Driving Without Insurance in Arizona

Arizona is a fault-based car insurance state. After a car accident, the party that caused the collision will be responsible for paying for the related damages, typically through his or her insurance plan. Every driver in Arizona must carry adequate automobile insurance to cover damages in case of at-fault accidents. Driving without insurance in Arizona is against the law and could result in fines and penalties for the driver.

What Is the Required Insurance in Arizona?

At a minimum, drivers in Arizona must carry bodily injury liability and property damage insurance to operate motor vehicles. The lowest amounts of insurance coverage a driver can maintain in these categories under Arizona law is $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident and $10,000 in property damage liability. As long as a driver carries at least these amounts and types of coverage, he or she will fulfill the Arizona’s car insurance requirements. Additional types of insurance are also available, but not mandatory under state law.

For example, a driver in Arizona can protect him or herself with collision or comprehensive coverage. Without this additional insurance, an at-fault driver in a car crash may not receive coverage for his or her medical bills or property damages. The driver’s insurance plan would only cover damages for the other party’s expenses with the state’s minimum amounts of insurance. If a driver does not want to pay for auto insurance, self-insurance could be an option. Self-insurance requires the purchase of a bond of at least $40,000. All drivers must carry proof of insurance. Drivers without insurance cannot register or lawfully drive their vehicles in Arizona.

What are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Arizona?

Operating a motor vehicle without proper insurance coverage is illegal in Arizona. The police have the right to ask for proof of insurance during routine traffic stops. If the police discover the lack of insurance during a traffic stop, the driver could face serious penalties. First, the driver may receive a traffic citation for the failure to show proof of insurance during the stop. If the driver can prove the existence of proper coverage on or before the driver’s appointed court date, the courts may dismiss the ticket.

If the driver does not have insurance, the courts may suspend his or her driver’s license for up to one year. The Department of Motor Vehicles will also suspend the license plate and vehicle registration. At the end of the year’s suspension, the driver will have to pay between $500 and $1,000 in fines plus a $35 driver’s license reinstatement fee. The amount of the fine will depend on how many prior insurance offenses the driver has committed.

  • A first offense will come with a 3-month driver’s license suspension and a $500 fine.
  • The penalties for a second offense are $750 in fines and 6 months of driver’s license suspension.
  • The penalties for third or subsequent insurance offenses are $1,000 in fines and one year of license and plate suspension.

In addition to the penalties for driving without insurance, a driver that receives this type of traffic ticket will need to show proof of insurance using an SR-22 certificate for two years. SR-22 insurance can be expensive for the driver. Without this type of insurance, the driver may be unable to reinstate his or her driving privileges.

Driving Without Insurance in an Accident

If an uninsured driver causes a car accident, liability can be difficult to assign. In most cases, the driver not at fault for the collision will seek benefits from his or her insurance provider rather than the at-fault driver’s insurer. If the not-at-fault driver does not have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, however, his or her insurance company may not pay for damages. In these cases, the victim’s other option for compensation could be filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit against the uninsured driver. If the victim succeeds, the at-fault driver may have to pay out of pocket for expenses.