Louisiana Car Insurance
Vehicles registered in the state of Louisiana must meet or exceed state requirements regarding car insurance. Because Louisiana is a tort state, which means that every time there is accident involving two or more vehicles one of the drivers must be found at fault for the accident and it is the at fault driver that is required to take on financial responsibility for all injuries and damages caused by the accident. As of 2010 minimum state car insurance requirements are set at $15,000 in individual bodily injury liability coverage, $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage. Louisiana’s minimum property damage coverage makes it one of the few states that requires resident to purchase more property damage coverage than individual bodily injury coverage since in most states these two amounts are either the same or the property damage coverage is lower. In addition to vehicles that are not designed to be driven on the highway and vehicles that are nonoperational, vehicle that are owned by the state and buses owned by individual municipalities, such as cities, are not required to meet minimum state car insurance requirements.
In Louisiana motorists are legally obligated to provide proof of insurance to a law enforcement officer upon request. Proof of insurance requirements can be met by producing an insurance card issued by the insurance company, though the declaration page from the policy or a written statement from the insurance company will suffice as well. If a driver is not able to provide proof of insurance upon request they will be in violation of Louisiana car insurance law and will likely be penalized accordingly. When a motorist is found to be driving without insurance in Louisiana state law permits immediate seizure of the uninsured vehicle or the vehicle’s license plates and requires the placement of a yellow sticker on the vehicle to indicate that it does not have insurance. In order to get the vehicle or license plates back the vehicle owner must present proof of insurance and pay any necessary fines. The first time a driver is caught on the road without insurance they will be hit with a fine ranging from $75 to $100; subsequent offences can result in fines as much as $700.
The state of Louisiana also has a rather unique law called “no pay no play.” The no pay no play law prevents uninsured drivers from collecting the first $10,000 in injury or property damage benefits paid out by an insured driver’s policy. In other words, if an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, even if they are not considered to be at fault in the accident, they will forfeit their right to be reimbursed for the first $10,000 that they would otherwise be owed. Under this law an uninsured driver that is involved in an accident and sustains $12,000 in property damage would only be allowed to collect $2,000 from the insurance company and will still be penalized by the state for driving without insurance.
Louisiana state law also dictates when an auto insurance policy can be canceled. If a policy has been active for at least 60 days a policy can only be canceled for certain reasons. Most of the most common reasons for cancelation, such as failure to a pay insurance premiums or the suspension of the policy holder’s license, typically allow the policy holder a grace period ranging between 10 and 30 days before the policy is actually canceled by the insurance company.
Louisiana is one of the few states that operate an automobile insurance plan, which helps high risk drivers obtain an insurance policy. If a driver has too many negative marks on their driving record or has a history of accident or drunk driving they may not be able to find a car insurance company that is willing to voluntarily insure them, even at an inflated cost. If a Louisiana resident is unable to find a car insurance company that is willing to write an auto insurance policy for them they can request an automobile insurance application from any insurance company licensed to sell insurance in Louisiana. As part of the application process the applicant must certify that they have been unable to find an insurance policy over the last 60 days. The application will be sent to the automobile insurance plan office and, if approved, the driver will be assigned to an insurance provider that will be legally required to write them a car insurance policy. Once on the automobile insurance plan the insurance company will be required to insure a driver that is placed with them for at least three years, after which the driver must re submit another application if they still are unable to find an insurance company to sell them car insurance in Louisiana.