a teen gets a speeding ticket while driving 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit:
Insurance Discounts for Indiana Teens
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$285 saved
Price Compare: Premiums from Indiana Insurers
Policy costs vary hugely, so shop around. Compare the annual average premiums for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Indiana:
|United Farm Bureau of IN Group||$2,708||$5,086||$15,874|
Will Your Car Choice Affect Your Premium in Indiana?
Do insurers consider sports cars a more risky choice for teens than minivans and sedans? Definitely, and that's why premiums are so much higher for sports cars, according to industry representatives.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Indiana
College students are also higher-risk drivers, and their insurance premiums are likely to stay high. Indiana college students and their families should work with the insurance company to get the right coverage because several factors determine their premium costs:
- Where they go to school: residents have to have their car registered in the state and have a valid Indiana car insurance policy to go with it, but out-of-state students may be able to maintain residency in their home state.
- Who owns the car: being able to stay on a family policy is usually cheaper than buying an individual one.
- Where it's parked: students separated from their vehicles while away at college qualify for lower premiums because they are driving less.
Note: if you go to school out of state, let your insurance agent know. If you take your car, you'll usually need to match the car insurance requirements of your new state.
Indiana Teen Drivers vs. College Age Students
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$806 decrease This is a decrease of 23%.
Compare Annual Premiums for Indiana Insurers
Every year, review your policy before it renews to see whether you could get a better deal. Check out the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Indiana.
|United Farm Bureau of IN Group||$2,264||$4,028||$9,844|
Distance Discount: Savings for Indiana College Students
You may see a slight break in your family's premium if your student lives 150+ miles away from home.
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
- $3,145 at home
- $2,799 at school
- $346 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $2,723 at home
- $2,494 at school
- $229 in savings
Which Cars Drive Up Your Premium in Indiana?
If your college student drives a minivan, data shows your premium will be cheaper than if he or she drives a sports car.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$3,493
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$2,319
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Indiana
Whether you're one of the state's approximately 950 active duty military personnel or a veteran, ask insurance companies about discounts before you buy a policy in Indiana. Always shop around, as rates to cover the same vehicle can vary by as much as 300 percent, depending on the company. Even with a military discount, you'll still need a good driving record to get the best rates.
The Indiana Department of Insurance outlines state requirements for coverage here. Military personnel from Indiana who are deployed out of the state can either register their vehicles in their temporary state or renew with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Active duty individuals stationed in Indiana can also register in Indiana.
Indiana Service Members:
How the Vehicle You Choose Affects Your Premium
Our research shows that a sedan, minivan or older model SUV has less impact on your premium than a recent model sports car -- a vehicle that insurers associate with speeding.
Comparison of Premium Ranges for a Military Driver by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age-Based Perks for Indiana
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Compare Average Premiums Available to Indiana Military Personnel
When looking for auto insurance, it pays to do some comparison shopping. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Indiana.
Seniors in Indiana
Unlike many states, Indiana does not require insurers to offer discounts to older drivers who complete driving courses. But discounts from insurance companies are likely still available for drivers with a clean record who have completed a defensive driving course.
Undocumented Workers in Indiana
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Indiana does not provide driver's licenses — a prerequisite for auto insurance — to undocumented immigrants.
Ridesharing Insurance: Are You Covered?
In 2015, Indiana's governor signed into law a bill that regulates transportation network companies (TNCs), more commonly known as ridesharing companies. As part of the law, drivers employed by Uber, Lyft or other TNCs must carry appropriate liability insurance whenever they are logged into the system via the TNC's app. The regulation is currently supervised by the state's Department of Transportation.
That doesn't mean drivers should take for granted that their insurance policies will cover everything. Personal auto insurance and TNC insurance have different purposes. For instance, a personal auto policy may not cover injuries to a paying passenger, since personal car insurance generally doesn't cover "driving for hire." In addition, a TNC-backed plan may not cover drivers who collide with an uninsured driver. Talk with your insurance agent to find out what you need to do to be fully covered.
Car Accidents in Indiana: How Do You File a Claim?
The Indiana BMV urges you to take these steps in case of a crash:
- Check for injuries and damage costing at least $1,000. If there are either, call the police and they will come and file a report; make sure to get officers' names and badge numbers.
- Get the names and contact details for all people involved in the crash.
- Record the license plate numbers and car details for each vehicle in the crash.
- Get the license number and insurance ID for each driver.
- Find witnesses to the crash, and take down their contact details.
- Call your insurer, who will need to file a Certificate of Compliance (COC) with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to prove you have sufficient coverage.
Best and Worst States for Drivers: How Does Indiana Rank?
In recognition of its strict traffic safety laws, Indiana was one of 10 states that received the highest rating of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in 2016. However, the safety alliance notes that Indiana could likely cut into its road death toll by requiring helmets for adults on motorcycles. In 2013, 118 motorcyclists died on Indiana roads.
Indiana Driver Safety Ranking
The driver safety table shows the different safety factors that contribute to your state's overall safety rank (in the green box). The overall safety ranking and the National Ranking column scores in each category (including crash fatality rates) are from safest to most dangerous, with 1st being the safest and 51st the least safe.
How did we create the safety rankings?
We created a traffic safety ranking of all US states plus the District of Columbia by combining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We looked at fatality rates by distance traveled as well as by population and gave more weight to behaviors that were riskier and preventable (i.e., drunk driving, not using a seat belt), as well as to accidents that involved more than one party (i.e., multi-vehicle).
|Driver Safety Profile||Number of Fatalities||Fatality Rate
The fatality rate is the rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled, except for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality measures, which are per measured per a population of 100,000.
Rankings are in order of safest to least safe. A state with the lowest fatality rate would be the safest, and thus ranked #1.
|Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities||196||2.50||8th|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||201||2.57||18th|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||82||1.05||38th|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||366||4.67||29th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||783||10.00||20th|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Indiana: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
Indiana offers protections for young drivers, bans texting while driving, and has a strict belt law. While applauding those laws, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety urges the state to adopt all-rider motorcycle helmet law and mandatory DUI ignition interlocks (which are devices that test for alcohol on the breath and won't let the ignition turn on if detected).
Safe Driving Laws - Indiana
|Mandatory seat belts||All drivers and passengers required to wear seat belts; drivers can be pulled over if a person in the car is not buckled up|
|Child passenger safety||Children under 8 must use an infant safety seat, child safety seat, or booster seat|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||Indiana uses the terms OUI ("operating under the influence") for DUI, which means driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. Penalties for a first offense include up to a year in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and a license suspension of up to 2 years. With each conviction, penalties increase.|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||Not mandatory|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||Texting while driving is illegal; drivers under 21 may not use cell phones at all|
|Protections for young drivers||No passengers or nighttime driving from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for first six months; limited nighttime driving until 18th birthday|
|Motorcycle helmet law||Partial||Minors must wear helmets|
|Bicycle helmet law||No statewide law|
Car Insurance Resources for Indiana Residents
If you have a spotty driving record and have been turned down for insurance, contact the Indiana Automobile Insurance Plan for high-risk drivers.
Insurance works hand-in-hand with licensing and registration. Keep on top of the process with the state BMV.
A quick rundown of the insurance forms used by the BMV. It's especially helpful for anyone who has lost a license due to lack of insurance and needs to get it reinstated.
Though not strictly about insurance, this report by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute may remind people of the importance of insuring themselves against collisions.
The IDOI can help consumers who have difficulties settling a claim or receiving their settlement, have been taken advantage of by an insurance agent or have had their policies cancelled without proper notice, among other things.