This article explains key Connecticut auto insurance laws, and how those laws affect both insurance claims and car accident lawsuits filed in Connecticut. (If you're looking for more information on car accident cases in Connecticut, see our companion article Car Accident Laws in Connecticut).
Connecticut is a "Fault” Insurance State
Like most U.S. states, Connecticut follows a fault-based insurance system when it comes to who is on the financial hook to compensate for losses stemming from a car accident. In a “fault” state like Connecticut, drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved in a car accident may:
- file a claim with their own insurance company (which will then pursue reimbursement from the at-fault and/or his or her insurance carrier)
- file a claim directly with the at-fault driver's insurance company (called a “third party claim”), or
- go to court and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Not all states follow "fault" car insurance rules. About a dozen states (including Connecticut's neighbor Massachusetts) follow a "no-fault" system, which relies more heavily on insurance to cover losses associated with car accidents, regardless of who was at fault for the incident. More information about no-fault insurance can be found at No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Connecticut
Connecticut auto insurance policies must offer, at a minimum, the following benefits and coverage amounts:
- $20,000 per person if only one person is injured or killed in an accident
- $40,000 per accident if more than one person is injured or killed
- $10,000 per accident to cover property damage costs, and
- $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
When these minimum coverage amounts are purchased, these numbers represent the total amount the insurance company will pay for injuries or property damage (not including damage to your own vehicle) in a crash. Connecticut drivers can purchase insurance with higher limits and with other types of coverage -- such as coverage to repair or replace a damaged vehicle, but this extra insurance is not required.
Proving “Financial Responsibility” in Connecticut
Most Connecticut drivers meet the state’s “financial responsibility” requirement by purchasing an auto insurance policy. The insurer transmits proof of financial responsibility to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles when the policy is purchased. However, drivers who do not want to buy an insurance policy in Connecticut can meet the “financial responsibility” requirement in other ways. This process, known as “self-insuring,” requires the driver to submit the following information to the Commissioner of Insurance:
- evidence that the self-insuring person or company is able to undertake all the same legal duties as an insurer,
- evidence that all claims can be handled appropriately, quickly, and according to law, and
- evidence that financial arrangements have been made to ensure that funds will be available if the driver gets into an accident.
Uninured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in CT
In addition to bodily injury liability (BI) benefits of $20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident, Connecticut requires drivers to carry these same limits in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage kicks in to protect you if you’re injured in a car accident with an at-fault driver who carries no insurance whatsoever, or whose policy limits don’t cover your losses. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required for property damage, but Connecticut drivers may choose to purchase this coverage.
Connecticut drivers also have the option of purchasing Underinsured Motorist Conversion Coverage, which provides protection against the kinds of financial gaps that can occur under standard underinsured motorist coverage policies.
More Information on Car Insurance in Connecticut
The Connecticut Insurance Department provides information about auto insurance products on its official website. Also, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office provides an overview of auto insurance information in Connecticut.