As with most states in the United States, you have to carry an active auto insurance policy when you drive your vehicle. Unfortunately, not everyone does. In Arizona, about 12% of the drivers on the road drive without an active insurance policy. To ensure that you stay compliant in Arizona, you must at least carry the Arizona car insurance state minimums. If you don’t, you may face harsh penalties and fines that will cost you more than the average car insurance policy.
If you are an Arizona driver who wants to learn more about the Arizona car insurance state minimums and how much you need to carry on your auto insurance policy, continue reading below. We will cover all you need to know about auto insurance coverages and who you can reach out to if law enforcement caught you driving without an active insurance policy.
Minimum Coverage for Arizona Drivers
In the state of Arizona, you have to have an active auto insurance policy with a property damage liability limit of $15,000 per accident. In addition, you must carry bodily injury liability coverage with a limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence.
Property damage and bodily injury liability only cover the other driver involved in the accident if you are found to be at fault. These state minimums do not cover any damages done to your vehicle.
Pure Comparative Law in Arizona
Each state follows its own negligence laws when it comes to auto accidents. For example, in Arizona, they follow a pure comparative law. This means that if one driver is found to be 60% at fault for the accident, they can recover 40% of their damages and vice versa.
Why Is Car Insurance Required?
Most states in the United States require their drivers to carry at least the state minimum to protect them from financial liability in the event of an auto accident. Depending on how much coverage you have on your liability car insurance, your policy may be able to take care of the other driver’s medical expenses and auto repairs entirely.
Arizona Car Insurance Coverages
As mentioned earlier, Arizona requires its drivers to carry the state-required liability minimums. Your policy’s two primary liability coverages are bodily injury and property damage.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability covers the repair costs for the damages caused to the other driver. If your insurance company deems you’re responsible for the accident, they will pay out for the other driver’s damages out of your policy’s property damage liability portion. You won’t have to pay a deductible for their damages. If the other driver needs a rental while their vehicle is in the shop, your insurance company also uses your property damage liability coverage for this.
Bodily Injury Liability
If you cause the accident, bodily injury liability covers the other driver’s medical expenses. Just like your property damage liability coverage, there is no deductible owed on your own. If you have the state minimum of $25,000 per person with an occurrence of $50,000, this means that each passenger in the vehicle can receive medical expense payments up to $25,000.
The total amount of medical costs for the entire accident cannot exceed $50,000. So if there are three injured passengers in the other vehicle and they each have $25,000 or more in injuries, your policy will only pay out a total of $50,000, not $75,000.
What if Someone Sues Me?
If someone sues you for injuries caused by an accident, there is no need to panic. Your car insurance policy includes legal representation.
Your auto adjuster will handle the negotiations with the attorney, and if the case goes to trial, they will take care of representing you on your behalf. If you would like to seek additional counsel, you can.
Do I Need More Than the Arizona Car Insurance State Minimum?
The Arizona car insurance state minimum is a solid foundation for auto insurance, but it may not be enough in certain instances. For example, if you were to accidentally cause a three-vehicle pile-up, your $15,000 property damage limit may not cover everyone involved.
If this happens, your auto insurance company will pay out the limits of your policy, and the other insurance companies will come after you directly to pay for their insured’s damages. To prevent this, you may want to opt for additional coverage. Make sure to speak with your insurance company about a new car insurance policy with higher liability limits to ensure you have enough coverage.
First Party Coverages
As mentioned earlier, liability coverage only protects the other drivers in the event of an accident, not your vehicle. To protect your car, you can add first-party coverages to your policy.
Comprehensive coverage covers your vehicle during an accident that does not involve a collision. For example, any “Acts of God” such as hail, lightning, fire, or hitting an animal fall under the comprehensive coverage category.
Theft and vandalism also fall under comprehensive coverage. To use this coverage, you will need to pay a deductible. When you set up your auto policy, you have the opportunity to set the deductible amount you wish to pay. If you finance a vehicle, you must have a deductible of $500 or less, depending on your lender.
Collision coverage covers any collision type of accident. For example, if you hit a vehicle, building, or other property, you can use this coverage to repair your vehicle. Similar to comprehensive coverage, collision coverage also comes with a deductible.
If your car is deemed a total loss, your collision coverage will take care of the total loss process. Depending on your insurance company, they will either replace your vehicle or reimburse you for the actual cash value of your car.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage is also a first-party coverage that protects you if the other driver does not have an active insurance policy. So if someone caused an accident that resulted in damages to your vehicle but they don’t have insurance, you can use this coverage to repair your vehicle.
Underinsured motorist coverage is typically bundled together. This coverage kicks in when the other driver does have an active insurance policy, but they don’t have enough coverage.
For example, if the other driver only has state minimums, but you have $25,000 worth of auto damages, the other driver’s insurance policy will first pay out their $15,000. Your insurance company will then step in and take care of the remaining amount.
If you have any injuries, you can use uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to take care of your medical expenses. Your insurance company will go after that uninsured driver to recoup what they paid for your auto damages and bodily injuries.
Medical payments, also known as MedPay, is a first-party medical coverage available for you to purchase. If you sustain injuries in an accident, you can use this coverage, regardless of fault.
Additional Auto Insurance Coverage
Depending on who you decide to partner with as an auto insurer, you can add additional coverage such as roadside assistance or rental car coverage. Rental car coverage provides you with a rental vehicle while your vehicle is in the body shop.
You can only use this coverage if your car is in the body shop for a claim-related issue. So if you need a rental because your car is in the shop for a tune-up or some other non-accident-related issue, you can’t use your auto insurance for this.
Roadside assistance helps you in the event of a vehicle breakdown. For example, if your vehicle breaks down due to a battery issue while you’re driving or you catch a flat tire, you can use this coverage to get someone out to the scene.
Depending on your insurance company, this coverage may help you with flat tire fixes, battery jumps, and the cost to tow your vehicle. Most insurance companies cover the tow up to about 20 miles.
Are There Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Arizona?
It is against the law to drive in Arizona without active or state-required minimum insurance coverage. If law enforcement catches you without proof of insurance, you could face severe penalties and fines. They may even suspend your license or registration for up to a year.
To get back your license, you may have to submit proof of financial responsibility, also known as an SR22, which can cost you a lot of money. To avoid dealing with that, it is best to get an insurance policy before you hit the road.
Uninsured Driver First Offense
If you are caught driving without an active insurance policy for the first time, you will have your registration and driver’s license suspended for three months. You also may have to pay a $500 fine. To get your driver’s license back, you will need to have an SR22 on file for at least two years.
Uninsured Driver Second Offense
If law enforcement catches you driving the vehicle uninsured for the second time, they will suspend your driver’s license and registration for six months. You also must pay a $750 fine and have an SR22 on file for two years.
Uninsured Driver Third Offense
Although we hope you don’t get caught the third time, things happen. If you do, you will face a fine of $1,000, and your driver’s license and registration will be suspended for one year. As with the other offenses, you must carry an SR22 on your insurance policy for two years.
What Is an SR22?
An SR22 is a certificate that proves you carry the state-required minimums on your auto insurance policy. If law enforcement caught you driving without insurance or you caused more than one at-fault accident within a short period, a court may have mandated you to get an SR22. To get your driver’s license back, you must have this added to your policy.
Where To Get an SR22
Not many insurance companies offer SR22 insurance policies because those with an SR22 are considered high-risk drivers. Some companies provide SR22 insurance policies at a decent rate, but you still may end up paying higher than the average driver.
Once you locate a company willing to take you on as a client, they will file the certificate on your behalf, letting the state know that you have proof of financial responsibility over your vehicle.
How Much Does an SR22 Cost?
As mentioned above, your SR22 policy will cost more than the average driver’s auto insurance policy because you are considered a higher risk. On average, most SR22 policies cost about $1,000 per year, which is about $500 more than the average driver with a clean record.
Of course, this number can fluctuate if the reason for your SR22 is worse than you just driving without an active insurance policy. For example, if you caused an accident and you were under the influence, your SR22 policy will cost more than someone caught without an active insurance policy.
Arizona Car Insurance Coverages
In the state of Arizona, you are required to at least carry the state-required auto insurance minimums. If law enforcement catches you driving without an active insurance policy, you could face high fines and risk having your driver’s license suspended for a few months or up to a year.
Contact us now if you are facing any charges related to driving uninsured. We offer free no-obligation case evaluations and are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have.