Is it Illegal to Not Have Car Insurance in Arizona?

Posted On January 9, 2023 Arizona Laws

Every motor vehicle driver in Arizona is legally required to carry car insurance. Driving without insurance is a moving violation. While you will not face criminal charges for this offense in Arizona, you could be fined up to $1,000 and be required to pay for more expensive insurance in the future, known as SR-22 certificate insurance.

What Are Arizona’s Insurance Requirements?

All 50 states require motor vehicle drivers to carry proof of financial responsibility, typically in the form of automobile insurance. Car insurance guarantees that a driver can afford to pay for the damage inflicted in a car accident, including a victim’s bodily injuries and property damage. The required amounts of insurance differ from state to state. The mandatory types of insurance in Arizona are:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per accident (for two or more people)
  • $15,000 in property damage liability insurance

Other types of insurance are also available, although they are not mandatory, such as collision and comprehensive insurance. All drivers are required to purchase the minimum amounts of insurance within 30 days of initially registering a vehicle. It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle without adequate automobile insurance in Arizona.

Proof of Insurance Requirement

Showing proof of insurance is also a requirement for drivers in Arizona. If a driver cannot show proof of insurance during a traffic stop, such as an insurance card or digital copy, he or she could receive a ticket. If the driver can bring proof of insurance to the courts later, he or she may be able to get the citation dismissed. There could be other fines or penalties that must be paid, however. For more information, read here.

What Are the Penalties for Not Having Car Insurance in Arizona?

The penalties for driving without insurance are a $500 fine, driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension for three months, and a possible SR-22 insurance certificate for three years for a first offense. These penalties are increased to a $750 fine for a second offense and a $1,000 fine for a third or subsequent offense, as well as driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension for up to one year.

Driver’s license suspension takes away an individual’s driving privileges for a period of time. Driving on a suspended license can come with additional penalties, such as enhanced fines and vehicle impoundment. A suspended vehicle registration means that the driver cannot operate the vehicle until the suspension ends. Finally, SR-22 is a more expensive type of car insurance that a driver may be required to purchase for a few years after being caught driving without insurance.

Driving without insurance is not a criminal offense in Arizona. A driver will not get arrested for being unable to show proof of insurance, for instance. It is not an offense that will come with criminal consequences, such as jail time or a permanent criminal record. Instead, it is a moving violation that comes with administrative penalties only. However, the best way to keep yourself out of trouble is by making sure you are always covered by car insurance as a driver in Arizona.

How to Respond to a Ticket for Driving Without Insurance

If you get issued a citation for driving without insurance in Arizona, the state may reduce or waive your penalties in certain situations. If you can provide proof that you have not been convicted of driving without insurance in the past three years, for example, the penalties may be waived. Proof that you have purchased car insurance that meets Arizona’s legal requirements could also lead to a reduced penalty.

If your license or registration has been suspended, you will need to pay a fee to get it back. If you need to drive for your occupation, religion or education, you can file a request for a restricted license during your suspension period. You can clear a license or registration suspension by showing proof of insurance and paying the reinstatement fee. For further assistance with this type of offense in Arizona, consult with a criminal defense lawyer.