Below we’ll look at some of the nuts and bolts of Alaska’s auto insurance driving laws.
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.
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.
|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
|Must drive with someone at least 21 years old at all times
|No, except between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
|Must wear seat belts
|No serious violations or traffic tickets within the first 6 months of licensure (otherwise, your unrestricted license could be delayed)
|No serious accidents or traffic violations for at least 12 months before application
|Can use a cell phone while driving, but cannot text and drive
|Cannot carry passengers under the age of 18, except for siblings
|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)
|Licensure fees in Alaska
Real ID: $40
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
|How long before your policy expires your insurer must notify you (in days)
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.
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.
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 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.