Nebraska is known more for cornfields than traffic jams, which is just the way residents like it. Still, the state does have around 1.5 million drivers on the road - and most are conscientious when it comes to insurance. The Insurance Information Institute reports that only about 6.8 percent of the state's vehicle owners lack car insurance, one of the lowest rates in the nation.
Insurance Requirements for Nebraska Vehicles
In Nebraska, you must have at least a minimum level of liability insurance to drive a car or post a sizeable bond (See Alternatives to Insurance, below). If you pass an approved safe driving class, insurance companies must give you a discount. Depending on the insurer, you may also get a break for good driving and other discounts.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Nebraska?
All drivers in Nebraska have to get car insurance or post a bond before the DMV will register and plate a vehicle. Stored vehicles that aren't used on public roads do not require registration, so they don't need to be insured.
Proof of Insurance
You're supposed to carry an insurance card in the vehicle and show it if a police officer asks, but don't expect him to take it too seriously. "We no longer deal with insurance cards, which can be easily copied," says Fred Zwonechek, administrator of the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety. "We use an electronic system to check drivers on the spot and give them tickets," he says.
You should also expect to have your insurance checked when registering a car. And you'll have to share insurance information after any accident that involves injury or property damage.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Nebraska
Nebraska requires specific minimum levels of liability coverage for all motor vehicle owners in these amounts:
- $25,000 per person for injury
- $50,000 for all injuries
- $25,000 for property damage.
Alternatives to Insurance:
As an alternative to buying insurance, Nebraska vehicle owners can post a $75,000 secured bond for every car and truck they own, or they can submit a cash deposit of equal value to the Nebraska State Treasurer. However, if you're at fault in an accident that costs more than $75,000, you'll be expected to pay for the difference.
If you're a high-risk driver who can't buy a policy on the open market, you can apply for insurance through the Nebraska Automobile Insurance Plan. Applications for the plan are available through insurance agents licensed in the state.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Nebraska?
If you're caught driving without insurance in Nebraska, you can expect to face the following consequences:
- Fines of typically between $50 and $100, depending on number of violations.
- Driver's license suspension
- Possible license plate revocation
- Possible points added to a driver's record
Reinstating a driver's license in Nebraska requires proof of insurance, usually an SR-22 form, plus a $50 fee.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need?
The minimum insurance required by Nebraska law is fairly minimal, so you may want to buy extra insurance to be sufficiently covered. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance experts and consumer advocates recommend getting liability insurance of $100,000 or more per injury and $300,000 or more per accident.
Nebraska Lack Vehicle Insurance? 6.8% National Average: 13 % (Source: Insurance Research Council - latest data, 2015)
You may also want to consider uninsured motorist protection, which will help cover your damages if the driver at fault doesn't have insurance or engages in a hit and run.
And if you own a new car, you may want to get collision coverage (which covers repairs or car loss in a crash) or comprehensive (which pays for car damage caused by fire, theft and natural disasters with a tornado or flood). If you have a car loan, your lender will require it.
For more common types of coverage, see our MoneyGeek guide to car insurance.
Teen Drivers in Nebraska
The Nebraska Department of Insurance advises parents that it may be less expensive to buy and insure an older vehicle for a teen driver than to add their child to an existing policy. If you decide to add a teen driver to your insurance, consider raising the deductible on damage to manage the increase in premiums.
Nebraska has put restrictions on young drivers in an effort to save their lives while they're learning to drive. "We have significantly improved since adopting the graduated licensing system," Zwonechek says. "But [teens] still remain a troubling statistic, and a number of our educational programs focus just on teen drivers."
Nebraska Car Insurance Premiums: The Impact of a Teen Driver
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,784 increase This is a difference of 116%.
Average annual premium increase if a teen gets a speeding ticket while driving 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit:
Teen Driver Discounts in Nebraska
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$288 saved
How Auto Insurance Premiums Compare from Nebraska Insurers
Policy costs vary more than you may think, so shop around. Check out the annual average premiums for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Nebraska:
|Farmers Mutual of Nebraska||$1,680||$3,246||$8,178|
|Farm Bureau Mutual (IA Group)||$3,621||$6,870||$13,727|
Will Your Nebraska Premiums Go Up With This Car?
Data suggests teens are safer -- and pay far less in insurance -- if they drive a sedan or minivan rather than a new model sports car.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Nebraska
In Nebraska, full-time college students from out of state who hold a valid driver's license do not need a Nebraska license to drive. Nebraska residents enrolled in an out-of-state school should:
- Let their insurance company know if the auto will be used in another state more than 30 days a year.
- Adjust insurance coverage to meet the requirements of the state the student is living in temporarily.
High School Drivers vs. College Students in Nebraska
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$1,002 decrease This is a decrease of 29%.
Annual Premiums With a College Student in Nebraska
Each year, take a look at your policy to see whether you could get a better deal. Compare, for example, the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Nebraska.
|Farmers Mutual of Nebraska||$1,630||$2,844||$6,146|
|Farm Bureau Mutual (IA Group)||$1,619||$3,363||$6,721|
Nebraska College Drivers: Distance Discount
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
- $3,068 at home
- $2,620 at school
- $448 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $2,611 at home
- $2,341 at school
- $270 in savings
Will Your Car Choice Affect Your Premium in Nebraska?
If your child drives a sports car instead of a sedan or minivan, that will cause a bigger jump in your car insurance rates.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$3,368
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$2,203
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Nebraska
More than a dozen auto insurance companies offer discounts to veterans and the 6,000 or so active-duty military members in Nebraska. These include major carriers like Geico and AFI, as well as specialty companies that work just with armed forces personnel. Take into account the value of your car and your personal net worth when shopping for the best rate on auto insurance in the Cornhusker State. It helps to get at least three quotes for a decent comparison. Your military discount is usually automatic and you only need to show proof of service, but to get the best rate you'll need to show a good driving record too.
With insurance coverage, military personnel who are stationed at a base in Nebraska, but are not legal state residents, can still drive on their valid out-of-state plates. For everyone else, registering a vehicle online takes only a few minutes through the Nebraska DMV.
Nebraska Service Members:
How Vehicle Choice Affects Your Premium
According to our research, a recent model sports car will drive your premium higher than an older model SUV.
Military Drivers: How Premium Ranges Compare by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age-Based Savings for Nebraska
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Compare Average Premiums Available to Nebraska Military Personnel
When looking for the best premiums, it pays to do some comparison shopping. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Nebraska.
Seniors in Nebraska
Although Nebraska law does not require insurance discounts for seniors who complete a safe driving class, many companies still offer it as well as other discounts. These can include:
- A multi-car discount
- Combination auto/homeowner coverage
- Age-based discounts
Undocumented Workers in Nebraska
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Nebraska does not currently allow driving privileges to unauthorized immigrants.
Ridesharing Insurance in Nebraska: Are You Covered?
When it comes to ridesharing insurance, Montana's rideshare requirements are in line with the rest of the nation: liability limits of 50/100/25 for injury per person/injury per incident/property damage. $1 million in coverage is required while the driver is engaged with a passenger.
If you are a driver:
Make sure to discuss your options with your insurance provider. It's likely that not all the recommended coverages are automatically included in your policy, so do your due diligence.
Car Accidents: How to File a Claim in Nebraska
If you get in an accident in Nebraska, you must notify the police. Law enforcement officials are required to file a report on any crash resulting in injury, death or personal property damage. In addition, you should exchange insurance policy information and notify the insurance company, even if you aren't at fault. It's also a good idea to get contact information for witnesses and to take photos of the crash scene, if possible.
Nebraska has a four-year statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit against the driver or vehicle owner responsible for an accident.
Driver Safety: How Does Nebraska Rank?
The Cornhusker State ranks just below the U.S. average in traffic fatalities and sees a lower rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths as well. Teen drivers in Nebraska are involved in 20 percent of all crashes, although they make up only 7.1 percent of the state's drivers. They're also disproportionately involved in crashes related to speeding and/or cell phone use.
Nebraska 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||59||3.06||19th|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||105||5.43||44th|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||1||0.05||6th|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||90||4.66||27th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||211||10.92||31st|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Nebraska: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
Nebraska is taking serious steps to keep drivers safe, Zwonechek says. The state studies crash data from prior years to figure out the factors behind deaths and serious injuries, "then we work on reducing them," he says. "Seat belt use is still a big issue. People who aren't using seat belts represent 70 percent of our fatalities."
Despite the state's efforts, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety still gives the state a red light, or "danger" score, in terms of driving safety laws. Among other things, the alliance says, Nebraska needs to be able to pull over motorists for not wearing a seat belt and raise the minimum age for a learner's permit to age 16.
Safe Driving Laws - Nebraska
|Mandatory seat belts||Partial||Drivers and front-seat passengers must wear seat belts and can be fined $25 for violations; however, drivers cannot be pulled over for seat belt violations alone.|
|Child passenger safety||Kids eight and under must ride in a certified safety or booster seat.|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||Up to 60 days in jail, 60 days suspended, and fines up to $500 for first offense, among other penalties. Legal limit is 0.08% (0.02% for drivers under 21).|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||Recently updated to be mandatory following all convictions.|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||(texting only)||Nebraska bans texting and driving. Cell phone use prohibited entirely for learner and intermediate license holders.|
|Protections for young drivers||Graduated license program with safety requirements at each stage: curfew of Midnight - 6 a.m. until age 17, max one passenger under the age of 19 for the first six months.|
|Motorcycle helmet law||All riders must wear a helmet.|
|Bicycle helmet law||No universal helmet law.|
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association, 2016
Car Insurance Resources for Nebraska Residents
Driver safety information and statistics
Consumer information site featuring a guide to auto insurance rates.
Office locations, driver's license forms, information on documents required to get a license and insurance requirements.
Consumer information on getting a vehicle titled and registered, with downloadable forms.
Nebraska DMV site for the graduated license program, including insurance requirements for teens.
Offers resources to local and federal safety programs.
A yearly report on the state's road safety laws from an alliance of consumer, public health and insurer groups, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.