More than 1,100 fatal collisions occurred on Arizona roadways in 2021, and nonfatal accidents were even more frequent during that time. While the cost of a car accident can be astronomically high, a good car insurance can help keep the costs from making a huge dent in your finances. Car insurance is designed to help cover costs associated with an accident and give you peace of mind behind the wheel.

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Most states require drivers to hold at least a minimum amount of liability insurance, and Arizona is no different. If you drive without insurance in Arizona, you may be subject to fees, license suspension and tickets. Arizona adjusted its minimum liability car insurance requirements in 2020, so you may want to double check that your vehicles are properly insured. Before reaching out to your insurance company to adjust any policies, it may be helpful to brush up on Arizona’s state car insurance laws.

Arizona car insurance laws

Like almost all states, Arizona requires its drivers to carry liability insurance. This insurance coverage steps in if you cause damage while you’re behind the wheel, whether that means you just dinged someone else’s car or injured someone.

Arizona recently increased the liability coverage requirements you need to meet in your auto insurance policy. The new minimum limits went into effect in July 2020. Now Arizona drivers need:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage for each person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage for each accident
  • $15,000 of property damage liability

When you’re looking at your insurance policy, you might see this written as 25/50/15.

In Arizona, citations for driving without insurance can happen even if you technically have a policy in place. That’s because the state transportation code requires you to provide proof of your coverage at the time of an accident or when requested by a law enforcement officer.

Let’s say you get pulled over and can’t find proof of your coverage right then. If you do get a citation but can prove in court that you actually had the required insurance, your case should be dismissed. To help you avoid this headache, it might help you to know that you can show proof of coverage on your phone.

Ultimately, if you want to avoid a ticket for no insurance, you need to do two things: have the above amounts of liability coverage and have proof of that coverage in your vehicle. Just in case you’re in an area with no service or your phone dies, it’s a good idea to have a hard copy of your insurance cards in your car somewhere.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Arizona

Where does driving without insurance in Arizona land you? Well, the penalty for driving without insurance in Arizona escalates depending on how many times you’ve been caught without coverage:

First violation

You get a fine of at least $500 and your license gets suspended for three months. Additionally, your registration and license plates get suspended for three months, too.

Second violation

If you get a ticket for no insurance twice in 36 months, you get a fine of at least $750 and your license, registration and license plates get suspended for six months.

Third violation

In 36 months, three or more violations for driving without insurance in Arizona mean you get a fine of at least $1,000 and license, registration and license plate suspension for one year.

Once your license gets reinstated, you’ll also need to have your insurance provider file an SR-22 with AZDOT on your behalf. This usually makes your auto insurance more expensive, plus you might have to pay a nominal filing fee.

In Arizona, driving without insurance means you’ll pay money for a fine and lose your license. On top of all that, you can get hit with a misdemeanor charge. Ultimately, you want to do what you can to avoid getting a ticket for no insurance. And that simply means buying auto insurance with the required amount of liability coverage.

Getting into an accident without insurance

In Arizona, driving without insurance could mean a major headache. But getting into an accident when driving without insurance makes the situation even worse, especially if the accident is your fault.

Theoretically, after an accident, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage pays for the damages (hence the requirement for it). But if you don’t have an insurance policy to cover the tab, you’ll be reaching into your own pockets. That could mean thousands of dollars — or even tens of thousands — of expenses that you’re suddenly responsible for covering. And if you can’t pay that amount, the other driver or their insurer can sue you. Your wages could then get garnished until the amount is paid in full.

If you weren’t the at-fault driver, you’re better off. The other driver’s liability coverage should pay to repair your car. But the accident will still mean the state becomes aware that you were in Arizona driving without insurance. And that means you’ll be subject to all of the above penalties.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance in Arizona depends on your individual needs and preferences. For instance, if you’re looking for the cheapest option, you may want to compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers. If you’re not sure where to start your search, Bankrate’s team found Geico, State Farm, American Family, Allstate and The Hartford to be the best car insurance companies in Arizona.
    • Yes, you need to update your auto insurance to meet new liability coverage requirements. If you don’t, you could be subject to tickets, fines and license suspension. Arizona’s new liability coverage requirements are 25/50/15; in other words, 25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, along with $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. If you still have limits of 15/30/10, you may want to reach out to your insurer and increase your limits.
    • The easiest way to find the cheapest car insurance for you is to get quotes from multiple providers. Based on Bankrate’s recent analysis, Geico, Travelers, USAA, Mercury, and Encompass are some of the cheapest car insurance companies in Arizona for minimum liability coverage.