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Most people want to pay less for car insurance, but finding cheap rates in New Jersey is a tedious process since there are dozens of companies claiming to offer the best quotes. This is because each insurance provider has a different formula for calculating premiums, so your specific driver profile will ultimately determine which company is the best fit for your needs and budget. To help you narrow down the options, our researchers compared auto insurance quotes from some of the leading providers in The Garden State.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in New Jersey
The most effective way to score the cheapest coverage in New Jersey is to compare premiums from multiple providers. Below, you can find a list of insurance company suggestions for different categories of drivers:
|Cheapest Insurer||Driver Category|
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|Metromile||Low Annual Mileage|
|Geico||Drivers with a DUI|
Best Car Insurance Companies in New Jersey
Our Geeks considered complaint data and reviews to rank New Jersey’s best insurance companies. Below, you’ll find a table summarizing our findings:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in New Jersey
The state of New Jersey is unique in that bodily injury coverage isn’t legally required in a Basic Policy. However, if you do not have this coverage, your insurance company will not cover claims made against you for bodily injuries that you cause in a collision.
$5,000 in property damage liability is required for all drivers, as is $15,000 per person / per accident in Personal Injury Protection.
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in New Jersey
New Jersey has some of the most serious penalties in the country for driving without car insurance. Depending on the facts of your case, you could face a steep fine, surcharge assessment fee, community service, loss of license, vehicle impoundment, and incarceration. The specific penalties you face will depend on whether it is your first or subsequent offense.
For a first offense, you could be fined $300 to $1,000 and be ordered to pay a $250 surcharge for three years, totaling $750. You could also face a driver’s license suspension for one year and court-ordered community service. Your vehicle may also be impounded, in which case you would have to pay a $100 fee to retrieve it.
For a second or subsequent offense, the fine falls between $500 and $5,000. The three-year surcharge remains the same, but the maximum driver’s license suspension jumps to two years. You also face up to 180 hours of community service as well as up to 14 days in jail. Again, your vehicle may be impounded.
New Jersey Car Insurance FAQs
What Terms Should I Know Before Buying Car Insurance in New Jersey?
Understanding common auto insurance terms will help you make more informed choices when purchasing a new policy. Use the glossary below to make sense of your coverage options:
- Act of God: Used to describe damage caused by any event that wasn’t a collision, including hail, tornados, earthquakes, vandalism, protests, theft, and more.
- Adjuster: An individual tasked by an insurance company to investigate and verify claims.
- Declarations Page: A page summarizing the details of your policy, including information about your limits, additional features, car, and premiums.
- Exclusions: Types of loss or items that are not covered by your policy.
- High-Risk Driver: Drivers who due to their accident record history, previous traffic violations, and past claims have a higher risk of causing or being involved in an accident. Typically, high-risk drivers pay more for insurance than the average road user.
- Pay-Per-Mile Insurance: Type of insurance whereby your rates are determined, in-part, based on your mileage. Insurers will track your mileage through an app or by using a device installed in your vehicle.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Type of coverage that reimburses you for any medical costs stemming from an accident even if you’re at-fault.
- Official Insurance Card: A card issued by your insurer used to prove to authorities that your vehicle is covered up to New Jersey’s mandated minimum liability limits.
- Third Party: Any individual or party other than the primary policyholder and his/her immediate family covered as part of an auto insurance policy.
What Mistakes Should Drivers Avoid When Filing a Car Insurance Claim?
1. Not Reporting the Accident
An official police accident report can form the backbone of your claim, helping you prove fault and secure thousands of dollars in compensation for the damages you sustained. But if you don’t report the crash, however minor, you won’t have access to this vital piece of evidence. Alternatively, if you fail to notify your insurer of the accident in at timely manner, you could miss your window to make your case and your provider may choose to reject your claim. Many, if not most providers have set time limits for their clients to report an accident because claims adjusters need to time to research the case and follow up on any loose ends to ensure all parties involved receive fair compensation.
2. Not Following Up
You collected evidence, took down witness statements, and filed your forms, now it’s time to sit back and let the money roll in. No. You need to track your case from start to finish to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the woodwork. By doing this, you won’t have to be anxious or confused about when and how you will be reimbursed for your loss.
3. Filing a Claim for Damages Your Policy Doesn’t Cover
Unless you purchased one of the most expensive policies available, it’s unlikely your insurance covers all types of property damage. For example, if your car was damaged by a hailstorm or tornado and you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you cannot claim for this type of loss. Before filing a claim, read your policy closely to make sure you are covered.
What Are Some Important New Jersey Traffic Laws?
As long as you follow New Jersey’s traffic laws, the grass will always be greener in the “Garden State”. Here’s our quick guide to the state’s most important rules of the road:
New Jersey Seatbelt Laws
Driving around New Jersey, you’ve seen the giant signs proclaiming “Click It or Ticket!”. Law enforcement officers are on patrol hunting for anyone who doesn’t adhere to the state’s strict seatbelt laws. Under new provisions, everyone – regardless of age – sitting in either the front or rear seats, must stay buckled up when the vehicle is in motion.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 alone, it’s estimated that seatbelts saved the lives of more than 14,600 American road users. Despite the inherent benefits of buckling up, hundreds of New Jersey drivers and passengers are killed every year because they weren’t restrained.
If you’re nabbed for not wearing a seatbelt while driving, you could be forced to fork over $46 in fines and may have to cover court processing fees.
New Jersey Car Safety Seat Laws
Your vehicle’s seats and seatbelts are designed to keep fully-grown adults safe in a crash. But those same benefits don’t extend to your smaller passengers, who risk injuries or even death in an accident unless restrained in an appropriate safety seat.
State laws require all children under age 7, and those weighing less than 60 pounds, to travel in the comfort of a child safety seat. Kids between the ages of 7 and 12 must be seated in a booster seat until they can be restrained securely using standard seatbelts.
Drunk Driving Laws in NJ
The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers in the state is set at 0.08%. A single drink can put you over the limit, but it’s hard to tell how much is too much. Experts recommend investing in a professional grade portable breathalyzer test you can use to gauge how much alcohol is in your system before you get behind the wheel.
Alcohol can impair judgment, slow reaction times, and limit vision. This cocktail of negative effects inhibits your ability to drive safely, endangering you and those around you. If you are stopped and test at or over the 0.08% limit, you could be subjected to the following penalties:
- $250-$400 in fines;
- Up to 30 days behind bars;
- 12 hours (6 hours across 2 consecutive days) spent at one of the state’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers;
- License suspended for 3 months; and
- $1,000 increase in your premiums for the next 3 years.
- $500-$1000 in fines;
- Minimum 48 hours behind bars (up to 90 days in total);
- 48-hour detainment at one of the state’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers;
- License suspended for 2 years;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for 1-3 years after your driving privileges are reinstated; and
- $1,000 increase in your premiums for 3 years.
Third or Subsequent Offense
- $1,000 in fines;
- Up to 180 days behind bars;
- Court ordered detainment at an in-patient alcoholism treatment program;
- Hundreds of dollars in fees to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center;
- 10-year driving ban; and
- $1,500 increase in your premiums for 3 years.
Take note: If you test positive for any banned substance – such as hallucinogens or narcotics – or your BAC is 0.10% or higher, you could face even harsher penalties.
New Jersey Distracted Driving Laws
According to New Jersey’s Department of Law and Public Safety, 804,000 of all crashes between 2011 and 2015 involved a distracted driver. Distracted driving can include doing any of the following activities while behind the wheel:
- Reading or sending texts or chat messages on your cellphone
- Using your smartphone to make a phone call
- Adjusting your car’s stereo system
- Using a GPS
- Putting on makeup or other grooming activities
- Eating or drinking
- Tending to your child or pet
Due to the significant number of crashes caused by distracted driving, local lawmakers have instituted a statewide ban on using your cellphone while driving. If you are caught shooting off texts, talking on the phone, or any other activity that involves holding your cellphone, you will be fined.
New Jersey’s License Points System
Unlike those elusive points on the football field, putting penalty points on the board when you’re driving won’t win over any fans. Whenever you commit a moving violation in the state of New Jersey, you risk earning demerits that could sink your driving privileges once you hit a certain threshold. The total points you receive depends on the nature of your infraction. Caught speeding? Unless you were doing 30 over in a school zone, you’ll receive 2-3 demerits on your permanent driving record. Nabbed driving recklessly? The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will lodge 5 points against your name.
If you get 6 points or more within 3 years, you’ll not only be made pay fines and cover court fees, but could also be strapped with an annual surcharge that will cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. Accumulate 12 points or more in the same period and your license could be suspended.
With no margin for error, you risk these penalties every time you put rubber to the road. Fortunately, you can have up to 3 points deducted from your total in one of three ways:
- You don’t commit any moving violations in the year following your last offense;
- You didn’t commit any traffic offenses a year prior to your most recent offense; or
- You completed an approved driver improvement program.
In addition to the above, you can also enroll in and complete a state-approved defensive driving course to reduce your total by 2 points. Take note: You can only earn this deduction once every five years.
New Jersey Car Accident Statistics
In 2017, 624 people were involved in fatal crashes on New Jersey’s public roads. This marked a slight jump from 2016’s, according to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During that same period, 17 cyclists, 83 motorcyclists, and 183 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in the state.