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To drive legally, Arkansas drivers must meet the state’s minimum car insurance requirement. In Arkansas, minimum coverage includes bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. The average minimum coverage policy in the state costs less than the national average at $437 per year, but most insurance professionals recommend carrying full coverage car insurance if you can afford to for added financial protection. An Arkansas full coverage car insurance policy costs more than the national average at $1,806 per year.
Car insurance laws in Arkansas
Every driver in Arkansas must carry a minimum amount of car insurance in order to legally operate their vehicle. Minimum car insurance in Arkansas is abbreviated as 25/50/25, which includes personal liability insurance. Here are the coverage limits included with a minimum coverage insurance policy:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage must also be offered by car insurance companies in Arkansas, but can be declined by the policyholder. Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance may be a good idea since nearly 20 percent of Arkansas drivers are uninsured.
If you cause an accident, bodily injury liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s medical expenses, while property damage liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s car repairs if there is damage. It is important to note that a minimum coverage policy in Arkansas does not provide any protection for your own vehicle.
Arkansas also requires your insurance company to offer you personal injury protection insurance (PIP) and requires that if you do not want to carry it, you must reject the offer in writing.
Liability insurance in Arkansas
Arkansas car insurance laws stipulate that you carry a minimum of 25/50/25 in liability insurance. But is this enough coverage to protect you if you were in a serious auto accident? Many insurance experts would say no.
If you cause an accident with damages that exceed your liability limits, you will be responsible for paying the overage out-of-pocket. Car accidents can be expensive, and even the expenses from a minor accident may add up quickly.
Additionally, liability coverage pays for damages and costs to the other car in an at-fault accident, not to your own car. If your own vehicle is damaged in an at-fault accident and you have minimum coverage insurance, you would need to pay for any damages to your car out-of-pocket. If you wish to have coverage for your own vehicle, you will need to carry a full coverage policy, which includes collision and comprehensive insurance. Although your premium will be more expensive, you may be more financially protected in the event of a covered incident like an accident or vandalism.
Is Arkansas a no-fault state?
Arkansas is not considered a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, a driver’s insurance company will cover their medical expenses and lost wages after an accident, up to their coverage limit, regardless of who was at fault. In a fault, or tort, state, like Arkansas, the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for the other driver’s hospital bills. For this reason, drivers in no-fault states are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Arkansas
Driving without car insurance in Arkansas is against the law. If you get stopped by law enforcement and are found to be driving uninsured, you will receive a fine, your license plates could be removed, and your registration could be suspended. If you cause an accident while uninsured, your vehicle may be impounded. These are the consequences for a first offense. If you are caught driving without insurance more than once, you could face higher fines and potential jail time. In order to reinstate your driving privileges, you typically must purchase SR-22 insurance and pay a license reinstatement fee.
In 2020, Arkansas passed a new law that allows law enforcement officers to see real-time insurance data when they run a license plate. If the database shows that the driver’s policy has lapsed, they automatically receive a $100 fine. If the driver does not provide updated proof of insurance within a certain timeframe, their registration will be permanently suspended until they purchase coverage and pay the fine.
Other Arkansas car insurance coverage options
Arkansas car insurance laws require every driver to carry at least a minimum coverage insurance policy. However, many drivers choose to carry additional coverage for added financial protection. These may include full coverage components, like collision and comprehensive coverage, but they may also include policy endorsements. Not all carriers offer these endorsement types, but some common ones are:
- Gap insurance: If you lease or finance your car, gap insurance may come in handy. In the event that your car gets totaled, gap insurance helps pay the difference between your car’s diminished value and the outstanding loan balance.
- Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance pays for minor vehicle repairs and services, like towing (up to a certain distance), fuel delivery, battery replacement and flat tire changes.
- Accident forgiveness: With accident forgiveness, your car insurance premium will not increase after your first at-fault accident. Keep in mind that most car insurance companies have limits on the damages that qualify for accident forgiveness and some drivers may not be eligible for the endorsement.
- New car replacement: New car replacement coverage may reimburse you for the cost of a similar year make and model if your existing vehicle gets totaled in a covered loss.
Frequently asked questions
There is no single car insurance company that is best for everyone. The company that gave your neighbor a great rate may not be able to do the same for you. This is why most insurance professionals recommend shopping around and comparing quotes when looking for the best insurance company in Arkansas. In addition to price, you may also want to consider coverage types, discounts and customer satisfaction when choosing the best car insurance company for your needs.
Based on sample rate quotes, the cheapest car insurance companies in Arkansas include USAA, Southern Farm Bureau and Farmers. You may also be able to lower your car insurance premium by taking advantage of discounts, bundling your policies, paying your annual premium in full and improving your credit score. Comparing quotes may also help you find which company has the lowest rates for you.
In Arkansas, the average cost of car insurance is $1,806 per year, or $150 a month, for a full coverage policy and $437 per year, or $36 a month, for a minimum coverage policy. However, keep in mind that car insurance rates are personalized based on factors like your ZIP code, age, credit score and driving record. The cost of car insurance in Arkansas may vary widely by driver.
You will need proof of insurance when you go to register your car in Arkansas. You will need to be able to show that you have at least the state’s minimum 25/50/25 liability coverage. Keep in mind that you have 30 days to register the car once you purchase it, but there is no grace period for insurance. In order to drive legally, you will need to have an active policy.