Will My Auto Insurance Cover Me If I’m in an Accident Out of State?

One of the best parts of living in the United States is the fact that we can, any time we want to, hop behind the wheel of our car and drive to destinations unknown to see any of the 50 states. Nobody’s going to ask for a passport, nobody’s going to ask what you’re doing. They’re just going to smile, wave and drive on. But is your auto insurance going to make sure you’re protected when you slip across state lines?

The good news is, nine times out of ten the answer to that is going to be yes. In the eyes of most auto repair shops American auto insurance is American auto insurance, and as long as your insurance carrier decides to ante up when it’s time to pay the bill they don’t care which state you happen to be from. You’re pretty much free to come and go as you please.

There are, however, a couple of things you need to know about driving out of state. First and foremost, every state has a different minimum driving age. While you can get a permit when you’re fifteen (and a half) in Virginia you have ot wait until you’re sixteen in New York, which means driving around with a VA Learner’s Permit up north is asking for trouble. Other states enforce strict curfews for drivers under 18. If you have a new driver in the house, make sure you check out the rules of the road before you go traveling.

How much liability insurance are you carrying? Technically you’re not required to meet the minimum liability coverage requirements of another state just because you happen to be driving through it, but you are still going to be responsible for any damages above and beyond your maximum coverage levels-and most judges really, really hate dealing with out of state drivers. Not your fault, there are just some people that like to roll through town and cause trouble and leave everybody else to deal with the consequences.

Regardless, the last thing you want to do is spend the rest of your life paying damages to an out of state court. That means you want to make sure your liability coverage is geared up and and ready to handle whatever life (or the California by-ways) happen to toss your way. Most experts suggest that you carry a minimum of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident in liability auto insurance to cover any auto insurance claims that happen to pop up, regardless of what part of the country you happen to call home.

Your auto insurance company is one of the most important resources you’re going to have when you start traveling, so make sure it’s ready. Then kick back and enjoy your vacation. You’ve earned it.