Mississippi Car Insurance Requirements

Find out about Mississippi's minimum car insurance requirements, how to collect damages if you’re injured in a wreck, the penalties for driving without insurance, and more.

By , J.D. University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated by Dan Ray, Attorney University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law
Updated 12/12/2023

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, Mississippi had the highest uninsured motorist rate of any state in the country. Nearly one in three drivers—29.4%—were uninsured. The national average was 12.6% of drivers, making Mississippi's rate almost 2.5 times higher.

Mississippi law requires that all drivers have auto insurance. After a brief overview of Mississippi's fault-based auto insurance system, we'll explain what insurance is required, who and what it covers, how to collect compensation after a car wreck, and more.

Mississippi's Fault-Based Insurance System

Like most states, Mississippi has a fault-based auto insurance system. Under Mississippi law, an at-fault driver—meaning one whose negligence causes an accident—must pay compensation ("damages," in legalese) to people who are injured or whose property is damaged.

To make sure that careless drivers can pay for (at least some of) the damages they cause, Mississippi requires that all motor vehicles must be covered by a policy of auto liability insurance (discussed below). (Miss. Code § 63-15-4(2)(a) (2023).) The insurance company must provide the insured with a paper or electronic proof of insurance card. (Miss. Code § 63-15-4(2)(b) (2023).)

Suppose you're hurt in a Mississippi car accident that wasn't your fault. You can file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the responsible driver. To win damages, you'll have to show that the other driver's negligence, or failure to drive with reasonable care, caused your injuries or property damage. Their auto liability insurance will pay for your losses, up to their insurance limits.

Mississippi's Auto Insurance Requirements

To satisfy Mississippi's mandatory insurance law, an auto liability policy must have at least these coverage limits:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to, or the death of, one person in one accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injuries to, or the deaths of, two or more people in one accident, and
  • $25,000 for property damage caused in one accident.

(Miss. Code § 63-15-43(2)(b) (2023).)

What Drivers and Vehicles Are Covered?

Your auto liability insurance covers—that is, it will pay others for injuries and property damages negligently caused to them by—each driver who's listed as a named insured in the policy. It probably also covers your spouse and others who live with you. When you give someone else permission to use your car, that "permissive user," as the law calls them, likely is covered, too

Each vehicle listed in your policy is insured. If you go on vacation and rent a car, or if you take your car to the shop for repairs and get a loaner car, those temporary vehicles should also be covered. Finally, a replacement vehicle—a new car you buy to replace your current auto—will be covered for a brief grace period, ranging from just a few days to as long as a month. Notify your insurance company as quickly as possible of the replacement.

What Liability Insurance Pays For

When you cause an auto accident, your liability insurance will pay, up to your policy limits, for personal injuries and property damage you cause others—drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, for example. Covered injuries and losses commonly include:

  • doctor, hospital, therapy, pharmacy, and other medical bills
  • lost wages and employment benefits
  • amounts paid for replacement household and child care services
  • costs to repair or replace damaged property
  • pain and suffering
  • emotional distress, and
  • loss of enjoyment of life.

Note that your liability insurance won't pay for your own injuries or property damage, regardless of whether the wreck was your fault. You'll need to have other insurance (discussed below) to reimburse your losses.

Are Mississippi's Required Liability Insurance Minimums Enough?

It depends. If you cause a collision that results in only minor injuries and property damage, Mississippi's mandatory minimums should provide enough protection. But if the accident causes moderate or severe injuries, you'll likely run out of insurance before all the damages are paid.

Remember that you're on the hook for all damages you cause, regardless of how much insurance you have. Once they've exhausted your insurance coverage, injured parties will look to your personal assets—home, autos, bank and investment accounts—to pay their remaining damages. Speak to your insurance agent about how much liability insurance is right for you.

Other Auto Insurance Coverages to Consider

Depending on your personal financial circumstances, and in particular, how much insurance you can afford, you might think about buying additional coverage. Here are a few possibilities.

Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance. Suppose you're hurt in a collision with an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist insurance will pay for your injuries. When the at-fault driver has some liability insurance but not enough to pay all your damages, your UIM insurance will cover the difference.

If you can afford them, UM and UIM insurance are a wise choice. In many states, they'll also cover your injuries in a hit-and-run collision. Note, though, that UM won't pay for property damages unless it's specifically designated as property damage coverage. You'll need to make a claim under your collision insurance (discussed below) to be paid for your vehicle damage.

Medical payments insurance (Med Pay). Med Pay pays for your medical bills (and those of your passengers) up to the per-person coverage limit. It's a cheap form of health insurance that you should buy if it's within your budget.

Med Pay will come in handy even if you have health insurance to pay your accident-related medical expenses. You can use Med Pay to reimburse you for your deductible or copays.

Collision insurance. Collision insurance pays to repair or replace your vehicle after an auto accident, even one you cause. When your vehicle is a total loss, most policies will pay (after your deductible) its "actual cash value" (ACV). In other words, your insurance company will write you a check for the depreciated value of a typical vehicle of the same make and model year as yours—not necessarily the amount it will cost you to go buy a brand new replacement vehicle.

What happens if the actual cash value of your auto is less than what you owe on it? Consider buying "gap insurance" to pay for the difference. As the name suggests, gap coverage pays the balance of your car loan—the "gap" between the loan balance and your car's ACV.

Comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive insurance repairs or replaces your car if it's damaged or destroyed by something other than a collision with another vehicle. If your car is totaled by a hail storm or a flood, for instance, comprehensive coverage pays (after your deductible and up to your policy limit) the car's actual cash value.

When you finance a vehicle purchase with a loan or a lease, the lender will require that you have comprehensive (and collision) insurance.

Collecting Damages for Your Injuries After an Accident

Depending on the circumstances, there are two ways you can recover damages when you're hurt in an accident:

  • by filing a claim with your own auto insurer, or
  • by filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the other driver.

Which of these options you choose (you might do both) will depend on several factors, including the kinds of auto insurance coverage you have and whether the other driver was insured.

Filing a Claim With Your Own Auto Insurer

In some cases, you might need to file a claim—called a "first-party claim"—with your own auto insurer. First, though, make sure you have the necessary insurance coverage. Here are a couple of examples.

You were hurt by an uninsured driver. Other than paying out of your pocket, filing a first-party claim will be your only option if you're hit by an uninsured driver. Medical payments insurance, alone or together with your health plan, will cover your medical expenses. Collision insurance will repair or replace your auto. For medical bills in excess of your Med Pay limit, lost wages, and pain and suffering, UM insurance will reimburse you.

If you caused the accident. When you're the at-fault driver, you won't have many options to cover your costs. Collision coverage will take care of your damaged vehicle, and Med Pay will pay for at least some of your medical expenses.

Filing a Claim or a Lawsuit Against the Other Driver

You can file an insurance claim—called a "third-party claim"—or a lawsuit against a driver whose negligence injures you in an accident. That driver's liability coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, other out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, and other damages.

If your claim doesn't settle, you might consider filing a lawsuit. You should speak to a car accident lawyer before making this decision. Lawsuits take time and cost money—sometimes lots of it. Experienced legal counsel can help you decide whether the additional damages you might collect are worth the risks of a court case.

If you choose to sue, you must file your case in court within Mississippi's car accident lawsuit deadline, called a "statute of limitations." Under Miss. Code § 15-1-49 (2023), you have three years, usually from the date you were injured, to file suit.

What happens if the limitation period runs out before you file in court? Unless there's an exception to the statute giving you more time, the court will have to dismiss your case. You won't be able to collect any damages for your injuries.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Mississippi

Driving without insurance in Mississippi is a misdemeanor. Get caught and you'll face these penalties:

  • a $100 fine, and
  • suspension of your license for one year, or until you can show proof that you've complied with the state's insurance law.

(Miss. Code § 63-16-13(1) (2023).)

The same penalties apply if you don't have a proof of insurance card in your car, or fail to show an electronic card upon request by a police officer. (Miss. Code § 63-15-4(4) (2023).)

You'll find it far more costly if you cause an accident while driving without insurance. You won't be able to get your license back until you have proof of insurance, which will be more expensive.

Get Help With Your Car Accident Claim

If you've been injured in an auto accident, you might be tempted to handle the claim on your own. If your injuries are minor, the facts are uncontested, and there are no complex legal issues involved, you might be able to come to a fair resolution with the insurance adjuster.

The problem is that many car accident cases don't fit that description. If you were seriously hurt, or if your case involves disputed facts or thorny legal issues, you need experienced legal counsel on your side. Insurance company lawyers know how to defend car accident claims—it's what they do for a living. They make quick work of unrepresented claimants.

If you're ready to move forward with your case, here's how to find a lawyer in your area who's right for you.

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