Driving without insurance in Arizona

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Since all Arizona vehicle owners are required by law to insure their vehicles, you don’t want to get caught driving without insurance in Arizona. You can get a ticket for no insurance, face a fine, get your license suspended and more.

And because Arizona recently increased its liability limits, it’s extra important to know the penalty for driving without insurance in Arizona right now. To get started, let’s look at the specific laws that dictate how much insurance you need in the Grand Canyon State.

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 even injured someone.

And as we just mentioned, 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 to do so 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. And doing so doesn’t entitle any law enforcement officer to access anything else 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 means 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

What is the best car insurance in Arizona?

Since you need car insurance, you want to find the best policy at the best price. We’ve got you covered: we rounded up the top car insurance companies in Arizona so you can compare quotes from them. The best insurer for you might differ from your friend or neighbor. The amount of coverage you need and how much you’ll pay for it depends on your car, your driving history, discounts for which you qualify and more.

Do I need to update my auto insurance to meet the new liability coverage requirements?

Absolutely. As of July 2020, Arizona now has 25/50/15 coverage requirements. If you’re still driving around with limits of 15/30/10, reach out to your insurer right away to meet the new minimum requirement.

Written by
Kacie Goff
Personal Finance Contributor
Kacie Goff is a personal finance and insurance writer with over seven years of experience covering personal and commercial coverage options. She writes for Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, NextAdvisor, Varo Money, Coverage, Best Credit Cards and more. She's covered a broad range of policy types — including less-talked-about coverages like wrap insurance and E&O — and she specializes in auto, homeowners and life insurance.