Published: April 8, 2022Updated: August 16, 2022

Guide to Car Insurance in Alaska

Minimum coverage in Alaska is more than $200 cheaper than the national average.

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Alaska is home to some of the most lenient auto insurance requirements and laws in the country. With only 529,281 licensed drivers, Alaska is also among the country’s cheaper states in terms of auto insurance costs. With premiums below $1,000 annually on average (2019), Alaska falls just under the national average for auto insurance premiums in the U.S.

This article will cover everything you need to know about auto insurance in Alaska, including liability requirements, major state providers, and important state laws to be aware of.

Minimum Coverage in Alaska

The minimum coverage in Alaska includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Because Alaska requires only liability and not full coverage, you can get cheaper auto insurance rates with fewer requirements from insurance providers.

Coverage Bodily injury per person Bodily injury per accident Property damage per accident
Minimum limit in Alaska $50,000 $100,000 $25,000
National average $25,000 $50,000 $18,000
Percentage higher than the national average 0.5 0.5 0.39

It’s also important to note that not all regions in Alaska require auto insurance; in areas where vehicle registration is not required, auto insurance is also not required.1 Some of the regions where you don’t have to register your vehicle in Alaska include Adak, Golovin, and Railroad City. You can view a comprehensive list at https://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/reg/exempt.htm.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Aside from minimum liability coverage, which coverages do you need, and which limits should you choose?

As we pointed out above, Alaska has one of the least stringent auto insurance requirements in the country. Here are the various types of coverage and what they’ll cover:

  • Bodily injury: Bodily injury liability covers injury-related lawsuits and the cost of injuries that you and those listed on your policy cause to someone else.
  • Medical payments: Medical payments coverage will cover your medical costs and those of any passengers who are injured in a crash. Unlike personal injury protection, medical payments will not cover other losses, such as lost work wages or childcare costs.
  • Property damage: Property damage liability covers losses when you or someone who has permission to drive your car causes damage to someone else’s car or property.
  • Collision: Collision coverage protects you from losses due to collisions with other cars, objects, potholes, or animals. Collision coverage will also protect you in the event that you flip your car on the road.
  • Comprehensive: With comprehensive coverage, your insurer will reimburse losses due to theft and damages that aren’t collision related. This includes natural disasters, vandalism, and riots.
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist: Finally, underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage protects you or someone driving your car if an underinsured or uninsured driver hits you on the road.

We recommend these liability coverage limits if you’re in Alaska:

Type of coverage Recommended limit minimum
Bodily injury $500,000
Property damage $500,000
Personal injury protection Equal to bodily injury liability
Uninsured motorist Equal to bodily injury liability
Comprehensive Actual market value of car
Collision Actual market value of car

If you can’t afford the cost of these coverages, we recommend taking on as much insurance as you can afford. Spending a little bit more on premiums will give you more coverage in the future if you have a claim.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in Alaska

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Alaska’s average annual auto insurance premium is $991.09, which is 8 percent less than the national average.2

While average car insurance rates give you some sense of how much you might be paying for auto insurance, they will not always apply to your specific conditions. Factors like driving history, age, and credit score always play a role, and premiums can range from $359 per year for minimum coverage to over $7,000 for young drivers in Alaska.

Your rates will be lower if you have a clean driving record, or higher if you have a speeding ticket in your recent history. For the lowest rates, compare coverage options from every car insurance company in your area. Learn more about the factors that affect insurance costs.

Providers in Alaska

These are some of the top insurance providers to look out for if you’re seeking auto insurance in Alaska:

  • Allstate
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • Umialik
  • USAA

How to Lower Premiums in Alaska

Let’s look at four strategies to help you get lower rates on your premiums:

  • Take advantage of discounts. Most major insurance providers will offer discounts. Simply ask your insurance agent if you qualify for any of them.
  • Use bundles. Bundling different types of coverage with your auto insurance provider — life insurance, renters insurance, etc. — will often lower your overall premium.
  • Increase your deductible. Increasing your deductible will reduce your premium. However, make sure that you can afford to pay your deductible before raising it. Understanding how your deductible works will enable you to make an informed decision.
  • Lower your limits. Decreasing your limits is another way to lower your premium, but it entails more risk, obviously. If you get into a collision where the injuries or damages exceed your limit, you’ll be responsible for all costs beyond the limit.

Proof of Car Insurance in Alaska

Outside of a few remote regions where vehicle registration is not required, proof of insurance is a requirement to drive in Alaska. If you are pulled over without proof of insurance, you could face penalties.

  • First offense: 90-day license suspension
  • Second offense: One-year license suspension

You must show proof of insurance upon the request of any law enforcement official, either in paper form or through an electronic medium.

Alaska State Laws

Below we’ll look at some of the nuts and bolts of Alaska’s auto insurance driving laws.

At-Fault State

Alaska is an at-fault state, which means that parties who are at fault in an accident pay for both property damage and bodily injury. Some important things to note about the at-fault policy in Alaska:

  • Drivers share fault in Alaska, which means that one driver may pay 30 percent while the other pays 70 percent, based on their degrees of fault.
  • The police and insurance providers will assess fault with the evidence available to them.
  • The DMV can suspend your license until you pay the full damages you owe.

Alaska is a pure comparative state, which means that accident victims can recover some amount of money for injuries they incur, regardless of how negligent they were. This remains true even if their degree of fault is higher than the defendant’s degree of fault.

In Alaska, negligence is one aspect of fault, along with reckless or intentional misconduct, breach of warranty, misuse of a product, unreasonable failure to avoid injury, and failure to mitigate damages.3

Uninsured Motorists Coverage

While auto insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage in Alaska, you are not required to have it.

It’s also important to note that Alaska is one of the few states that allows you to stack coverage, which means that you can combine coverage liability limits if you own multiple vehicles.

DUI Laws

A DUI in Alaska will stay on your record for 10 years, which is on the longer end compared to the national average. A first offense results in a 90-day suspension, and drivers will have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for one year.

Seat Belt Laws

Seat belt laws are primary in Alaska, which means that police officers can pull you over for the sole reason of not wearing a seat belt with no other violations required.

Distracted Driving Laws

There is no statewide ban on using a cell phone while driving in Alaska, except in the case of texting. Texting while driving is banned in the state, and if you’re pulled over for texting and driving, you could face a fine of up to $250 for the first offense and up to $500 for any subsequent offenses.

Teen Driver Laws

Below are some of the most notable laws for drivers under the age of 18 in Alaska.

Law Hardship license Learner’s license Provisional license Unrestricted license
Qualifications to receive a license Can be issued for the last 60 days of revocation only Parental consent form required; knowledge and vision test required; $15 fee Must already have had a learner’s license for at least 6 months Provisional license for 6 months required if under 18; $15 fee
Minimum age 14 14-15 16-17 16-18
Must drive with someone at least 21 years old at all times No Yes No, except between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. No
Must wear seat belts Yes Yes Yes Yes
No serious violations or traffic tickets within the first 6 months of licensure (otherwise, your unrestricted license could be delayed) Yes Yes Yes No
No serious accidents or traffic violations for at least 12 months before application No No No Yes
Can use a cell phone while driving, but cannot text and drive Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cannot carry passengers under the age of 18, except for siblings No Yes Yes No
No driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by someone 21 or older (with the exception of teen drivers commuting to and from work) Yes No Yes No
Licensure fees in Alaska $100 $15 Standard: $20
Real ID: $40
Standard: $20
Real ID: $40

These are the immediate penalties for minors charged with DUIs (any blood alcohol concentration above 0 percent) in Alaska:

  • License suspension
  • Minimum 72 hours in jail
  • Maximum fine of $1,500

Statute of Limitations for Claims

In Alaska, you have two years following an incident to file both property damage and personal injury claims. If you don’t file for your claims within two years, you won’t be able to exercise your right to sue or make claims for your losses.

Cancellation/Non-Renewal Notification Laws

Cancellation is when your insurance company cancels your insurance policy during the term of an existing policy. Non-renewal notifications occur when your insurance provider refuses to renew your coverage at the end of a coverage period.

If your insurance provider decides to cancel your policy or opt out of renewing your policy, it is required to let you know within an allotted period of time.

Cancellations vs. non-renewal notification law in Alaska Cancellations due to fraud, misrepresentation, driver’s license suspension, or driver’s license revocation Cancellations due to nonpayment Non-renewals
How long before your policy expires your insurer must notify you (in days) 30 20 20

Your auto insurance company cannot cancel policies that have been in force for over 60 days, except when you don’t pay your premium, you have committed fraud or misrepresentation on your application, or if your driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.

Non-renewals can occur when either you or your company decides not to renew your policy once it expires. Your insurance company must give you notice and a valid reason before it drops your policy.

Self-Insurance

In Alaska, you can self-insure through bonds if you own more than 25 vehicles and have $125,000 in collateral.

Car Inspection Requirements

There are no vehicle inspection requirements in Alaska, such as emissions tests, vehicle identification number inspections, and safety inspections.

SR-22s

If you’re a driver with an insurance violation conviction, a revoked license, or a serious traffic violation (such as a DUI or hit-and-run), you may have to file an SR-22. An SR-22 is a form that you file with the state to prove that your auto insurance policy meets the minimum liability coverage required. Alaska requires an SR-22 in the following situations:

  • Your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked for three years after the revocation ends.
  • You’ve received a DWI or refusal conviction for five years from the ending date on a first offense, 10 years from the ending date on a second offense, or 20 years from the ending date of a third offense.
  • You’ve had a fourth offense for a refusal or DWI conviction.
  • You have an unsatisfied judgment.

Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is learning to drive in a manner that utilizes safe driving strategies in order to avoid hazards on the road. You may have to enroll in a defensive driving course if you commit a violation, want to remove points from your record, dismiss a recent traffic violation, or simply become a better driver.

Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds

While there are no minimum monetary/injury thresholds in order to file a civil suit against someone in Alaska, there are caps on how much you can sue another driver for injuries or property damages you incur.

If you are a victim of an accident and are not at fault, you can sue the other driver for up to $400,000, or $8,000 for each expected remaining year of your life, whichever amount is greater. Insurance providers and Alaska courts are responsible for calculating life expectancy, and they take into account factors such as your gender and health.

In the event that you are disfigured or severely physically impaired, that cap goes up to $1 million.

Accident Reporting Requirements

If you get into a car accident that leads to death, injury, or property damage worth over $2,000, you must report it to the police within 10 days. If you don’t report the accident within 10 days, you will have your license suspended for no more than 30 days, pay a fine of no more than $200, and/or serve jail time for no more than 90 days.

Price Discrimination Based on Gender and Credit Score

In all but a few states (Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, and California), your credit score will affect your insurance rates, which is bad news for those with poor credit in Alaska. Alaska is one of approximately 40 states that have some form of gender discrimination. Women, on average, pay less for car insurance in Alaska than men.

Total Loss Threshold

Your vehicle will be considered a total loss when the cost of repairs exceeds its actual market value (AMV). While some states have a lower threshold for total loss (for example, your vehicle may be declared a total loss if repairs equate to 75 percent of its AMV), Alaska requires the repair costs to equal or exceed the AMV.

Contact Information

Below we’ll look at all the various contact information you might need as a driver in Alaska.

DMV Contact Information

The quickest and easiest way to register a vehicle or renew its registration is through Alaska’s online platform, but you can also visit the DMV in person or mail the required forms and payments.

If you want to renew your registration, you will need to do the following:

  1. Provide a copy of your last registration.
  2. Fill out a Vehicle Transaction Application (Form 812) — https://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/forms/pdfs/812.pdf.
  3. Provide a personalized check or money order (the price will vary based on your car).
  4. Include a self-addressed envelope so the DMV can mail your registration and tab.
  5. Find the location, office hours, address, and additional information for your local DMV at http://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/office/index.htm, or use the following information.
    • DMV Main Address:
      • State of Alaska
        Division of Motor Vehicles
        3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 101
        Anchorage, AK 99503
    • Phone: 907-269-551
    • Email: Doa.Dmv.Webmaster@alaska.gov

How to Get a Copy of Your Car Title in Alaska

Follow these steps if you need to get a copy of your car’s title in Alaska:

  1. Print out the required form at http://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/forms/pdfs/809.pdf.
  2. Provide a lien release from any lienholder of record.
  3. Send a $15 payment by mail.
  4. Use the same contact information and address stated above in the DMV section to send your form, pay your fee, and reach out for questions.

How to Contact Alaska’s Insurance Department

There are three ways to contact the Alaska Division of Insurance.

  • Mailing address:
    • 550 W. Seventh Ave., Suite 1560
      Anchorage, AK 99501-3567
  • Phone: 907-269-7900
  • Website: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/ins/

Cost of Car Repairs

The average cost of repairs in Alaska is right in line with the national average. Average repair costs, including the cost of labor, are $382.76. The average cost of labor is $155.66, which can be useful to know when comparing costs between mechanics.

Crime and Fatalities

There are approximately 260 instances of motor vehicle theft for every 100,000 inhabitants, which puts Alaska at 9 percent above the national average.

Because so many of Alaska’s residents are concentrated in a few cities, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the two cities with the highest rates of motor theft are Fairbanks (381 instances of theft per 100,000 inhabitants) and Anchorage (365 instances of theft per 100,000 inhabitants).

Alaska has some of the lowest fatality rates in the country, and the only states/districts with lower fatality rates are Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. That number is 67 fatalities per 100 million vehicles traveled in 2019 (nearly 1,000 percent lower than the national average).

Conclusion

If you find yourself basking in the fresh air of Alaska and still want to learn more about the state’s auto insurance policies and laws, check out our auto insurance frequently asked questions.

FAQs

While it’s always best to work with agents when comparing car insurance policies and costs, State Farm offers the cheapest rates on average, GEICO offers the best rates for good drivers in Alaska, and USAA offers the most competitive plans for military members, veterans, and their families.

Individuals who need non-owner auto insurance in Alaska include those who don’t own cars and rent cars regularly, borrow cars regularly, or want to avoid lapses in coverage.

Allstate is the best option in Alaska for homeowners looking to bundle their car insurance with their home insurance.

While average annual premiums have steadily increased both nationally and in Alaska, there have been years (such as 2016) when premiums dropped significantly. Insurers can increase their premiums for a number of reasons, including inflation rate changes and specific underlying factors like age.

Most non-owner-insured drivers are renting or borrowing vehicles from friends or family. Providers do not typically include additional liability coverage, such as roadside assistance, collision, towing, and comprehensive coverage. Because non-owner insurance acts as secondary coverage, meaning that it is only required when the car owner’s primary coverage can’t cover all the damage, non-owner-insured drivers do not have to pay any deductibles.

Citations

  1. MANDATORY INSURANCE. Department of Administration Division of Motor Vehicles. (2017). https://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/faq/manins.htm

  2. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2022). https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  3. VEHICLE TRAFFIC AND OFFENSES BOOKLET. Alaska Courts System. (2022).

    https://public.courts.alaska.gov/web/forms/docs/pub-131.pdf