UPDATED: Jan 25, 2019
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Under Louisiana state law, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance on every vehicle they own. This law ensures that drivers are financially responsible in the event of an accident, and requires liability insurance to pay for bodily injury and property damage.
Basic coverage is all that is required by law, but most drivers elect to purchase a higher amount of insurance in order to protect themselves financially in an accident.
Mandatory Insurance Coverage
Liability insurance is required by Louisiana state law in a specific, minimum amount. These minimum levels will protect all drivers on the road from negligence and errors that can cause expensive property damage and also result in costly medical expenses from injuries.
The minimum level of insurance that is required in Louisiana is:
- Bodily Injury Coverage in the amount of $15,000 per person and a total of $30,000 per incident for all injure parties in an accident
- Property Damage Coverage in the amount of $25,000 to pay for damage to another person’s vehicle or to any other property
These limits are in place not only to protect the injured party but also to protect the at-fault driver from the cost of being found responsible for an accident.
Optional Insurance Coverage
In addition to increased liability limits, many Louisiana drivers also choose to add several options to their insurance policy in order to provide comprehensive protection from the many costs of accidents and other vehicle-related incidents. These are the most common insurance options available to Louisiana drivers.
- Collision Coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident in which you are found to be at fault. This coverage usually requires that a deductible is met. Without collision coverage, drivers have no financial assistance for the repairs to their own vehicle after an accident in which they are at fault.
- Comprehensive Coverage, which pays for several non-collision incidents that can cause damage to your vehicle, including theft, vandalism, weather damage, and more. This coverage also requires a deductible in most cases, and will also provide glass repair and replacement for windshield chips and other glass-only claims.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, which provides excess coverage to protect you from drivers who are either driving without insurance or whose insurance levels are not sufficient to cover all of the damage done in an accident.
- Medical Payments, which is coverage designed to provide for medical expenses incurred by you, your passengers, or anyone in your household who is covered by your policy.
- Rental Reimbursement, which covers the cost of a rental car during repairs for any covered claim.
- Towing & Labor, which will help pay for the cost to tow your vehicle or provide other roadside assistance in a non-collision situation.
Uninsured Motorist Laws and Penalties
In order to register a vehicle in Louisiana, proof of an insurance policy that meets the legal minimums must be submitted. The proof is also required for renewal, and drivers must be prepared to present proof of insurance to a police officer during a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident.
Insurance companies report all cancellations and lapses in insurance policies to the Louisiana OMV, which will require that the vehicle owner submit proof of a new insurance policy unless they can show that they no longer own the vehicle or file for non-operational status.
If you fail to provide proof of insurance, there are steep penalties that will grow with each subsequent violation.
In the event that you are unable to present proof of insurance, you may have your license plates revoked on the spot, or the vehicle impounded. You will then have three days to present proof of insurance to the OMV.
If the license plate is confiscated, the vehicle will have a yellow sticker affixed to the windshield. If the driver is caught driving again within the three days allowed to present proof of insurance, the vehicle will be immediately impounded and held until all towing and impound fees are paid and proof of insurance has been provided.
Fines will also apply when a driver is caught without insurance:
- $75 to $100 for the first violation
- $100 to $250 for the second violation
- Up to $700 for a third violation
The “No Pay No Play” Law
Louisiana law penalizes drivers who choose to drive uninsured by limiting their rights in a car accident. A driver who is involved in an accident while uninsured will not be able to collect any benefits for the first $25,000 of property damage as well as the first $15,000 in personal injuries.
This law doesn’t apply to passengers in a vehicle that is not insured if they do not own the vehicle.
Louisiana’s “No Pay No Play” law applies regardless of who is at fault in the accident. This means that even if the other driver is at fault, you will not be able to make a claim against their liability policies until the damages reach and exceed the limits set out by the law.
Shopping for Car Insurance in Louisiana
Louisiana car insurance rates are among the highest in the nation, coming in at number 2 according to a 2017 study by Insure.com. This means that Louisiana drivers will need to shop their rates around carefully and maintain a clean driving record in order to keep car insurance costs down. The average annual premium in the state was $1921, compared to the average annual rate of $1318.
Louisiana law allows insurance companies to use a variety of factors to determine rates. Among these is your credit record, which can be used to determine certain statistical risk factors. Also important are your driving history, including any tickets or accidents, the type of car you drive, where you live, and your driving habits.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance provides several publications designed to help consumers shop for auto insurance. These include a Rate Comparison Guide and a Guide to Auto Insurance to help you choose the right coverage.
High-Risk Driver Insurance
Like most states, Louisiana has a plan available to help high-risk drivers obtain the coverage they need to legally drive. High-risk drivers are those who have a driving history that causes them to pay higher premiums or in some cases be refused auto insurance on the voluntary market due to the level of risk the present to the insurance company.
The Louisiana Automobile Insurance Plan is an assigned risk plan that helps high-risk drivers by placing them with an insurance company. That insurance company must agree to provide a policy – however, rates are still very high. As a result, this type of insurance is only used by those drivers who have no other choice.
Teen Driver Licensing in Louisiana
The Louisiana Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) is designed to ensure that teen drivers learn the skills they need to drive safely. It has a series of stages, each with more responsibility and a set of restrictions.
Before a teen driver can apply for a learner’s permit, they must first complete a driver education course. This course must include 30 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel training. The Office of Motor Vehicles provides information on driver training and the GLP program to help teens and parents.
Teens who are at least 15 years old and have completed the required driver training can take the written test in order to obtain a learner’s permit. During this phase, the teen may drive only when an approved driver over the age of 21 is in the passenger seat or a licensed sibling who is at least 18 years old.
This license can be obtained after:
- 180 days with a learner’s permit
- The teen driver turns 16
- The teen has completed 50 hours of driving practice, 15 of which must be at night under the supervision of a licensed driver
- Passing a road test
With this license, the teen may driver unsupervised, but must still adhere to restrictions on driving hours.
Driving is not permitted between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless the driver is accompanied by a parent or guardian, or sibling of at least 18 years old.
Between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., the teen driver may not have more than one passenger under the age of 21, unless there is a supervising driver over the age of 21 in the vehicle. Immediate family members are the only exception.
At 17 years old, a teen driver may graduate to a full, unrestricted license as long as they have had no at-fault accidents and have no moving violations, seatbelt violations, or curfew violations.
Teen drivers must adhere to the same insurance laws as all drivers on the road. Most teens can be insured under the policy of a parent or guardian, even when away at school.
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