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Louisiana Car Insurance Basics

Auto insurance is required for all drivers in Louisiana. According to state law, motorists must maintain adequate levels of personal auto liability insurance meeting state minimum requirements. Beyond liability insurance, every individual policy holder in Louisiana has the option of adding other elective options to enhance the strength and scope of their policies. From medical payments to towing reimbursement, these endorsements can add value to a LA policy, but they obviously do come at an increased premium price. Decisions regarding what to include in a policy beyond what's required are up to individual drivers. But maintaining insurance that is legally adequate and up to date is very important. The state has put in place certain punitive consequences for those who are found to be out of compliance.

LA Car Insurance Requirements

In the state of Louisiana, auto liability insurance is required for all drivers at a 15/30/25 level [1]. These numbers represent, in order, the minimum limits of protection required for Louisiana drivers in the state expressed in thousands of dollars for the three different parts of a split form liability policy. Those three parts are all single accidents limits; and they are single victim bodily injury, multiple victim bodily injury, and property damage liability plans. Each of the three parts takes care of a specific area of financial liability following an accident for which the covered driver is to blame. Liability protection also extends to family members or others driving a covered vehicle with the policy holder's permission.

The general idea behind liability car insurance is to give the covered driver protection to help meet financial responsibility requirements following an at fault accident. Without any kind of policy, it would be difficult to impossible for most of us in the state to take on these expenses out of pocket. In fact, this same reasoning is what makes it so important to consider carrying more than the state mandated 15/30/25 minimum levels. Many liability claims far exceed those minimums, so having adequate coverage is essential.

Elective Endorsements for Louisiana Drivers

In addition to compulsory liability protection, drivers in Louisiana have several other options for elective endorsements on their car insurance policies.

Medical payments coverage pays approved medical expenses for a certain specified period of time after an accident, up to the limits of the policy. This coverage pays out regardless of fault, includes funeral benefits, and applies to family members and passengers as well as the covered policy holder.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays out for bodily injury suffered as a result of an accident with a driver who does not have sufficient insurance to pay. Optional uninsured motorist economic only coverage is the same as uninsured with the one difference being that it is limited to the actual costs of the injury. Those who choose this option are not allowed to seek compensation for pain and suffering.

Uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage provides for repairs to your vehicle after an accident with an uninsured driver or one whose insurance plan is insufficient to cover all damages. These policies come with a $250 deductible and are limited to $10,000 or the cash value of the covered vehicle. This coverage is not available if you have collision.

Collision and comprehensive coverage protect the insured vehicle against property loss from a number of different sources. Collision is set aside for accident related loss, while comprehensive deals with losses from sources such as falling objects, explosion, fire, theft, and vandalism. Collision insurance applies whether or not you were at fault in an accident.

Towing coverage and rental reimbursement are other elective options available for Louisiana drivers.

Consequences of Not Maintaining Insurance

Motorists in the state are expected to abide by these basic rules and regulations. Those who choose not to comply with LA auto insurance requirements face possible penalties for these decisions. Upon being pulled over by a law enforcement officer or at the scene of an accident, a motorist who fails to provide current proof of insurance can have their vehicle immediately impounded. Alternately, an officer may choose to remove the vehicle's license plates and place a yellow sticker on the back window. This sticker indicates that the auto owner has three days to provide proof of insurance to the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV). After that three day window has passed, the car can be impounded, and all towing and reinstatement fees must be paid before the car can be returned to its owner.

Clearly, auto insurance is important in the state of Louisiana. Drivers must be sure to remain in compliance with state law to avoid possible consequences. Even more so, they should consider additional coverage on their car insurance policies to enhance their overall package of protection.

[1] Retrieved 2010-04-03.


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