Last year, the number of vehicle collisions in Arizona rose 8.6 percent to an astounding 126,845. The economic impact associated with these accidents is stunning.
Similar to many other states, Arizona requires that all drivers show financial responsibility for damages that may be incurred in an accident. This means that drivers must show they can pay for property and harm to others in the case of a crash.
Regretfully, an estimated 12 percent of Arizona motorists are uninsured and driving in violation of the state’s laws.
Drivers must show proof of insurance when:
- Registering a car in Arizona
- When stopped by a police officer
- When there is a car accident
Timing of Auto Insurance
As soon as you become a resident of Arizona, you must obtain at least the minimum amount of auto insurance. State residency is established by any one of the following:
- Working in Arizona
- Registering to vote in Arizona
- Being in Arizona for at least seven months in a calendar year
- Paying in-state tuition for yourself or your children
- Owning an Arizona-based business with in-state vehicles
- Owning a business that transports people or materials within Arizona
How to Show Proof
The proof of financial responsibility can take one of two forms:
- Proof of liability insurance. Liability insurance helps pay for injuries and property damage sustained by other drivers in an accident for which you are found at fault. The required amounts of liability coverage in Arizona are:
- Bodily injury coverage: $15,000 per person and $30,000 total per accident.
- Property damage coverage: $10,000 per accident.
- Self-Funded Insurance. This requires a certificate of deposit of $40,000 assigned to the Office of the Arizona State Treasurer.
If you are caught driving without proof that you can be financially responsible for an accident, you could face the following for your first offense:
- A minimum $250 fine.
- License/registration suspension for 3 months.
Subsequent violations will result in higher and more serious penalties. Plus, if you drive without car insurance in Arizona, your driver’s license and vehicle registration can be revoked.
You Have Options
There are certainly additional types of available insurance coverage to provide greater protection. Drivers can work with their insurance agent to purchase more extensive auto insurance coverage by adding optional coverage.
Six common optional car insurance coverage types include:
- Collision coverage: Pays for damage to your own vehicle that you caused in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage: Covers damages to your vehicle that were caused by external factors and not caused by a collision. This includes things like theft, vandalism, weather, and objects falling onto your vehicle. Arizona ranks 8th in the nation for overall vehicle thefts, The top five most stolen cars in the state are:
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 1997 Honda Accord
- 2001 Chevy Truck (Full Size)
- 2006 Ford Truck (Full Size)
- 2001 Dodge Truck (Full Size)
- Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage: Pays for damage or injury caused by drivers without auto insurance or whose insurance limits do not cover your costs. Unfortunately, some drivers ignore the law and drive without insurance. Others carry only the minimum required, and that may not be enough to pay for damage to a vehicle or to cover the costs of injuries to you or your passengers. This type of policy can help.
- Medical payments coverage: Provides additional coverage to pay medical expenses. It can help pay for the health or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault.
- Rental reimbursement coverage: Reimburses you if you need to rent a car after an accident that you may have been responsible for causing.
- Full glass coverage: Pays for repairs and replacements to your windshield and other glass. A cracked windshield may impact your safety behind the wheel, and state law protects your rights in these circumstances. Arizona State Law 20-469 dictates that you can select any auto repair service for the loss or repair of the glass of your motor vehicle.
It is important to note that in Arizona, there are certain situations that actually require additional coverage. For example, if you are financing or leasing your car, you may be required to buy collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.
A qualified agent can review your specific needs and guide you towards the best insurance coverage options for your particular situation.
When You Need an Attorney
Motor vehicle accidents are some of the most common sources of personal injury claims in Arizona. Since the State of Arizona requires every vehicle to be covered by a minimum level of liability insurance, if there is an accident, then multiple insurance providers may get involved in the case.
Even though your insurance company is supposed to represent you, they may not have your best interests at heart. These corporations want to pay out as little money as they can. It is essential that you have a knowledgeable legal advocate working for you to make sure you are protected and are awarded the maximum amount.
At West, Longenbaugh, and Zickerman, our highly skilled automobile accident attorneys are here to help individuals and families throughout Arizona.
The insurance company may be pressuring you to settle your case instead of making sure you are fully compensated. The legal process can be difficult to navigate, and we will be there right with you every step of the way.