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There are about four instances when drivers in the US need to show proof that they carry auto liability insurance: when they renew their driver’s license; when they re-register their vehicle; if they get involved in an accident; and, if they get pulled over by a traffic enforcer.

Carrying auto liability insurance is mandatory in the U.S. The law that mandates it was first passed in 1925 to make sure that injured accident victims were no longer left suffering alone from the effects of the injuries, which included cost of medical treatment and lost wages, among others. This was because drivers who were at fault in accidents often failed in fulfilling their obligation to compensate their victims.

Today, this compulsory car insurance law is known as the Financial Responsibility law. This law requires drivers all across the U.S. to be able to prove their capability to pay for damages in the event of an accident wherein they are at fault. Proving financial responsibility may be done by complying with whatever is the mandated in the state where the driver resides. In the state of New Hampshire, for instance, as an alternative to carrying auto liability insurance, drivers may instead file an SR-22 or deposit securities or money with the state treasurer. In Virginia, paying the required uninsured motor vehicle fee to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will allow drivers to register an uninsured vehicle. If ever a driver causes an accident, however, he or she will be held personally responsible in compensating the person that he or she has injured. In all the other 48 U.S. states, carrying auto liability insurance is the mandate.

The type of auto insurance that drivers need to carry depends on the type of liability system recognized in the state where they reside. In as many as 38 states, the tort/at-fault system, wherein victims can file a civil lawsuit against at-fault drivers, is recognized. This filing of a civil lawsuit becomes necessary if the at-fault driver’s insurance provider does not compensate all losses or damages suffered by the victim (such as pain and suffering for non-economic damages and lost wages for economic damages). Twelve states, on the other hand, recognize the “no-fault” system. Under this system, each driver is compensated by his or her own insurance provider regardless of who is at fault in the accident. These 12 states include Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah (Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania more also referred to as “Choice” states because these states allow drivers to choose the type of insurance coverage they would want to carry: either the no-fault coverage or the “fault”/“tort liability” coverage).

Besides the required coverage for bodily injury and property damage, some states also require additional coverages, like the uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage. Even without the additions, millions of drivers and car owners find policy premiums quite costly to pay, thus, they decide to stop paying what will actually save them from too costly compensations if they cause an accident or more expensive premiums plus lots of inconveniences if they get caught without insurance.

According to Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller and Overbeck, P.A., asking for free insurance quotes from an independent insurance firm will help drivers and car owners get the best insurance deal without having to pay more than what they can afford. These quotes are made available online and provide various offers from different insurance providers, giving clients the chance to compare prices and see what each deal actually includes. Easy, fast and convenient, getting online help is definitely the best way to find the best deal that will fit their budget.