How to get the best auto insurance in Arkansas
Nearly all states require drivers to have some level of auto insurance, just in case. However, each state can have its own tricky requirements, and it can be hard to know what exactly you need. Plus, if you’re financing or leasing your car, you could face additional coverage requirements. Compare state requirements for Arkansas and how to get the best deal on cheap coverage for your car.
Arkansas car insurance providers
Average car insurance costs in Arkansas
Arkansas ranks above average for annual car insurance costs, typically ranging from $1,100 to $1,400 a year. If you’re looking to buy auto insurance in Arkansas, it’s reasonable to expect your rates to fall within this range.
However, because car insurance costs are known to vary so much between different drivers and different insurance providers, you could end up paying significantly more or less than that range. This is because your individual insurance rates are based on a whole host of factors, which can include:
- 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 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 employees while they’re driving for work.
- Location. Some areas can put a car at higher risk of theft, vandalism and other potential hazards, which will incur higher costs. Similarly, living in an area that’s prone to flooding or storms may 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 Arkansas, 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 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 Arkansas
In order to drive legally in Arkansas, you’ll need liability insurance that includes:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
When shopping for car insurance, you may see these liabilities written as 25/50/25.
Some states require that you have uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage, meaning that if you get in an accident with a driver without enough coverage, your insurance will still protect you. Arkansas is an opt-out state, so while insurance companies are required to offer you this coverage, you have the option to actively opt out. If you choose to opt out and get in an accident, your insurance company will usually pay for some of your bills.
In Arkansas, you’re required by law to have proof of car insurance and vehicle registration every time you drive. Failure to provide proof of insurance at even a routine traffic stop can result in a $25 fine. You can provide proof of insurance using your insurer ID card, which you can have a hard version of or can provide on any smart device to prove your coverage.
What additional coverage should I consider?
In addition to fulfilling the minimum state requirements, it’s usually a good idea to get additional coverage to better protect yourself in case of an accident. Most car insurance companies in Arkansas also offer:
- Personal injury protection. PIP is required in most no-fault states and optional in Arkansas.
- Medical payments coverage. Helps pay for injury-related expenses.
- Lost wages coverage. Helps cover any wages you may lose as a result of a car accident.
- Death benefits coverage. Pays for funeral and death-related costs resulting from a car accident.
- Collision. Helps cover damages and expenses resulting from a car accident.
- Comprehensive. Helps cover non-collision-related damages to your car, such as those resulting from weather, theft or fire.
While every driver in Arkansas must have insurance, Arkansas insurance companies are able to deny coverage to any driver they feel is too high a risk. If that happens to you, you can apply for the Arkansas Automobile Insurance Plan through any car insurance agent in Arkansas – all Arkansas insurance companies are required to participate in this plan. However, the company you originally apply with might assign you to a different provider for a better fit.
Uninsured drivers in Arkansas
It’s against the law to drive uninsured in Arkansas. In fact, all 50 states have laws requiring a car insurance minimum before you can legally hit the road. Despite these laws and the punishments for breaking them, there are always some drivers who try to get away with less than the legal minimum for auto insurance. In Arkansas, those drivers are estimated to make up as much as 17% of all drivers on the road, which is above average; the estimated national average of uninsured or underinsured drivers is 13%, or approximately one in eight motorists.
Because of these statistics, you may want to add uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage to your policy, which ensures you’re still covered even if you collide with someone who isn’t. This kind of coverage usually isn’t free to add to a policy, but having that peace of mind could be worth the additional cost.
What if I don’t want to buy car insurance in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, there’s really no alternative to having auto insurance. If you can’t afford any of the conventional options, or if you’re being denied coverage because insurance providers consider you too high of a risk to insure, you can apply to the Arkansas Automobile Insurance Plan (AAIP). The AAIP is a state-sponsored network of insurance providers that are legally bound to give coverage to anyone who applies.
Some states allow for a surety bond or cash deposit to be filed with the DMV instead of getting a car insurance policy. The bond or deposit is meant to serve in place of liability coverage should an accident occur. However, Arkansas is not one of the states that allows this. To hit the road in Arkansas, you’ll need to purchase a policy through a conventional provider or else through a program like AAIP.
What happens if I’m driving in Arkansas and I don’t have car insurance?
If you’re caught driving without the proper auto insurance coverage in Arkansas, you’ll face a fine of $50-250 for your first
- 1st offense: fine of $50 to $250, points on your driving record. You have 10 days to present proof of insurance coverage after being fined. If you can provide proof, the fine will be waived.
- 2nd offense: fine of $250-500. Additional points on your driving record. For your second offense, it’s unlikely that showing proof of insurance will save you from paying a fine.
- 3rd offense: fine increases to the $500-1,000 range, with possible jail time up to a year. You’re also likely to have your license suspended or even revoked, meaning you’ll have to wait several months before reinstating it, as well as file an SR-22 with the state.
Can I get temporary car insurance in Arkansas?
It’s perfectly legal to purchase short term car insurance for less than six months, but most insurance companies won’t offer this option.
Shop around with various providers to get the best rate on your temporary coverage. You may also be able to find a conventional policy that lets you cancel early at little or no additional cost, and transfer to a more standard insurance plan when you’re ready.
Driving laws in Arkansas
Before driving through any unfamiliar state, it’s a good idea to know about any laws or circumstantial regulations that could apply to you. While most of the driving laws in Arkansas are fairly standard, there are a few you’ll want to make note of before you hit the road.
- Arkansas’ distracted driving laws prohibit text messaging while driving. Most states have varying levels of distracted-driver laws that address text messaging behind the wheel, and some states ban cell phone use entirely while driving unless it’s with the use of a hands-free device.
- Rural four lane highway speed limits were raised from 70mph to 75mph in April 2017. However, trucks are still legally limited to 65mph.
- Arkansas is one of many states with an implied consent law. This law states that if you’re operating a motor vehicle, you give consent to a sobriety test if a police officer pulls you over, and you’ll face serious consequences if you refuse.
- Arkansas has a law that states you cannot honk your horn outside a restaurant after 9 pm.
Arkansas’ DUI laws
It used to be the case that the BAC limit might differ from one state to the next, but all states currently have their limit set at 0.08% for non-commercial drivers. Professional drivers, typically defined as those operating trucks over 7,000 pounds or carrying paying passengers, are limited to a BAC of 0.04%. As in most states, repeat DUI or DWI offenders in Arkansas face more severe consequences each time they are caught.
- First offense: Fine of $150-1,000, jail time of 24 hours to a maximum of 1 year. Six month suspension of driver’s license and/or interlocking ignition device required to drive.
- Second offense: Fine of $400-3,000, jail time of 7 days to a maximum of 1 year. Two year suspension of driver’s license and/or interlocking ignition device required to drive.
- Third offense: Fine of $900-5,000, jail time of 90 days to a maximum of 1 year. 30-month license suspension and/or interlocking ignition device required to drive.
- Fourth offense: Fine of $900-5,000, jail time of 1-6 years. Four year license suspension and/or interlocking ignition device required to drive.
Can I file for SR-22 insurance in Arkansas?
You might need to file an SR-22 in Arkansas if you’ve gotten a DUI, lost your license or have too many points on your driving record. An SR-22 tells the state you have the minimum coverage required to get back behind the wheel.
What happens after an accident in Arkansas?
A car accident can leave you shaken and traumatized, making it difficult to handle something like an insurance claim. If you’re able to address
- Safety first. Make sure that everyone involved in the accident is OK. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away. Do your best to stay calm and look out for any other potential dangers, including fires. If no one is injured, call the local police and inform them of what’s happened.
Exchange information. In Arkansas, you are required to provide certain information to the parties involved in an accident. Make sure you exchange:
- Name, address and contact details
- Driver license number
- License plate number of the vehicles involved
- Auto insurance information for the motorists involved
- Notify your auto insurance company. While you’re still at the scene, it’s a good idea to notify your insurance company of what’s occurred. They’ll be able to provide you with more specific steps you should take, if any. Use them as a resource to ask any questions that you’re unsure about.
- Document the accident. Protect your claim by writing down the names of the police officers and any witnesses at the scene. They may be able to help provide additional information that supports your claim later. Take pictures of the accident and any damages from multiple angles.
- Report an accident to the DFA. Some car accidents will require that you report it to the DFA using the Motor Vehicle Accident Report. You’ll need to do this if the damage to property exceeds $1,000 or if the accident results in injury or death. You’ll need to submit this form within 30 days of the accident, even if you weren’t found at fault for the crash.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
If you’re a resident in Arkansas and plan on driving, you should remember that Arkansas is an “at-fault” state, meaning that whoever caused the car accident is responsible for paying for all the damages to property and person (if necessary).
When should I report an accident to the authorities in Arkansas?
Some car accidents will require that you report it to the DFA using the Motor Vehicle Accident Report. You’ll need to do this if the damage to property exceeds $1000 or if the accident results in injury or death. You’ll need to submit this form within 30 days of the accident, even if you weren’t found at-fault for the crash.
To report a car accident in Arkansas you should fill out their Motor Vehicle Accident report. Include any necessary documentation and information.
You’ll also need to provide adequate proof of financial responsibility. The simplest way to do this is to have your insurance company complete the SR-21, proof of liability insurance portion of your report in Form SR-1. This section will require a signature and case number from your insurance agent.
Failure to report an accident to the DFA can result in a suspended license.
If you live, work or are registered to vote in Arkansas, you’ll need car insurance in order to safely drive. Make sure you research your insurance options before choosing which plan will best meet your state’s requirements and your own coverage requirements.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Arkansas
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