Featured Expert
Jim Donelon
Jim Donelon Louisiana Insurance Commissioner View bio

This guide was written by

MoneyGeek Staff

From the gulf shore to the big river, drivers in the Bayou State enjoy some amazing views, but they pay a steep price for the privilege. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Louisiana ranks up near the top of the list of most expensive states for auto insurance – a particular challenge in a state where the median income is just over $40,000 a year. “This has been a decades-long challenge for our state,” says Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon. Read on to learn more about insurance requirements in Louisiana, and what you can do to avoid sticker shock.

Louisiana Vehicle Insurance Requirements

Summary

State law requires you to have liability coverage on your vehicle. Even so, an estimated 13.9 percent of Louisiana drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council.

The problem: if you drive without insurance you are taking a big risk. In addition to risking fines and possible impoundment of your vehicle, the state’s “No Play, No Pay” law limits an uninsured driver’s ability to recover costs after an accident, even when they aren’t at fault.

If you have a poor driving record, or have had many insurance claims in the past, you may find it difficult to get a company to write a policy for you. In this case you can get coverage through the Louisiana Automobile Insurance Plan. This assigned risk pool will cover those who can’t find insurance in the regular insurance market, but it will likely cost more.

Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Louisiana?

All vehicles registered in Louisiana must carry liability insurance, or another form of evidence of financial responsibility (either a bond or $50,000 deposited with the state treasurer).

If you cancel your insurance, you have to turn your license plate in to the Office of Motor Vehicles. If you don’t plan to drive your vehicle on any Louisiana roads, but you still want to keep it registered, submit a Vehicle Statement of Non-Use before you cancel the liability insurance. You can do that online at the Office of Motor Vehicles.

Proof of Insurance

You must show proof of insurance when you register your vehicle and when pulled over by the police. You can show either a copy of the policy, the insurance card or a letter signed by the insurance agent on company letterhead describing the vehicle and including the vehicle identification number.

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements

Louisiana requires that you show proof of liability insurance when you register your vehicle. The state raised the minimum liability insurance requirements in 2010. “Before that,” says Donelon, “we had the lowest limits in the country.” The minimum insurance requirements today are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury to one person,
  • $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in a single accident
  • $25,000 coverage for damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property

What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Louisiana?

If you are caught driving without insurance, you may have your vehicle impounded or your license plate may be removed. If this happens, you are given three days to show the Office of Motor Vehicles proof of insurance. If you fail to do that and are stopped again, you may have your vehicle impounded until you can provide proof of insurance. You will be responsible for all towing and reinstatement fees, as well as fines of up to $700.

If you get in an accident and don’t have insurance, Louisiana’s “No Pay, No Play” law prohibits you from collecting the first $25,000 in property damage and the first $15,000 in personal injury, even if you are not at fault for the accident.

How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need in Louisiana?

To protect your assets, insurance experts regularly recommend you purchase more than the minimum insurance required by law. In Louisiana, however, the high cost of insurance premiums combined with relatively low income levels make paying for automobile insurance difficult.

What Percentage of Drivers in
Louisiana Lack Vehicle Insurance?
13.9% National Average: 12.6 %

“We have a lot of people in our state who just can’t afford it,” says Commissioner Donelon. “They are struggling to do what the law requires them to do, but they don’t consider themselves to have enough assets to justify buying insurance at the higher limits.” According to Donelon, 40 percent of the state’s drivers purchase no more than the minimum insurance required.

When deciding how much insurance you can afford, be sure to shop around and ask about discounts. Depending on the company and your situation, you could get a discount based on your driving record, insuring multiple vehicles, limited driving and the installation of anti-theft devices, just to name a few.

Car Insurance and Special Groups

Teen Drivers in Louisiana

Prepare for a jump in premiums when you add your teenager to your auto insurance policy. Still, it is important to shop around because prices can vary greatly.

Keep an eye out for discounts. For example, most Louisiana insurance companies will give discounts to full-time students who have a B average or higher. You may also be able to get a discount if your child successfully completes a safe driver course.

How a Teen Driver Affects Your Louisiana Car Insurance

Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:

$3,790 increase This is a difference of 159%.
Comparison of Premium Ranges
25th - 75th Percentile Median
Watch Your Speedometer

Average annual premium increase if a teen gets a speeding ticket for driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit:

Male teen

$930

Speedometer
Female teen

$770

What Discounts Do Louisiana Teens Get?

Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:

$853 saved

Price Compare: Premiums from Louisiana Insurers

It's good to shop around, since the cost of premiums varies wildly. Compare the annual average premiums for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Louisiana:

Insurance Provider Min MEDIAN MAX
Southern Farm Bureau $2,175 $5,224 $9,972
GEICO $2,624 $5,941 $13,408
State Farm $2,915 $6,868 $15,049
Progressive $3,124 $6,992 $15,504
Allstate $3,163 $7,464 $25,577

Will Your Car Choice Affect Your Premium in Louisiana?

Sports cars are a more risky choice for teens than sedans and minivans, since they are associated with speeding. Check out the differences in premiums below.

Average premium for two 2014
Mustang GTs

$8,559

Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds

$5,461

Annual benefit of minivans:

$3,098 saved This is 36% less expensive.
Premium Comparison for Two Adults + 16 Year Old
25th - 75th Percentile Median

College Students in Louisiana

Unless your child has become a permanent resident of another state, most companies will not require you to make any changes to your policy when your child goes to college, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance. But it’s a good idea to discuss these changes with your insurance agent. If your child is going to college at least 100 miles from home and won’t be driving, you may be able to get a discount.

College vs. High School Drivers in Louisiana

Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver

$1,909 decrease This is a decrease of 29%.
Comparison of Premium Ranges
25th - 75th Percentile Median

Annual Rates for Louisiana Insurance Providers

Each year, take a look at your policy to see whether you could get a better rate elsewhere. Compare the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Louisiana.

Provider Min MEDIAN MAX
GEICO $1,059 $2,672 $6,909
State Farm $1,717 $4,162 $9,747
Southern Farm Bureau $2,139 $4,637 $8,404
Progressive $2,224 $4,782 $10,648
Allstate $3,406 $6,865 $17,090

Louisiana College Drivers: Distance Discount

You may see your family’s premium drop slightly if your student lives 150+ miles away from home.

Average premium for a 19-year-old male
  • $5,652 at home
  • $4,689 at school
  • $963 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
  • $4,791 at home
  • $4,108 at school
  • $683 in savings

College Students in Louisiana: Mustangs vs. Minivans

If your college student drives a family car such as a sedan or minivan, you'll pay far less in premiums than than if he or she drives a sports car, according to insurance data.

2014 Mustang GTs (2)

$6,083

2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)

$3,975

Annual benefit of minivans

$2,108 saved This is 35% less expensive.
Premium Comparison for Two Adults + College Driver
25th - 75th Percentile Median

Military Drivers in Louisiana

Louisiana has 17, 604 active duty military personnel and 330,000 veterans. If you are a veteran or an active duty member of the Armed Forces, be sure to shop around to get the best rate on your car insurance. You may prefer a company that specializes in insuring military members and veterans – like USAA or AFI. But many other insurance companies offer discounts to members of the military or veterans, so don’t rule them out.

If you are a permanent resident of Louisiana on active duty outside the state, you can renew your license (except a commercial license) by mail. If you don’t, it will still be valid for 60 days after you return home from deployment.

If you lose your license while stationed outside the state, you can apply for a duplicate license by mail using this form. Your best bet is to have your license flagged as “military” in the Louisiana DMV computer system as soon as you enter the Armed Forces. This will keep you from being purged from the system during an out of state deployment. If you are a resident of another state temporarily stationed in Louisiana, you can keep your license from your home state.

Louisiana Service Members:
How the Vehicle You Choose Affects Your Premium

Rollover crashes are more common among SUVs and pickups, according to researchers, but an older model SUV still drives up your premium less than a recent model sports car.

Comparison of Premium Ranges by Driver Age and Vehicle for a Military Driver
25-Year-Old Driver
50-Year-Old Driver
25th - 75th Percentile Median

Age-Based Savings for Louisiana
Service Members

Median auto insurance
for service members:

$1,654
Male (25 yrs)$1,945
Male (50 yrs)$1,489
$456 savings
Female (25 yrs)$1,846
Female (50 yrs)$1,518
$328 savings

Compare Average Premiums Available to Louisiana Military Personnel

When you're looking for reasonable auto insurance premiums, it pays to do some comparison shopping. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Louisiana.

Premium Comparison for a Military Driver
25th - 75th Percentile Median
Louisiana Military Discounts

On average military drivers in Louisiana can save this much on auto insurance:

$148 This is a savings of 8%

Seniors in Louisiana

When you turn 55, you may be able to get a discount on car insurance if you complete a safe driving course. Once you turn 70, you will no longer be able to renew your license by mail.

Undocumented Workers in Louisiana

Louisiana has strict identification requirements for getting a driver’s license, requiring applicants to present social security numbers (or a letter from the Social Security Administration stating they do not have a social security number) and prove that they are in the U.S. legally.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Louisiana passed one of the country’s harshest driving laws, making it a felony for people who aren’t citizens to drive in the state without proof of their immigration status. The Louisiana Supreme Court struck down the law in 2013, noting that it was the federal government’s job to regulate the registration of immigrants.

Ridesharing Insurance in Louisiana: Are You Covered?

In 2015, Louisiana passed legislation regulating transportation network companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft. Under the new law, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2016, drivers must carry at least $1 million in liability insurance when carrying passengers. When logged in to the app before picking up a passenger, they must be covered by at least:

  • $50,000 in bodily injury for one person
  • $100,000 in bodily injury for two people
  • $25,000 in property damage

Ridesharing companies may cover some or all of the insurance, but before signing up to drive for a TNC, it’s a good idea to confirm how much insurance coverage they provide. Inform your insurance agent and make sure you are not violating any of your policy’s terms and conditions. Find out what you need to be fully covered.

Car Accidents: How to File a Claim

If you are in an accident, call the police immediately. Exchange information with the other driver (including name, address, phone number, vehicle information and insurance information); also, get the names and contact info for witnesses. Inform your insurance agent about the accident as soon as possible. If there is a police report, be sure to get a copy, even if it wasn’t your fault. It may come in handy during the claims process.

Best and Worst States for Driver Safety: How Does Louisiana Rank?

Louisiana Driver Safety Ranking

43rd in the U.S.
About Our Data

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.

Ranking
(National)

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 232 4.86 46th
Speeding-Related Fatalities 193 4.04 37th
Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities 248 5.19 41st
Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities 18 0.38 20th
Multiple Vehicle Fatalities 308 6.45 46th
Pedestrian Fatalities 97 2.10 45th
Bicyclist Fatalities 14 0.30 46th
Total Vehicle Fatalities 703 14.72 46th

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Louisiana: Protecting You from Injury on the Road

Most of Louisiana’s traffic safety laws are well in line with the recommendations of safety experts, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Unfortunately, many of its drivers don’t follow them. According to federal data, Louisiana residents rank high in terms of their failure to obey traffic signals, safety belt laws and driving without a license.

  Requirement State Law Details
Mandatory seatbelts For driver and all passengers.
Child passenger safety Rear-facing child seat until age 1 (or 20 lbs); forward-facing child seat age 1-3 (or 20-39 lbs); booster seat age 4-5 (or 40 – 60 lbs).
Driving under the influence (DUI) Penalties include fines, jail time, community service and/or drug treatment. Mandatory 45 day suspension of driving privileges for second DUI
Ignition interlock after DUI Mandatory for all convictions.
Talking on cell or texting while driving (texting and teens) No texting. During first year of license, no cell phone use.
Protections for new drivers During intermediate stage, no more than 1 passenger under 21 (except family) between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. and no driving 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Motorcycle helmet law Universal law enacted 2004.
Bicycle helmet law Partial Required for kids under age 12.

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association, 2016

Car Insurance Resources for Louisiana Residents

Office of Motor Vehicles

Information on driver’s licenses and vehicle registration.

Department of Insurance

Everything you need to know about car insurance requirements in Louisiana.

Automobile Rate Comparison Guide

You can search the state’s biggest insurers in this database set up by the Department of Insurance.

Highway Safety Commission

Maintains statewide traffic and safety information, including crash reports.

Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division

Informs consumers and seeks to protect them from fraud. Provides a consumer hotline for complaints.