What vehicles are exempt from car insurance requirements?

Few vehicles are exempt from car insurance requirements. Exemptions vary from state to state, so it is important to check with your department of motor vehicles. Learn about the car insurance exemption specifics so you know you're driving legally.

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UPDATED: Jun 16, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 16, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • The majority of vehicles need some form of liability insurance 
  • Some possible exceptions are salvage cars, scooters, mopeds, and similar vehicles 
  • These exceptions are different in every state, so it’s vital to check with your state’s department of motor vehicles

For the most part, your state will require you to have car insurance on your vehicle, although exceptions may apply if the vehicle isn’t intended for road use, such as a golf cart or a scooter. You also won’t need car insurance if your vehicle is salvaged and unusable. Or if you live in a state that allows you to post a bond for your vehicle instead of having a car insurance policy. 

These rules and regulations vary by state, so it is important to check your local DMV for a complete list of exempt vehicles before deciding to skip car insurance. Skipping car insurance coverage can have many consequences if not done legally. 

Read on to learn more about possible car insurance exemptions and what to do if you think your vehicle is exempt from carrying car insurance. 

What vehicles are exempt from car insurance?

Vehicle is a broad term that covers anything from cars to bicycles. And some of which are not all intended for road use and therefore won’t need insurance. 

It’s important to emphasize that the rules will vary based on what state you live in. Some states have stricter insurance laws than others, requiring insurance to be carried on a broader range of vehicles. 

Some of the vehicles that may be exempt from having to carry car insurance in your state are listed below: 

  • Farm vehicles. Certain farm vehicles may be exempt from insurance in your state if they are under a certain weight and used only between certain times. 
  • Golf carts. In some states, you may not need to carry automobile coverage on your golf cart if you don’t drive it on public roads. 
  • Mopeds. It is not always necessary to insure your moped in all states, but some require it. 
  • Salvage vehicles. If a vehicle is totaled and no longer driveable, it doesn’t need insurance. 
  • Scooters. You don’t need to carry insurance on your scooter in some states. 
  • Trailers. In some cases, you won’t need car insurance on your trailer, as car insurance on your vehicle may extend to cover your trailer. 

With smaller vehicles, such as golf carts and scooters, some states will allow you to go without car insurance if the vehicle isn’t used on public roads. 

In other situations where insurance is required, your current car insurance may not cover these smaller vehicles. Additional insurance may need to be purchased. 

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Other Situations Where Your Vehicle May Be Exempt

In a few states, car insurance isn’t required for drivers. For example, new Hampshire and Virginia don’t require drivers to carry insurance, although this is risky. If you get into an accident, you will still be responsible for paying for damages or injuries to yourself and other drivers. Make sure you know about your state’s car insurance requirements.

In roughly a dozen other states, drivers can also skip out on car insurance if they meet specific requirements. However, drivers must post a sizable bond or cash in place of holding car insurance to prove financial responsibility. 

The amount needed to replace a car insurance policy is often very high, generally $50,000 or more. 

For some drivers, this may be more convenient than carrying insurance, especially if they have a vehicle that is hard to find insurance for, such as a sports car. However, not every state allows drivers to do this, so check with your state’s DMV to see if you are eligible for posting a bond. 

What to Do If You Think Your Vehicle Is Exempt

Checking your local department of motor vehicle’s website is the best way to determine if your vehicle needs car insurance. You can also ask your car insurance company representative, as they are usually familiar with the local laws and requirements. 

Not carrying car insurance because you falsely believe a vehicle is exempt can cause higher rates and fines down the road, so always double-check. Driving without proper insurance can result in being labeled a high-risk driver, making it much harder to find car insurance. 

Final Word on Which Vehicles Are Exempt From Car Insurance Requirements

For the most part, you need to carry car insurance on your vehicle. Some exemptions apply if the vehicle meets state requirements and isn’t used on public roads.

It is recommended to double-check with your local DMV for a list of exempt vehicles, as rules vary by state. Even if your vehicle was exempt in one state, it might not be when you move to another state.  

If you’re looking for exempt vehicles because you want to cut down on car insurance costs, comparison shop instead. Shopping around for car insurance quotes is the best way to find affordable insurance rates in your area, no matter what vehicle you drive. 

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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