Louisiana Car Insurance Laws and Requirements

Louisiana's minimum liability car insurance coverage requirements, penalties for driving without auto insurance in the state, and more.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law

In Louisiana, as in every state, car insurance is sure to play a big part in any claim brought after a traffic accident:

  • Louisiana requires vehicle owners to maintain certain minimum amounts of liability insurance in case they cause an accident.
  • You may have several different car insurance claim options after a car accident in Louisiana.
  • Driving without car insurance in Louisiana can result in a variety of penalties, and can affect your ability to recover compensation after a car accident.

Is Louisiana a "No-Fault" Car Insurance State?

No. Louisiana follows a traditional "fault"-based system when it comes to financial responsibility for losses stemming from a car accident: injuries, lost income, vehicle damage, and so on. This means that the person who was at fault for causing the car accident is also responsible for compensating others for any harm resulting from the crash (from a practical standpoint, the at-fault driver's insurance carrier will absorb these losses, up to policy limits).

What Are My Options for Getting Compensation After a Louisiana Car Accident?

Depending on the kinds of car insurance coverage that are in play after an accident (including the details of your own policy, and the other driver's), after a car accident in Louisiana, you might be able to:

  • file a claim under your own car insurance coverage, regardless of who caused the crash—if you have personal injury protection or MedPay coverage (for car accident injuries)—or collision coverage (for vehicle damage) and get a settlement
  • file a third party car insurance claim directly with the other driver's insurance company under their liability insurance coverage (if it's pretty clear that the other driver is at fault for the crash) and get a settlement, or
  • filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in Louisiana's civil court system; note that the other driver's liability insurance would still cover any court award you end up receiving (up to policy limits), and your case could always settle any time before trial.

Note: In no-fault car insurance states, a claimant doesn't usually have this same range of options. But Louisiana drivers don't need to worry about no-fault after an in-state accident.

Minimum Liability Car Insurance Requirements in Louisiana

The required minimum amounts of liability car insurance coverage in Louisiana are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle, and
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.

This basic coverage pays the medical bills, property damage bills, and other costs of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured or have their vehicle damaged in a car accident you cause, up to coverage limits.

You can (and in some situations probably should) carry more coverage to protect you in case a serious crash results in significant car accident injuries and vehicle damage.

Remember, once policy limits are exhausted, you are personally on the financial hook, so higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious crash.

Who Is Covered Under Liability Car Insurance In Louisiana?

Your liability coverage will kick in if any family member is driving your vehicle, or if you've given someone else permission to use it. It will likely also cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.

Liability Car Insurance Won't Cover Your Car Accident Losses

Remember that the liability coverage we discussed here doesn't apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage after a Louisiana car accident. You'll need different (additional) coverage for that if you're involved in a car accident and no one else's coverage applies to your losses. For example, collision coverage (optional in Louisiana) can pay for repairs to (or replacement of) your damaged vehicle after a car accident.

Note that collision or comprehensive might be required under the terms of a vehicle lease or financing agreement. And while not required in Louisiana, uninsured motorist coverage can really save the day if you're in a car accident with a motorist who is driving without insurance, or if you're involved in a hit and run accident. Learn more about different types of car insurance coverage.

Can I Show Digital Proof of Car Insurance In Louisiana?

Yes. If you're pulled over or involved in a car accident, you can show proof of car insurance to a Louisiana law enforcement officer with:

  • an insurance card listing your car insurance policy details, or
  • a digital version of the insurance card (or the policy declaration page, or other documentation) on your phone or other device.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Louisiana?

According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, driving without insurance—or being involved in a crash as an uninsured driver—can result in the imposition of a fine of $500 to $1,000, plus the suspension of driving privileges, impoundment of a vehicle, revocation of registration, or cancellation of license plates.

Of course, these penalties will likely pale in comparison to the financial hit you could take if you're in a car accident and you don't have car insurance, especially if you're the one at fault for the crash.

If you're having difficulty finding a company to insure you in Louisiana, it might make sense to look into the Louisiana Automobile Insurance Plan, which helps pair vehicle owners with reputable insurance companies.

What Is Louisiana's "No Pay, No Play" Law?

If you drive without insurance in Louisiana, the state's "No Pay, No Play" law may also prohibit you from collecting full compensation for your losses after a car accident, even if the other driver is at fault. Specifically, this law (which can be found at Louisiana Rev. Stat. 32:866) says that anyone driving without insurance at the time of a crash won't be able to recover:

  • the first $25,000 in property damage resulting from the accident, and
  • the first $15,000 in personal injuries caused by the accident.

There are exceptions. An uninsured driver can still receive full compensation for their car accident losses if the other driver:

  • was convicted of driving while intoxicated in connection with the accident
  • intentionally caused the accident
  • fled the scene of the accident, or
  • caused the accident while committing a felony.

Getting Help After a Louisiana Car Accident

For more details on how car insurance works in Louisiana, check out the Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance from the Louisiana Department of Insurance. You can also learn more about Louisiana laws that might affect a car accident case.

If you've been in a car accident in Louisiana, you might need more than the basics on how car insurance works in your state. Learn more about what to do after a car accident, and how a lawyer can help with your car accident claim.

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