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Car insurance in Arizona

Minimum requirements and how to get cheap auto insurance in Arizona

How to get the best auto insurance in Arizona

Think the level of insurance you’re required to carry in your state is the same as the policies your friends are required for theirs? Unlike immigration laws, which are federally mandated, car insurance requirements are governed by the states themselves.

If you plan to drive in Arizona, you’re not technically required to carry liability insurance. But if you decide against it, your alternative is to assign a certificate of deposit in the amount of $40,000 to Office of the Arizona State Treasurer. Not such a hard decision, is it?

When driving in the Grand Canyon State, you must keep proof of your car insurance in your car while driving. State law also allows you to present a digital version of your ID on your phone or tablet to prove coverage.

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.

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Auto insurance providers for drivers in Arizona

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.

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Average cost of car insurance in Arizona

If you live in Arizona, you can expect to pay about the average cost nationwide. Your individual cost is likely to range between $1,000 and $1,300 annually, according to rates quoted for a single man between 30 and 35 years old.

While it’s likely your costs will fall within that average range, a whole host of factors could play into the equation, giving you a much higher or lower rate than what the average driver in Arizona pays.

What impacts car insurance rates for Arizona drivers?

  • Age. Young drivers under 25, as well as seniors over 70, will almost certainly pay more for car insurance.
  • Sex. Males can often expect higher premiums. This is sometimes countered by age and marital status.
  • Driving experience. Drivers with L or P plates typically pay more, which can compound the effect of age on premiums.
  • Occupation. People who drive every day for their job, like regional salespeople or delivery drivers, can expect significantly higher premiums thanks to more time spent on the road. Sometimes this is countered by employer policies that cover these drivers while they’re earning a paycheck.
  • Location. Some areas put a car at higher risk of theft, vandalism and other potential hazards, which will incur higher costs. Similarly, if one area is more prone to flooding or storms you may see this impact your premiums.
  • Claims history. The more car insurance claims you have made in the past, the higher your premiums will generally be in the near future.
  • Credit score. In 47 US states, including Arizona, auto insurance providers can use your credit score to help calculate your rates. This is because statistics show a strong link between excellent credit and safe, accident-free driving.
  • Safety record. If you have a penchant for speeding, driving under the influence or trying to start a drag race at every red light, your insurer will likely know about it — and raise your rates accordingly.
  • Drivers on the policy. Only certain people you add onto the policy will be approved to drive the car you’re insuring, and all of them impact the cost. Even the world’s safest driver will get a substantial price hike by listing another less-safe driver on the policy.
  • Driving habits. How far you drive each day, how often you get behind the wheel and where you drive can all play a part in your car insurance prices.

State minimum requirements in Arizona

State minimum requirements for car insurance vary by state. You can’t legally drive in Arizona unless you carry liability insurance that includes at least:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
  • $10,000 property damage liability coverage per accident.

When shopping for car insurance, you may see these liability limits written as 15/30/10.

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. Arizona is not one of those states.

Because liability insurance does not cover potential damages to your car or your personal injuries, most car insurance providers in Arizona 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.
  • Gap coverage. If your financed or leased car is totaled, your insurer will pay only what the vehicle is worth, leaving you to pay back the entire loan. This coverage pays the difference.
  • 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.
  • Towing and labor. Provides reimbursement for roadside assistance required for your car in the event of an accident.

What additional coverage can I get?

Many drivers purchase additional coverage beyond the state minimums to protect themselves and their vehicles. Insurance companies in the state of Arizona also offer:

  • Comprehensive. Covers damage to your car caused by something other than a collision, like weather or vandalism. Comprehensive insurance is often especially important in areas with high crime rates.
  • Collision. Helps pay for repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.
  • Medical and funeral services. Helps cover medical bills or funeral services as a result of an accident.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists. Protects you if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.
  • Rental car. Assists in reimbursing you for any rental car rent if your car is damaged in an accident.
  • Towing and labor. Provides reimbursement for towing or labor costs you may have incurred as a result of an accident.

Uninsured drivers in Arizona

Since all 50 US states and Washington, D.C. require you to carry proof of insurance when you drive, you’ll face some consequences if you’re caught without it in Arizona. The state’s penalty for driving without car insurance is a fine of at least $250 for your first offense; you could also face a license suspension of three months.

In spite of the law stating you must be insured to drive, an estimated 20% or more of Arizona’s drivers don’t carry the legal minimum for auto insurance. That’s above the national average, which seems to be around 15% of all drivers. To avoid getting stuck with someone else’s bill in an accident with an uninsured driver, you might want to consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage onto your policy.

Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Arizona

Finding affordable coverage or getting denied for coverage because you’re considered a high-risk driver isn’t fun. With WAAIP, you can find options through the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP). You’ll be assigned an affordable provider through the WAAIP network of insurers. Any extra risk you pose to the insurance provider is spread across the network of companies.

Can I buy temporary car insurance in Arizona?

Yes you can — and that might be a great option if you’re in need of insurance but don’t need a six-month or annual policy. Some examples of this might include renting a car, returning home on a break from college, or planning to sell your car within a few days or weeks of when your current policy expires.

What if I don’t have insurance?

If you’re stopped by police or are involved in an accident in Arizona and you don’t have car insurance, you face suspension of your license, registration and plates.

  • First offense. Your license, registration and plates are suspended for 90 days, and you’ll pay a fine of $250-500.
  • Second offense. Your license, registration and plates are suspended for six months, and your fine jumps to $750.
  • Subsequent offenses. Your license, registration and plates are suspended for a year, and you’re on the hook for a whopping $1,000 fine.

Arizona 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. For instance, you cannot receive compensation for “pain and suffering” — the legal term for physical and emotional stress that’s the result of an injury — but you can get reimbursed for related medical bills.

Driving laws in Arizona

While most US states have a standard list of traffic and driving laws, the Grand Canyon State has a few you’ll want to make note of before hitting the road.

  • People riding motorcycles can only carry a passenger if the bike is designed to accommodate it.
  • Defensive driving courses can be taken as often as once a year. This may be helpful to drivers hoping to remove violation points from their records or score a better car insurance rate. Previously, a driver would have to wait two years after completing a driving course to enroll in another.
  • High handlebars or “ape hangers” are now legal in Arizona; before this change, handlebars extending above a rider’s shoulders were illegal.
  • Text messaging while driving is illegal, and you could be fined $100-250 if a police officer sees you and issues you a ticket. Driving while talking on a cell phone, however, is still legal.

Most of Arizona’s other traffic laws are fairly standard — obey speed limits, obey all traffic signs and signals, and you should be just fine.

Arizona’s blood alcohol content (BAC) laws

Laws concerning blood alcohol content (BAC) used to have some variance from state to state, but no more. No matter if you’re in Arizona or Maine, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC above 0.08%, and commercial drivers face even stricter rules with a BAC limit of only 0.04%. If you’re caught driving over the limit in Arizona, you’ll face hefty fines, a drivers license suspension and possibly even jail time for your first offense. Any subsequent instances of driving drunk, and the consequences quickly get more severe.

Can I get SR-22 insurance in Arizona?

Yes you can. You may need an SR-22 form if you’ve been convicted of a severe moving violation, such as DUI/DWI or reckless driving, or if you’ve accumulated too many violation points on your drivers license in the past three years. An SR-22 form lets the state know that you’re carrying at least the minimum for auto liability insurance so you can legally drive again.

Learn more about filing for SR-22 insurance in Arizona.

What happens after an accident in Arizona?

A car accident can leave you shaken and traumatized. Which is why it’s best to prepare for one so that you know the important steps to take afterward. If you’re in an accident, ensure that you’re safe and protect yourself against any unnecessary worries when processing your car insurance claim.

  1. Safety first. Confirm that everybody involved in the accident is OK. Call the police or 911 immediately if a driver or passenger is hurt.
  2. Notify your insurance agent. After you’ve confirmed that everybody’s safe, call your insurance provider to report the accident. An agent will walk you through the information needed for your claim.
  3. Document the accident. Protect your claim by writing down the names of any police officers or witnesses at the scene. This information can be valuable to over the process of your claim.
  4. Exchange information. Take down the complete names, contact info and insurance policy details of the drivers involved. Note their car types, colors, models and license plate numbers and the exact address of the accident.

When you talk with the other drivers, never admit to fault for the accident. If you imply that you caused it, your car insurance company could refuse to pay your claim.

Who’s at fault after an accident?

Arizona 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.
  • 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.

Arizona is a tort state. In tort states, you’re required to pay the medical expenses of any victim of an accident you’re at fault for. Victims also have the right to pursue compensation for lost wages and “pain and suffering” — the legal term for physical and emotional stress that’s the result of an injury.

When should I report an accident to the authorities in Arizona?

Private citizens are not required to report car accidents that occur in the state. Instead, law enforcement will report the accident if it resulted in death or injury, damages in excess of $1,000 or a citation.

Although you aren’t required to report an accident, that doesn’t mean that you can leave if you were involved in any way. You must remain at the scene until police arrive, or risk a felony charge — fleeing the scene of an accident — and face possible suspension of your license.

When do I need to contact an attorney?

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 Arizona, you have two years from the time of an accident to make a personal injury claim, and the same time limit applies to a property damage claim. This limit should allow enough time to discover any long-term effects from the accident, including internal bodily injuries or issues with your vehicle.

Bottom line

To drive in Arizona, you’ll need to purchase liability insurance or set up alternative means that can cost you at least $40,000. Research your car insurance options to find the cheapest coverage for your needs when driving in this sunny state.

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