Insurance of any kind can be outright confusing and auto insurance is no exception. Not only do requirements vary state-by-state, but there are significant repercussions if you are caught driving without auto insurance. Below we have answered some frequently asked questions, but if you have been in an auto accident and have questions concerning coverage for your damages, reach out to the Kelly Law Team for answers.
Types of Auto Insurance Coverage
Before we dive into the questions, it may help to cover the basics. Below is a brief description of the different types of auto insurance coverage.
- Bodily injury liability: covers expenses related to the injury or death of another driver or pedestrian if you are at fault for an accident.
- Property damage liability: covers expenses for damage to another person’s property (e.g., vehicles) when the accident is your fault. This does not cover damage to your own vehicle.
- Uninsured motorist: covers your medical expenses if you are in an accident, the other driver is at fault but does not have insurance. This coverage would also apply if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident.
- Underinsured motorist: covers your medical expenses if you are in an accident, the other driver is at fault but does not have enough liability insurance.
- Medical expenses: covers medical expenses if you or your passengers are hurt in an accident.
- Collision: covers expenses to repair or replace your vehicle damaged in an accident. These expenses are paid even if you are found to be at-fault. This may also include damages from a rollover accident.
- Comprehensive: covers expenses to repair or replace your vehicle if it has been damaged by storms, vandalism, falling objects or hitting an animal.
General Requirement Questions
Does Arizona require auto insurance?
Yes. Every motor vehicle operating on a roadway in Arizona must have auto insurance that meets or exceeds the following limits:
- $15,000 bodily-injury liability for one person
- $30,000 bodily-injury liability for two or more persons
- $10,000 property-damage liability
This requirement also applies to motorcycles, mopeds and golf carts.
Insurance is required immediately, so do not drive the vehicle before you obtain insurance.
The insurance company and vehicle owner must submit proof of insurance within 30 days after the initial car registration.
I will not be driving my vehicle for an extended period of time. Do I still need insurance?
No. If you will not be driving your vehicle for some reason (e.g., restoration, military leave), Arizona allows for de-insurance. You will need to submit the online De-Insured Certificate form.
What if I have out-of-state insurance?
All vehicles registered in Arizona must be insured by a company licensed to do business in Arizona, so out-of-state insurance is not acceptable for any vehicle registered in Arizona. If you are an Arizona resident but are residing out of state, you may be able to submit a De-Insured Certificate.
What happens if I don’t meet Arizona’s minimum requirements for auto insurance?
There are a few ways you can get caught not having the requisite insurance. During a traffic stop or after an accident, law enforcement will ask for proof of insurance.
Your uninsured status could also be detected when an insurance company notifies the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Insurance companies are required to notify the MVD of any policy cancellations, non-renewals or new policies. If the MVD receives a notice that your policy is no longer active, they will send you an inquiry notice to verify insurance status. If you cannot verify your status you may be in for some trouble.
Failing to maintain insurance can result in the suspension of your vehicle registration and/or driver’s license. To reinstate your registration and license, you will need to pay fees and file proof of financial responsibility.
If the pain of reinstating your license and registration is not enough to motivate you to get insurance, think of the significant financial repercussions facing you if you get into an accident without insurance.
I was in an accident but the other driver did not have proof of insurance. Where can I get their insurance information?
If you are in an accident and the other party was unable to provide proof of insurance or it was not valid, you may submit an Insurance Information Request with a copy of the police report and the required fee to the Arizona DOT. They will release any available information on record for the date of the accident. They will also advise you if there is no information available.
Arizona only requires bodily injury and property damage liability, but should I obtain other types of coverage?
You can certainly choose to carry coverage beyond the Arizona minimum requirements, and some lenders may require you to obtain other coverage if you are leasing or financing a vehicle. It is best to check with your lender and insurance agent to determine the best coverage for you.
Will my insurance pay to fix my damaged vehicle or cover any medical expenses if I am in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured (has no coverage at all), then your insurance will only cover repairs to your vehicle if you have collision coverage. Your medical expenses will only be covered if you have uninsured motorist coverage. While collision and uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory, this is an excellent example of how additional coverage can protect you in the event of an accident.
My friend borrowed my car and got into an accident. Who pays?
Typically, your insurance policy would cover damage or injury costs for the other driver’s medical bills or property damage. Your bodily injury and property damage coverage would not cover your friend’s medical bills or damage to your vehicle, unless you have other coverage. For instance, collision coverage may cover damages to your vehicle.
Each policy is different, so it is important to read your insurance policy carefully. For instance, some policies do not cover relatives in your home unless they are named on your policy.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Arizona, so do not get caught without it. If you have questions about coverage after an accident, contact the Kelly Law Team at 602-283-4122 for a free consultation.