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Alaska has many unsettled regions where roads are not easily accessible and often not maintained by the state. Some of these areas are not subject to Alaska auto insurance laws that apply to other parts of the state and almost all of the other 49 states. Where insurance is required, penalties and other consequences of driving uninsured can be costly.
Despite the spotty areas of mandatory insurance requirements, it is always recommended to consider coverage wherever you may drive in Alaska for the financial protection it provides. If you are involved in an accident without insurance, the financial consequences can be severe.
Minimum insurance required in Alaska
Alaska’s Mandatory Insurance Law requires that drivers of motor vehicles in areas where cars are required to be registered must carry specific limits of auto liability insurance. Additionally, Alaska’s Financial Responsibility Law provides that these drivers must carry proof of insurance when on the road.
Auto liability insurance covers the financial costs that may arise if you are responsible for bodily injury to another driver and passengers and property damage that you cause to another driver’s vehicle in a car accident.
Alaska’s minimum auto liability insurance limits are:
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Some areas in Alaska do not require vehicle registration. In these areas, insurance is also not required.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Alaska
Failure to provide proof of insurance
Failure to provide proof of liability insurance to an Alaska law enforcement officer may result in a citation. Penalties vary and the violation may also result in the impounding of your vehicle.
If you are caught driving without the requisite insurance under Alaska’s mandatory requirements, you may be subject to a $500 fine. For a first offense, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to 90 days.
If a driver is issued a second citation for driving without insurance within 10 years of the first, the license suspension may increase up to one year. Penalties will likely be at least $500 as well. Penalties and suspensions can get more severe with subsequent violations.
Curing a violation with an SR-22
An SR-22 is not an insurance policy. In Alaska, as in other states, an SR-22 is a state sanctioned certificate verifying financial responsibility. If your license has been suspended for failure to carry the required insurance, you will need to obtain and hold an SR-22 for up to three years. This can typically remove the suspension.
Getting into an accident without insurance
If you are involved in a vehicle accident in Alaska in which a person suffers bodily injury or death, or there is property damage in excess of $500, you are required to provide proof of insurance. Within 15 days of the accident, the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles must receive this proof from every driver involved in the accident no matter who was at fault. Often, the officer at the scene will provide drivers with the proper form to complete and submit. It can also be obtained at any DMV office.
The DMV has no discretionary option, and must suspend the license of a driver who is unable to provide proof of insurance under these circumstances. The period of the suspension can run from 90 days to a year. It is important to note that this suspension is based solely on driving without insurance and therefore, fault in the accident has no bearing on the suspension. There are provisions for applying for limited driving rights such as for work requirements.
Perhaps the greatest cost that can come from being uninsured and having an accident is from an injured driver who chooses to sue. Alaska is an “at-fault” state and you can be personally liable for bodily injury and property damage which you caused. Depending upon the severity of injury and long term ramifications, these damages can lead to significant financial loss and potential bankruptcy.
Alaska’s online insurance verification system
In 2018, Alaska introduced a limited online car insurance verification system. The purpose of the system is to provide information regarding a driver’s compliance with the state statute, AS 28.22.031 – Method of Proof of Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance, which requires, among other things, proof of insurance within 15 day following an accident.
Frequently asked questions
What if you provide false insurance information?
Driving without insurance is costly in its own right. Compounding the issue by providing false information to a law officer or your insurance company can make the situation much worse. Lying to an officer in Alaska can also result in hefty fines and suspensions. You may also discover that your car insurance company has denied a claim or cancelled your policy if they learn that you provided false information in your application.
How much is car insurance in Alaska?
Car insurance in Alaska is relatively inexpensive compared with other states, averaging $1,559 a year for full coverage, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services. The amount each driver will pay varies because of the wide range of individual factors that are involved, including driving history, age and location. The recommended course is to get and compare quotes from the best car insurance companies.
What is an “at-fault” state?
In an “at-fault” state each individual, and their insurers, are financially responsible for injuries they cause in an accident. Contrast this with a “no-fault” state where insurers are required to pay for their own insured’s injuries and may be required to seek reimbursement, or subrogate, later from the party at fault or his or her car insurance company.
Should I tell my car insurance company about minor accidents?
It is generally recommended to notify your insurance company every time you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor you feel it is. If you fail to do this and the other party, months or even years later, claims a serious injury as a result of the accident, your carrier may deny the claim for failure to provide prompt notification.