Living in New Jersey lets you take a quick trip to the beautiful shore or to New York City. You can also stick around home and enjoy fabulous food from the diner capital of the world. New Jersey is the most densely populated state, and all that traffic means car accidents are inevitable. Finding the right insurance policy can be the difference between an inconvenience and thousands of dollars of debt.

Unfortunately, the average cost of car insurance in New Jersey is well over the national average. That means in order to get the best deal you’ll have to shop around. Comparing quotes from as many car insurance companies as possible is essential to finding affordable insurance premiums. Do the legwork and you won’t have to pay a penny more than you have to.

Luckily, comparing car insurance quotes can be done easily with Onlineautoinsurance.com. You need only answer a few basic questions about yourself and the vehicle you want to insure, and you can compare rates from multiple car insurance companies in the Garden State within minutes. But before you get started, you need to understand the coverage you need. So what are the legal limits? And what options make the most sense for you?

Minimum requirements for car Insurance in New Jersey

State law mandates you maintain at least a basic policy on your motor vehicle at all times. The following are the minimum limits:

  • $5,000 Property Damage Liability to pay for damages caused to other vehicles or structures
  • $15,000 Personal Injury Protection, or up to $250,000 for certain severe injuries.

There are limited options to expand your basic policy, but you can add $10,000 in Bodily Injury Protection per accident to protect you if your case goes to court. It will help you pay legal fees and medical expenses the court finds you liable for. However, this is very minimal when compared to the high cost of emergency health care.

Personal Injury Protection is considered no-fault insurance and will pay your medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. If you have good health insurance, you can save money on your premiums by naming your health insurance as the primary source of health care. But you should only do this if you are sure your health insurance provides adequate coverage for an injury caused by a car accident.

Standard or Basic: Which policy is right for you?

In May of 1998, New Jersey adopted the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act in an effort to provide affordable options. While it did reduce the cost of minimum car insurance, it also greatly reduced the benefits.

The Basic policy is ideal for younger consumers who generally have higher premiums, but also fewer assets to protect. If you have no other family members to provide for and can’t afford more comprehensive coverage, the Basic policy is a good introduction to car insurance. If you maintain coverage consistently and keep a clean driving record, the standard policy will become more affordable to you over time.

The Standard policy provides protection with the following minimums:

  • $15,000 Bodily Injury Liability per person,
  • $30,000 Bodily Injury Liability per incident
  • $5,000 Property Damage Liability coverage per incident
  • $15,000 Personal Injury Protection, with up to $250,000 coverage for medical expenses on qualifying injuries.
  • $15,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage per person
  • $30,000 Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $5,000 Uninsured Motorist property damage coverage per accident

The coverage for this policy is much more expansive and includes protection even if you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist. And unlike the basic car insurance policy, you can raise the limits to provide even more protection from high costs accidents.

Your right to sue

New Jersey is considered a no-fault state. That means, generally speaking, your own insurance will pay for your medical bills and lost wages regardless of who is at fault in an accident. However, you do have the right to sue for your damages, as well as pain and suffering in certain circumstances.

Choosing a basic policy means you have a limited right to sue. That means you can only sue for pain and suffering for certain qualifying injuries, such as the loss of use of a body part of permanent disfigurement.

A standard policy lets you choose between an unlimited right to sue or a limited right to sue. Choosing the unlimited right to sue will raise the cost of your premiums, but it allows you to sue for medical costs and lost wages regardless of the severity of your injuries. Make sure you consider the consequences of your choice and pick the option that makes the most sense to you. Certain injuries, like those to your spinal cord, may not be considered qualifying injuries but can certainly affect your quality of life and ability to work. If you’re the sole provider for your family, it would be wise to choose the unlimited right to sue.

No-fault rules don’t apply to property damage. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance will pay for property damage caused by the accident, and there is no limitation on our right to sue for damages to your property, no matter what policy you choose.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

Neither the standard nor basic policies will be of any use if your car is damaged in an at-fault accident. But Collision and Comprehensive Coverage will pay to repair damages to your vehicle no matter what caused them.

Collision coverage will pay for damages to your vehicle in a car accident regardless of fault. It will also pay to repair your vehicle if you hit a stationary object, like a tree. Comprehensive Coverage will pay for damages caused by storms, fire, vandalism, or collisions with wildlife. It will also replace your vehicle if it’s stolen.

Keep in mind that your lienholder will require you to carry this coverage until you pay off your vehicle, and neither coverage is available to add on to a basic policy. Make sure you check the price of insurance before you buy a new vehicle, especially if you won’t be able to pay for a new car outright.

Finding cheap car insurance

The only way to find cheap insurance premiums is to compare car insurance quotes to see who will offer you the lowest rates. There’s no single insurance company out there that is the cheapest for everyone. Each driver will be quoted based on different factors that assess their risk to insure, and based on various discounts they may qualify for.

In general, the higher the risk you are to insure, the more you will pay for your premiums. However, certain car insurance companies cater to the high-risk demographic, so you can still get a good deal on insurance while you work to improve your driving record. You can also take a defensive driving course to lower your car insurance premiums, regardless of your driving record.

Adjusting your maximum limits, deductibles, and comparing rates with or without optional polices will let you find the best value for your dollar. However, you shouldn’t choose a policy that has a deductible you could ever meet, or skimp on coverage that you need. If you can’t afford to buy a new car, and you can’t get to work without one, you can’t afford to skip coverage.

The bottom line

Complete as many quotes comparisons as possible, and you’ll be able to choose the insurance agency with the best rates for you. Take advantage of discounts, drive safe, and always carry adequate insurance so you can protect your assets and avoid ruining your finances.

Even if you already have car insurance, you can save hundreds of dollars a year by switching insurance carriers. Quotes are always free, and there’s never any obligation to buy. Once you find a policy that’s right for you, you can make your purchase online and print proof of insurance within minutes.