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In New Zealand there is no mandatory car insurance, and that's how I think it should be.

(I do not live in New Zealand).

Take your own risks in life. Don't drive a car you can't afford to replace.

Mandatory insurance is for the injury and property damage you cause, not that you incur.

Yes but any damage that is caused by one party is also incurred by another party.

In the "no mandatory insurance" scenario, you're taking the risk that someone else may damage your car. So don't buy a car you can't afford to replace.

It's complicated in the US because the person at fault is also on the hook for medical costs of any injured parties. The car insurance you get is mostly about taking care of that, not the property damage.

FWIW I didn't downvote you. Your post is borne of ignorance of how it works in the US, which is actually enviable because it means your healthcare system isn't an absolute wreck :-)

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