The minimum coverage required in sweet home Alabama
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Whether you’re driving through Alabama’s rolling hills or the busy streets of Huntsville, car insurance in the form of liability coverage is a requirement for all drivers. The good news is that Alabama’s car insurance costs are 12 percent lower than the national average, so you won’t have to spend a ton on bodily injury and property damage coverage.
So if you’re one of the 4 million licensed drivers in the state, strap in to learn more about car insurance and driving in sweet home Alabama.
Alabama requires only liability coverage, which breaks down into bodily injury and property damage coverage. Here are the minimum liability limits required:
Liability coverage only covers the injuries and damages of the other party in accidents you cause, which means that Alabama’s minimum coverage isn’t enough. Unlike full coverage, it does not cover any of your injuries or damages in accidents you cause or incidents like hail; that would require medical payments coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
We recommend full coverage vs. liability, with limits as high as you can afford. Learn more about how much car insurance you need.
Because Alabama’s car insurance requirements are so minimal, car insurance in Alabama costs 15 percent less than the national average as of 2019. Alabama drivers spent an average rate of $918 annually on car insurance, which breaks down into $517 for liability insurance, $377 for collision insurance, and $186 for comprehensive coverage.2
That being said, you could pay more or less than the average cost of insurance; we’ve seen rates range from $322 all the way up to $7,768.48 for teen drivers.
When you’re shopping for car insurance in Alabama, you can choose from the following providers:
Even though Alabama already has affordable car insurance, there are a few ways to lower your costs even more.
If you have car insurance but no proof of it, can you still get in trouble for driving without insurance? The answer is yes; you must have proof of insurance when you drive in Alabama, be it digital or physical. If you are caught driving without insurance, you could face financial and legal consequences.
|Penalties for driving without insurance||First offense||Subsequent offenses|
|Maximum length of imprisonment (in months)||3||6|
|Registration suspension||Yes, but no time period specified||Yes, for 4 months|
|License suspension||None||6 months|
|Registration reinstatement fee||$200||$400|
|SR-22 requirement following registration reinstatement (in years)||1||3|
Once you’ve purchased minimum coverage or more, it’s time to learn about the ins and outs of driving in Alabama.
Alabama is an at-fault state, which means that the at-fault driver is responsible for the other driver’s bodily injuries and property damage losses. That’s why the state requires liability coverage.
The victim can sue the perpetrator, but they won’t receive compensation if they acted negligently in any way, according to Alabama’s contributory negligence laws. So even if an accident was 96 percent not your fault, that 4 percent of negligence will prevent you from recovering any money in a civil suit.
Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t a requirement in Alabama, and insurance companies don’t have to offer it. We recommend it, though, as 1 in 5 Alabama drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council. This is 36 percent higher than the national average.3
If you have multiple cars with uninsured motorist coverage, you can stack your coverage, meaning you multiply your limits with your number of cars. You’ll appreciate it the next time you’re involved in a hit-and-run!
A DUI will stay on your record for five years in Alabama. For the first offense, the state will suspend your license for 90 days, but you can apply for a hardship license if you need to drive to or from work.
The penalties are worse if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.15 percent or above, and the state could require DUI interlocks.
|Offense number||First offense||Second offense||Third offense||Fourth and subsequent offenses|
|How long you’ll need to have an interlock in your car after DUI conviction||6 months if your BAC was under 0.15%; 1 year if it was over 0.15%||1 year||3 years||5 years4|
In Alabama, interlocks are only mandatory if you have a BAC of at least 0.15 percent or a repeat conviction, but they’re highly incentivized for first convictions as well.
Everyone 15 years old and above needs to buckle up in Alabama, no matter what seat they’re in. However, this law is under primary enforcement only for those in the front seat. In the back seat, the law is under secondary enforcement, so police can’t stop you for having unbuckled passengers in the back seat if you are committing no other traffic violations.
The state of Alabama bans only 16- and 17-year-old drivers from using handheld devices while driving, and only in the first six months of their intermediate licenses. However, no driver can text and drive in Alabama, and the penalties are as follows.
Those with a graduated driver’s license (learner’s permit, restricted license, or unrestricted license) cannot:
You have two years to file both property damage and personal injury claims. If you wait more than two years after the incident, the statute of limitations will have run out and you won’t get coverage.
In Alabama, insurance companies must notify you 20 days before they cancel your policy, or 10 days if it’s due to nonpayment. If an auto insurance company chooses to not renew your policy at the end of its term, it has 120 days to notify you before the expiration date so you have enough time to switch insurance companies and avoid a lapse in coverage.
A 30- to 60-day lapse in insurance will classify you as a high-risk driver and increase your car insurance rates7. This applies equally whether you have a clean driving record or a bad driving history (such as a speeding ticket or DUI).
Technically, if you have more than 25 vehicles, you can self-insure by depositing collateral. However, the director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety will determine the amount of collateral needed for approval.8
When you register a vehicle for the first time, you’ll need to get a license plate-issuing official to inspect it (except for vehicles from manufacturers or dealers with model years 1975 and after). The issuer will fill out a form (https://revenue.alabama.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/MVT-5-9-8-20.qxp_-1.pdf) and send it to the DMV.
The state only requires safety testing, not emissions testing. Your city could require emissions testing, however, so check local ordinances.
If you’ve been found guilty of providing false proof of insurance and had a registration suspension, you’ll need to carry an SR-22, a form that proves you have the minimum coverage, for three years following your registration reinstatement.
One way to save money on car insurance is to take a defensive driving course. You can find a course on your city’s website. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t provide a list of courses, the length of the courses, or their costs.
In Alabama, there’s no monetary or serious injury threshold for a civil suit following a car accident. In other words, no matter how much money you lost or how serious your injuries were, you can sue the perpetrator in a civil case.
If you get into a car accident that results in any injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 caused by an uninsured motorist, you have 30 days after the accident to alert law enforcement. If you miss this deadline, you might get one of two convictions.
Some states prevent car insurance companies from using credit scores and sex to determine rates, but Alabama is not one of those states. While people with good credit and women benefit from this with lower rates, people with poor credit and men do not fare as well.
Alabama’s total loss threshold is 75 percent, meaning that if a car’s repairs cost 75 percent or more than its actual cash value (ACV), it will be declared a total loss. Instead of making the repairs, your insurer will reimburse you for the car’s ACV, as long as it covered your claim.
Here is everything you need to know about registering a car or requesting a duplicate title in Alabama.
Follow these steps to register a new vehicle in Alabama:
|Primary tag type||Secondary tag type||Description||Annual license fee||Additional annual fee|
|AX||N/A||Alabama Audubon – Passenger||$23-$890||$50|
|AX||02||Alabama Audubon – Personalized||$23-$890||$50|
|AX||MC||Alabama Audubon – Motorcycle||$15||$50|
|AX||M2||Alabama Audubon – Motorcycle Personalized||$15||$50|
|Autauga||334-361-3725||176 W. 5th St.
Prattville, AL 36067
|Baldwin||251-937-0260||220 Courthouse Square
Bay Minette, AL 36507
|Barbour County – City of Clayton||334-775-8371||Courthouse Square, Room 201
Clayton, AL 36016
|Barbour County – City of Eufaula||334-687-1530||303 E. Broad St., Room 101
Eufaula, AL 36027
|Bibb||205-926-3104||8 Court Square W., Suite A
Centreville, AL 35042
|Blount||205-625-4114||220 2nd Ave. E., Room 104
Oneonta, AL 35121
|Bullock||334-738-2250||217 N. Prairie St.
Union Springs, AL 36089
|Butler||334-382-3512||700 Court Square
Greenville, AL 36037
|Calhoun||256-241-2900||1702 Noble St., Suite 107
Anniston, AL 36201
|Chambers||334-864-4380||2 Lafayette St.
Lafayette, AL 36862
|Cherokee||256-927-3363||260 Cedar Bluff Road, Suite 10
Centre, AL 35960
|Chilton||205-755-1258||407 2nd Ave. N.
Clanton, AL 35045
|Choctaw (Butler)||205-459-2412||117 S. Mulberry, Suite 13
Butler, AL 36904
|Clarke||251-275-4141||117 N. Court St.
Grove Hill, AL 36451
|Clay||256-354-2198||Courthouse Square, 1st Floor
Ashland, AL 36251
|Cleburne||256-463-5655||120 Vickery St., Room 101
Heflin, AL 36264
|Coffee – Elba||334-897-2211||230-P N. Court Ave.
Elba, AL 36323
|Colbert||256-386-8542||201 N. Main St.
Tuscumbia, AL 35764
|Conecuh||251-578-7023||111 Court Square, Room 101
Evergreen, AL 36401
|Coosa||256-377-4919||100 Main St.
Rockford, AL 35136
|Covington||334-428-2510||1 N. Courthouse Square
Andalusia, AL 36420
|Crenshaw||334-335-6568||29 S. Glenwood Ave., Courthouse
Luverne, AL 36049
|Cullman||256-775-4902||500 2nd Ave. SW, Room 103
Cullman, AL 35055
|Dale||334-774-8427||Dale County Courthouse
100 Court Square
Ozark, AL 36360
|Dallas||334-874-2518||105 Lauderdale St.
Selma, AL 36071
|DeKalb||256-845-8515||206 Grand Ave. SW
Fort Payne, AL 35967-1918
|Elmore||334-567-1140||100 E. Commerce St.
Wetumpka, AL 36092
|Escambia||251-368-8086||8600 Highway 31, Box 10
Atmore, AL 36502
|Etowah||256-549-5325||800 Forrest Ave., Ground Floor, Room 21
Gadsden, AL 35901
|Fayette||205-932-4566||113 N. Temple Ave.
Fayette, AL 35555
|Franklin||256-356-9805||511 1st St. SE
Red Bay, AL 35582
|Geneva||334-684-5640||200 N. Commerce St.
Geneva, AL 36340
|Greene (Eutaw)||205-372-3340||400 Morrow Ave.
Eutaw, AL 35462
|Hale||334-624-8740||1001 Main St.
Greensboro, AL 36744
|Henry||334-585-3257||101 W. Court Square, Suite A
Abbeville, AL 36310
|Houston||334-677-4734||462 N. Oates St., Admin Bldg
Dothan, AL 36303
|Jackson||256-574-9260||P.O. Box 307
Scottsboro, AL 35768-0307
|Jefferson||205-325-5171||716 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N
County Courthouse, Suite A-100
Birmingham, AL 35203
|Jefferson – City of Clay
(residents of Clay only)
|205-680-1223||2441 Old Springville Road
Birmingham, AL 35215
|Jefferson – City of Irondale
(residents of Irondale only)
|205-956-9200||101 20th St. S.
Irondale, AL 35210
|Jefferson – City of Trussville
(residents of Trussville only)
|205-655-7478||131 Main St.
Trussville, AL 35173
|Jefferson – City of Vestavia Hills (residents of Vestavia Hills only)||205-978-0188||1032 Montgomery Highway
Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
|Lamar||205-695-9119||44690 Highway 17, Courthouse
Vernon, AL 35592
|Lauderdale||256-760-5833||102 S. Court St.
Florence, AL 35631
|Lawrence||256-974-2427||14451 Market St.
Moulton, AL 35650
|Lee||334-737-3655||215 S. 9th St.
Opelika, AL 36801
|Limestone||256-233-6430||100 S. Clinton St., Suite B
Athens, AL 35611
|Lowndes||334-548-2271||1 Washington St.
Hayneville, AL 36040
|Macon||334-724-2611||210 N. Elm St.
Tuskegee, AL 36083
|Madison||256-532-3315||1918 N. Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
|Marengo||334-295-2209||101 E. Coats Ave.
Linden, AL 36748
|Marion||205-921-2471||132 Military St./Court Square
Hamilton, AL 35570
|Marshall||256-571-7725||425 Gunter Ave., Suite 110
Guntersville, AL 35976
|Mobile||251-574-8551||3925 Michael Blvd., Suite F
Mobile, AL 36609
|Monroe||251-743-4107||65 N. Alabama Ave.
Monroeville, AL 36460
|Montgomery||334-832-1233||101 S. Lawrence St.
Montgomery, AL 36104
|Morgan||256-351-4770||302 Lee St. NE
Decatur, AL 35601
|Perry (Marion)||334-683-2219||300 Washington St.
Marion, AL 36756
|Pickens||205-367-2010||50 Courthouse Square, Room 106
Carrollton, AL 35447
|Pike||334-566-1246||120 Church St.
Troy, AL 36081
|Randolph||256-357-4343||1 Main St., Courthouse
Wedowee, AL 36278
|Russell||334-298-1520||1000 Broad St.
Phenix City, AL 36867
|Shelby||205-670-6836||104 Depot St.
Columbiana, AL 35051
|St. Clair||205-594-2120||165 5th Ave.
Ashville, AL 35953
|Sumter||205-652-7286||Courthouse Square, 115 Franklin St.
Livingston, AL 35470
|Talladega||256-362-1460||1 Courthouse Square/Highway 21
Talladega, AL 35160
|Tallapoosa – Dadeville||256-825-4266||125 N. Broadnax St., Room 126
Dadeville, AL 36853
|Tuscaloosa||205-464-8233||2501 7th St., Suite 100
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
|Walker||205-384-7284||1900 3rd Ave.
Jasper, AL 35502
|Washington||251-847-2201||45 Court St.
Chatom, AL 36518
|Wilcox||334-682-4883||100 Broad St.
Camden, AL 36726
|Winston||205-489-5219||25125 Highway 195, Room 1
Double Springs, AL 35553
There are a few ways to contact Alabama’s DMV.
Lost your car title? You can get it without leaving your chair if you want:
Whether you want to dispute a claim decision or get your state’s filings, contact the Alabama Department of Insurance.
Despite relatively low car insurance costs, car repairs in Alabama cost 4 percent more than the national average at $398.01. On average, Alabama drivers pay $156.82 for labor and $241.19 for parts, according to a 2020 report from CarMD.9
The prevalence of auto theft and traffic fatalities are two factors that affect the cost of insurance in Alabama. But how common are they?
Auto theft, be it of an entire car or its parts, is a pervasive problem in the U.S., but it’s less of a problem in Alabama. The annual rate of car thefts in Alabama is 222 per 100,000 inhabitants, 11 percent less than the rest of the country, according to FBI data. Rates are higher in cities like Mobile, Montgomery, and Columbus.
|Metropolitan statistical area||Motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL||225|
The state doesn’t fare as well here, with 930 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven. That’s 24 percent higher than the national average.
Your best bet to get the cheapest car insurance in Alabama is to maintain a good driving record by driving defensively, avoiding distracted driving, and following the state’s traffic laws. We hope we’ve provided the information you were looking for, but if not, keep reading to see our FAQs.
Learn even more about car insurance in Alabama.
These are the minimum car insurance limits that are required in Alabama:
Car insurance is not expensive in Alabama. Its average annual rate is $918, according to the most recent data 2020 from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which is 12 percent less than the national average.
Car insurance is cheaper in Alabama than in Georgia. Georgia’s average annual cost is $1,255 — 37 percent higher than Alabama’s annual average of $918, according to 2020 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
GEICO is one of the cheapest car insurance companies in Alabama. However, it may not be the cheapest for you, depending on your ZIP code, driving record, age, credit score, and other factors. Some of the other cheapest car insurance companies in Alabama are State Farm, USAA, Travelers, and Progressive. To find the cheapest insurance, compare quotes from multiple providers.
AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE FAQS. Alabama Department of Insurance. (2022).
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2023, Jan).
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. IRC. (2021, Mar 22).
State Ignition Interlock Laws. NCSL. (2022).
Buckle Up Alabama! ALEA.
Teen Driving. Alabama Public Health. (2021, May 13).
What Happens If Your Car Insurance Lapses? The General Insurance. (2021).
Mandatory Liability Insurance Manual. Alabama Department of Revenue.
State Repair Cost Rankings. CarMD. (2020).
NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. NICB. (2022).