How to get the best auto insurance in Alaska
Ever wondered how your car insurance company knows just what coverage you need to get to stay legal — and how much? It turns out that requirements for car insurance are governed by the states themselves.
If you plan to drive in Alaska, you’re legally required to carry liability insurance and keep proof of current insurance and vehicle registration in your car at all times. You can also pull up digital versions of this ID on any smart device to prove your coverage.
Alaska car insurance providers
What’s the average cost for car insurance in Alaska?
Alaska falls slightly below the national average for average car insurance costs, and you can expect to pay as little as $70 a month or as much as $130, depending on your provider and what kind of coverage you need.
However, finding a reliable average for auto insurance rates is difficult because these rates are so likely to vary from one person to the next. How much you’ll pay for car insurance in Alaska — or in nearly any state — is affected by your age, your driving record, your credit score, the type of car you drive and the provider you choose to go with.
Tips for cheap car insurance in Alaska
- Don’t drive a high-end car. With cold, wet weather through much of the year, an Italian sports car may be out of the question in Alaska. But it might be a good idea to avoid driving expensive SUVs as well, like a new Range Rover or Mercedes G-Class. A less expensive American or Japanese vehicle, such as a Toyota Sequoia, would be just as capable in snow and mud and probably much cheaper to insure.
- Drop collision and comprehension on older cars. Your car’s value determines your maximum payout after an accident or theft. If your daily driver is a rough old pickup truck, you probably don’t even need collision coverage.
- Increase your deductible. Your deductible is what you agree to pay after an accident. Raising it increases how much of the financial burden is on you after an accident.
- Take care on the road. Accidents and tickets are known to increase your premiums. Keep your record clean to get the best rates, and if you go long enough without any accidents, you could even qualify for additional safe driving discounts from a provider.
- Use anti-theft devices. Many providers offer discounts for car alarms and even passive devices like steering wheel locks. In some instances, you can install an alarm system after buying the car and still qualify for an anti-theft device discount.
- Look for local insurers. While the biggest players in the insurance industry often claim they’re the cheapest, a smaller agency near you could be hungry for your business — making them willing to give you a great rate.
- Pay bills all promptly. In Alaska, like in most US states, insurance providers are allowed to view your credit score when deciding on a rate. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get decent rates.
- Bundle your policies. Most providers give bundling discounts. Take advantage of what your provider offers by keeping your home or rental property insured with the same company that provides your auto insurance.
Does my credit score matter?
Yes, your credit score can affect your car insurance rates in Alaska. Like most US states, Alaska allows insurance providers to use your credit score when evaluating you as a customer — drivers with high credit scores are statistically less likely to be involved in accidents than those with poor credit. This means if you have great credit, that can help you get a better rate, while a low credit score is likely to hurt your chances of finding cheap car insurance coverage.
State minimum requirements in Alaska
State minimum requirements for car insurance vary by state. To fulfill car insurance laws in Alaska, you must carry liability insurance that includes at least:
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
When shopping for car insurance, you may see these liability limits written as 50/100/25.
While a few states mandate that its drivers carry uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage — which protects a driver if they’re involved in an accident with another driver that isn’t adequately covered by an car insurance policy — Alaska doesn’t require it.
What additional coverage should I consider?
Because liability insurance does not cover potential damages to your car or your personal injuries, most car insurance providers in Alaska offer optional coverage that includes:
- Collision. Helps with repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive. Pays for repairs if your car is damaged by something other than an accident — for instance, a fire or vandalism.
- Medical coverage. Helps cover medical bills that are the result of an accident.
- Uninsured motorists. Helps with bills if you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Rental car coverage. Helps you manage the financial fallout of car repairs.
- Roadside assistance. Provides reimbursement for towing and labor required when your car is damaged in an accident.
Are there any areas of remote Alaska where I won’t need car insurance?
Yes. In general, insurance is not required in areas where the state doesn’t require registration. These areas tend to be remote areas of the state, and the risk of an accident with another vehicle in those areas is so low.
If you aren’t able to get car insurance on your own, the state offers the Alaska Automobile Insurance Plan. AAIP assigns you a provider, with risks shared among companies writing policies within the state.
Nearly all states require registered drivers to carry specified minimum liability insurance. And if you’re financing or leasing your car, you could be required to buy additional collision and comprehensive coverage as part of your finance agreement.
Uninsured drivers in Alaska
Alaska requires all drivers in its state to carry auto insurance for their registered vehicles. Yet about 13% of drivers in Alaska are uninsured, which is close to the 12.6% national average.
To protect yourself from damages in a car accident, consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance to your policy.
Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Alaska
Can’t find a company that will cover you for a reasonable rate? Even if you’ve been denied coverage because you’re considered a high-risk driver, you can get covered with Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP).
With WAAIP, you’re assigned an affordable provider. Any risks you pose to the provider are spread across the network, so you can get the coverage you need.
Alaska’s driving laws
While most US states have similar driving laws, Alaska has a few you should be aware of before driving in the Great White North.
- If a police officer sees you texting while driving, you can be given a ticket. If you cause an accident because of your cell phone use and distracted driving, you can be assessed a fine up to $10,000 or even imprisoned for up to a year. Talking on a cell phone while driving, however, is allowed.
- Driving with a revoked, suspended, or expired drivers license will result in a jail sentence of at least 10 days.
- Carrying and driving with a loaded rifle or handgun is acceptable in Alaska; no special concealed weapons permit is required.
- While it’s illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis, you’re allowed to possess and transport it in a vehicle as long as you stay within the state of Alaska. The cannabis laws aren’t so loose throughout most of North America.
- As long as you’re not within city or town limits, you can pull off to the side of any road and spend the night. If the place you’ve pulled over is deemed unsafe, a police officer may ask you to move to a place with better visibility or a wider shoulder.
- Driving slowly enough to hold up five or more cars behind you is considered unsafe driving; you’re expected to pull over and let the cars pass if you can’t maintain the speed of traffic.
- Riding on or in a moving trailer is prohibited. Driving with your dog in the open bed of a pickup truck is also against the law.
Most states have a few oddball laws. One law in Anchorage prohibits keeping a dog tethered to your roof rack while driving. The basics mostly hold true in Alaska; follow the speed limit, never pass on the right and obey all traffic signs and signals.
DUI laws in Alaska
BAC limits used to have some variance from one state to another, but no more. Everywhere in the US, the hard limit is now 0.08% BAC. Commercial drivers, in Alaska and elsewhere, are held to the stricter BAC limit of 0.04%.
Can I get SR-22 insurance in Alaska?
Yes you can, and you may be required to file an SR-22 in Alaska if you meet certain conditions. Drivers who are required to file SR-22 forms typically have been convicted of DUI or DWI, or they’ve accumulated enough violation points on their record to have the court demand an SR-22 form.
The SR-22 itself doesn’t cost much to file; typically the filing charge is less than $20, and the form simply serves to prove to the state that you’re carrying the legal minimum for auto insurance.
What happens after an accident in Alaska?
Even a fender bender can be traumatic, leaving you shaken and unable to think. If you’re in an accident, you have a few important steps to follow to ensure that you’re safe and protect yourself against any unnecessary worries when processing your car insurance claim.
- Safety first. Confirm that all involved parties are safe. If anybody is injured, call the police immediately.
- Call your insurance provider. After you’ve confirmed that everybody’s OK, call your insurance agent to report the accident. They will walk you through the information they need for your claim.
- Document the accident. Protect your claim by writing down the name of any police officers at the scene. Talk to any witnesses that could provide valuable information later, and take pictures of each of the cars from many angles.
- Exchange information. Get the complete name, contact info and insurance policy details from other drivers. Note car types, colors, models and license plate numbers, as well as the exact location of the accident.
When you talk with the other drivers, avoid admitting fault for the accident. If you imply that you caused the accident, you run the risk of your car insurance company refusing to pay your claim.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you’re stopped by police or are involved in an accident in Alaska and you don’t have car insurance, you face suspension of your driver’s license.
- First offense. Your license is suspended for 90 days and until you can prove you’re insured and pay a $100 reinstatement fee.
- Subsequent offenses. Your license is suspended for 1 year and until you can prove you’re insured and pay a reinstatement fee of up to $500.
What if I’m in an accident in Alaska caused by another driver?
Alaska is one of 10 “No Pay, No Play” states. In these states, if you are in an accident and do not have your own car insurance, you’re limited in how much compensation you can receive for your injuries after making a claim. For instance, you cannot receive compensation for pain and suffering, the legal term for physical and emotional stress that’s the result of an accident, but you can get reimbursed for related medical bills.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
Alaska is not one of the 12 states that requires drivers to carry no-fault insurance. In states without no-fault coverage, insurance claims are typically paid out if you’re injured in an accident caused by another driver. The at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage could help reimburse your medical expenses up to policy limits. And if you’re injured in an accident you cause, your medical payments coverage, if you have it, could help reimburse your medical expenses up to your limits.
Alaska is a tort state, which means if you’re at fault for an accident in the state, you’re required to pay the medical expenses of any victim of your accident. Victims have the right to further pursue compensation for lost wages and “pain and suffering” that is the result of the accident.
How to report a car accident in Alaska
- Request a copy of the investigating officer’s accident report.
- Complete and send Form SR-13 to the Alaska Department of Public Safety within 30 days of the date of your accident.
When should I report an accident?
In Alaska, you must report an accident to the local police department if anybody is hurt or killed or if there’s more than $2,000 in damages to any party involved in the accident.
If your accident occurs outside of a municipality, contact the Alaska State Troopers.
To report a car accident in Alaska, submit an Alaska Motor Vehicle Crash Form 12209 within 10 days of your accident to:
DMV Main Office
PO Box 110221
Juneau, AK 99811-0221
If estimated damages are $500 or more, you’ll also need to include a Certificate of Insurance within 15 days of your accident.
Do I need to contact a lawyer?
You might not need a car accident attorney for a small property damage claim, like a fender bender or accidentally driving into a mailbox. However, it’s a good idea to at least consult with a lawyer for major car accidents that result in personal injuries to the driver or passengers, crashes due to negligence, preventable accidents because of road conditions or when your insurance won’t cover the entire cost of damages.
In Alaska, you have two years from the time of an accident to make a personal injury claim and two years for a property damage claim, which should allow enough time to discover any long-term effects of the accident.
Unless you’re in a rural area, you’ll need to purchase liability insurance to legally drive in Alaska. Research your insurance options to find the most affordable coverage for your needs when driving in Alaska.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Alaska
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