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Published: April 25, 2022Last updated: October 19, 2022

Guide to Car Insurance in Arizona

Everything you need to know about driving in the Grand Canyon State

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Navigating auto insurance policies can be overwhelming. From required coverage to driving laws, we compiled all you need to know about car insurance in Arizona. Get your questions answered on safe driving regulations and practices so you and your vehicle stay protected on Arizona roads.

Required Car Insurance in Arizona

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $15,0001

How Much Coverage You Need

There are many types of insurance to suit specific needs, but the most most important are liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. Liability insurance covers others’ medical and repair expenses when you cause an accident. Collision insurance covers damages to your vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or objects, no matter who is at fault.

Comprehensive insurance covers your property costs in accidents when damage wasn’t due to a collision. Coupling these coverages with Arizona’s required liability insurance provides basic protection whether you are at fault or not in an accident.

Additional coverages to increase your safety net include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and medical payments coverage. UM coverage protects you in accidents with a driver who lacks insurance or whose insurance falls below state minimums. Medical payment coverage pays your medical expenses regardless of fault, but does not cover lost wages or childcare.

Insurance limits are the maximum amount your policy will pay toward a claim for each type of coverage. You are responsible for any costs that exceed your policy’s limits, so get the highest limits you can afford. State requirements are usually lower than the amount you’ll need in the event of an accident. Instead of basing your coverages on state minimums, consider higher coverage limits.

Your limits should be high enough to protect your assets in the event of an accident. The standard coverage for most drivers is around 100/300/50: $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability, and $50,000 per accident in property damage liability. This standard works on a scale.

The higher your car and assets value, the higher your limits can be, such as 250/500/125. The lower your car and asset value, the lower your limits should be, such as 50/100/25.

CheckDID YOU KNOW?

It’s important for your plan to cover damages from natural disasters under comprehensive coverage. Arizona is prone to flash flooding during monsoon season, from mid-June through September, which could cause storm damage to your vehicle.

Cost of Auto Insurance in Arizona

The average rate of car insurance for Arizona was $1,063.93 in 20192. This is 1 percent less than the national average of $1,070.47, and breaks down into these averages depending on coverage type:

  • Liability coverage — $662.55
  • Collision insurance — $327.86
  • Comprehensive insurance — $208.38

The cost of a full coverage plan in Arizona ranges from $916 to $2,423 annually. Expect lower car insurance rates if you have a clean driving record, or higher auto insurance rates for young drivers or people with a poor driving history. To get the cheapest car insurance available, compare the cost of car insurance from multiple companies.

Arizona Car Insurance Companies

  • AAA
  • AARP
  • ACCC
  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Country Financial
  • Farmers
  • GAINSCO
  • GEICO
  • Hallmark Financial
  • Iowa Farm Bureau
  • Mercury
  • MGA
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • QBE
  • Safeway
  • State Farm
  • Travelers
  • USAA

Light BulbHAVE YOU HEARD?

Picking a large provider doesn’t guarantee better coverage. Look at customer service ratings and complaints when deciding between providers.

How to Lower Premiums in Arizona

  1. Raise your deductible. Ask your agent how your premium would change if you raise your deductible. It might make the annual premium lower by several percentage points and put some money back in your pocket, or the savings might be negligible.
  2. Take advantage of discounts. By choosing a bulk rate when insuring several drivers or vehicles under one company, you can qualify for a multi-car discount. In the same vein, safe driving discounts reward you for avoiding accidents and moving violations. Additionally, some companies will provide discounts for completing defensive driving, accident prevention, or another course.
  3. Improve your credit rating. Maintaining good credit proves your financial responsibility and can lower premiums.

Proof of Car Insurance

When driving in Arizona, you’ll need proof of insurance, whether it takes the form of a physical ID card or a digital ID housed in an app. The medium for electronic proof of insurance depends on your provider.

You could face penalties if you’re caught driving without insurance:

Penalty First offense Second offense Third offense
License plate taken Yes Yes Yes
Minimum fee $500 $750 $1,000
License and registration suspension 3 months 6 months 1 year

You must file proof of financial responsibility (an SR-22) if you commit third or subsequent offenses within 36 months of the first offense.3

Arizona State Laws: Driving and Car Insurance

At-Fault State

Arizona is an at-fault state, meaning the at-fault party pays for both property damage and bodily injury. In terms of negligence laws, Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state. Pure comparative negligence laws rule that accident victims can recover money for injuries no matter how negligent they were, even if their degree of fault was higher than the opposing party’s.

Drivers Without Insurance

Although UM coverage isn’t a requirement in Arizona, many companies still offer it. While this coverage is not necessary, it provides extra protection while on the road, since 12 percent of drivers in Arizona were uninsured in 2019, which is equal to the national average.4

Stacking is the act of combining coverage for multiple vehicles. Unfortunately, Arizona operates unstacked. If you have more than one car on your policy, you cannot apply uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage across your vehicles.

Driving Under the Influence Laws

It is unlawful to be under the influence of liquor or drugs while driving, because that can inhibit your capability to control a vehicle. When you receive your license in Arizona, you consent to test for blood alcohol or drug content (BADC). The term for the interlock in Arizona is Certified Ignition Interlock Device (CIID).

If you fail a BADC test and are charged with a DUI, it will stay on your driving record for seven years.5 The type of DUI determines BADC thresholds and penalties:

Penalty DUI

  • Driver is under 21 (Permit Class G, or D if under 18) (any BAC)
  • Driver has a commercial license (Class A, B, or C) (0.04% BAC)
  • Driver has an operator license (Class D if over 21) (0.08% BAC)
Extreme DUI

  • Driver has any permit or license (0.15% BAC)
Aggravated DUI

  • Driver commits a DUI while license is suspended, revoked, or canceled (any BAC)
  • Driver commits a third DUI in 7 years (any BAC)
  • Driver commits a DUI with a person under 15 in the vehicle (any BAC)
  • Driver commits a DUI or refuses to submit a BAC test while under a CIID requirement (any BAC)
License suspension (minimum length) 90 days 90 days 1 year
Imprisonment At least 10 consecutive days At least 30 consecutive days No more than 2 years
Minimum fine $1,250 $2,500 Determined by case
CIID on vehicle Yes Yes Yes
Community service Yes Yes Yes
Alcohol screening, education, and treatment Yes Yes Yes

These are some other instances when you would be required to install a CIID:

  • A second drunk-driving offense that occurs within seven years of the first
  • A third or subsequent drunk-driving offense
  • A drunk-driving offense while license is suspended or revoked for a prior DWI offense
  • A drunk-driving child endangerment offense
  • A first or second offense of 0.15 percent BAC

Seat Belt Laws

Anyone older than 8 is required to wear a seat belt in Arizona, no matter what seat they’re in. Arizona operates under secondary seat belt law,6 which means an officer can only issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt when there is another citable traffic infraction.

Distracted Driving Laws

Arizona has a hands-off policy, meaning it is illegal to talk or text on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode. This hands-off policy combats distracted driving, especially texting and driving.

Here are the fees for using a phone while driving:

  • First offense — $75 to $149
  • Subsequent offenses — $250 plus applicable surcharges

Teen Driver Laws

If you’re under 18, you can apply for a graduated instruction permit or a graduated driver’s license. For either a graduated permit or license, you must pass written and vision tests and bring a completed application with original supporting documents to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Find original supporting document requirements here: https://apps.azdot.gov/files/mvd/mvd-forms-lib/40-5144.pdf.

There are specific regulations under each certification:

Requirement Graduated instruction permit Graduated driver’s license
Age Must be at least 15 years and 6 months old Must have held a graduated instruction permit for at least 6 months and be at least 16 years old
Supervision Must have a licensed driver (at least 21 years old) in the front seat at all times Must have a licensed driver (at least 21) in the front seat if past curfew or transporting more than 1 passenger
Curfew None For the first 6 months, cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless driving to or from a sanctioned school-sponsored activity, religious activity, or place of employment, or because of a family emergency
Passengers Any Cannot drive with more than 1 passenger under 18 unless the additional passengers are your siblings

For drivers younger than 18, the application for an instruction permit or driver’s license requires an adult signature. The adult will be responsible for any negligence or willful misconduct when the teen is driving.

Light BulbARE YOU AWARE?

Many providers offer discounts for being a good student. If your child is driving on your plan, ask your provider about discounts for good grades. This type of discount usually applies to students ages 16 to early 20s who have B averages or above.

Statute of Limitations for Claims

In Arizona, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for both personal injury and property damage. If you don’t file within the first two years, you probably won’t be able to recover any compensation.

Cancellation and Non-Renewal Policies

Auto insurance companies cannot cancel policies that have been in force for over 60 days except under the following circumstances:

  • You didn’t pay the premium.
  • You have committed fraud or misrepresentation on your application.
  • Your driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.

A non-renewal happens when either you or your company decides not to renew the policy once it expires. Insurance companies must give you notice or explanation before dropping a policy. A provider may drop a policy if it no longer offers that type of insurance, if it doesn’t want to write as many policies in your area, or if you were driving under the influence.7

In Arizona, companies must notify you 30 days prior to the expiration date for cancellation or nonrenewal, regardless of the reason.

Self-Insurance

Arizona allows self-insurance if you own more than 10 vehicles. The minimum required collateral is $90,000. However, most people will go the standard personal car insurance route.

Car Inspection Requirements

Vehicle inspections match a vehicle identification number (VIN) to ownership documents to determine the identity of the vehicle, and in some cases, to verify the vehicle is properly equipped for highway use. At an inspection, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Car title
  • Registration or bill of sale
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Receipts or invoices for all components that have been repaired or replaced

Fee and location requirements depend on the level of your inspection request:

Level I Level II Level III
Purpose For title requests, bonded titles, or out-of-state/country vehicles without proof of title and/or registration When circumstances indicate secondary VIN(s) should be verified for proper vehicle identification When a vehicle is restored from salvage, recovered from being stolen, or has been involved in a collision
Location MVD offices or by designated law enforcement officers

Location finder: https://azdot.gov/motor-vehicles/mvd-hours-and-locations

By appointment at ADOT ECD inspection locations

Location finder: https://azdot.gov/node/4916

By appointment at ADOT ECD inspection locations
Fee None $20

Additional $5 if an Arizona assigned number is issued

$50, or $30 if Level II inspection has already been conducted

SR-22

An SR-22, or a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, verifies that you have motor vehicle liability insurance. You may be required to carry an SR-22 if you’re caught driving under any of these circumstances:

  • With a suspended or revoked license
  • With multiple unpaid tickets
  • With eight or more points on your license within a 12-month period
  • With no insurance coverage
  • Recklessly
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol

You are required to maintain proof for three years from the date you became eligible for reinstatement. Your license and registration will be suspended if you fail to maintain your SR-22.

Defensive Driving Courses

Defensive driving uses safe strategies to let motorists avoid hazards. You may take a course voluntarily to dismiss certain violations and their associated points, or the state may require you to take a defensive driving course. In either case, you can only get one violation dismissed for attendance, even if you received multiple traffic violations at once. You cannot take a defensive driving course if you attended one within the last 12 months.

You can find Arizona’s eligible violations that would require a defensive driving course at https://bit.ly/3723qOO. If you were involved in a serious injury accident or fatal accident, you are not eligible.

You may take classes in person or online. If a judge orders you to attend the course in person, you must register for a classroom course. You must complete your course no later than seven days prior to your court date. After successful completion of an Arizona-certified defensive driving program, the court is required to forward the record of judgment to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division.

Civil Suit Thresholds

In Arizona, there is no monetary or serious injury threshold for civil suits. No thresholds mean that regardless of the losses or injuries, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit after the accident.

When to Report an Accident

Arizona requires immediate reporting for all accidents. You must share verbal or written communication, whichever is quickest, with the nearest local police department, office of the county sheriff, or office of highway patrol immediately after an accident. You must remain at the scene to provide your information and aid to any injured person.

If you fail to report an accident, the nature of the accident determines the maximum penalty for your first offense:

Type of accident Charge License suspension (in years) Imprisonment Probation (in years) Fine
Damage to a non-vehicle Class 3 misdemeanor 1 30 days 1 $500 plus surcharges
Damage to a parked vehicle Class 3 misdemeanor 1 30 days 1 $500 plus surcharges
Damage to your vehicle, no resulting injury Class 2 misdemeanor 1 4 months 2 $750 plus surcharges
Non-serious injury Class 5 felony 3 2.5 years, or more if you have a prior felony conviction 3 $150,000 maximum, at judge’s discretion
Serious injury or death (not your fault) Class 3 felony 5 8.75 years, or more if you have a prior felony conviction 5 $150,000 maximum, at judge’s discretion
Serious injury or death (your fault) Class 2 felony 10 12.5 years, or more if you have a prior felony conviction 7 $150,000 maximum, at judge’s discretion

Price Discrimination Laws

Common factors that determine your premiums include your driving record, how much you use your car, your location, your age, and the car you drive. In Arizona, credit scores are one of many factors an insurance company can consider when determining how much to charge. Drivers with poor credit (300-579) in Arizona pay over double the amount those with exceptional credit (800-850) pay.

Gender is another factor that has a major impact on auto insurance costs in Arizona. Typically, men pay more for insurance due to higher fatality rates, DUI rates, and increased likelihood of being stopped by police.

Total Loss Threshold

Total loss threshold equals a vehicle’s repair cost divided by its actual cash value (AVC). Insurance companies use this percentage to determine if a vehicle is a total loss or worth repairing. In Arizona, the total loss threshold is 65 percent, so if the repair cost is 65 percent or more compared to the ACV, the insurer will mark the car’s status as totaled.

Arizona Driving Contact Information

Registration Information

In Arizona, whenever you buy a vehicle, you must apply for a title within 15 days of purchase or you may face penalties. Here’s how to avoid penalties and register your car:

  1. Fill out the application. You can download it online if visiting the office in person (https://apps.azdot.gov/files/mvd/mvd-forms-lib/96-0236.pdf), or you can activate and/or sign in to your account on the MVD website to access title state and replacement, registration, and other services at https://azmvdnow.gov/home.
  2. Gather the necessary documents.
    • Valid Arizona driver’s license
    • Emissions test (Phoenix and Tucson areas only)
    • Proof of insurance
    • Proof of ownership
    • Lien details (if paying a loan on the vehicle)
    • Signed application.
  3. Pay applicable fees. Determine your registration fee based on your vehicle (https://azdot.gov/sites/default/files/2019/08/AZ-registration-fees.pdf).
  4. Turn the application in. You have three options:
    • Take the application to an MVD office. You can find your nearest office at https://adot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=62a0467dae1848f897764b32984bb82d.
    • Take it to an authorized third-party provider. You can find the list at https://azdot.gov/node/9477.
    • Submit the application from your MVD online account.

Arizona Motor Vehicle Division Contact Information

  • URL: https://azdot.gov/contact
  • Phone number: 602-255-0072
  • Phone number for the hearing/speech-impaired: 602-712-3222
  • Hours for phone lines: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Physical locations: https://adot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=62a0467dae1848f897764b32984bb82d
  • Hours for physical locations: 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays

How to Get a Duplicate Car Title in Arizona

  1. Fill out the application. You can download it here: https://apps.azdot.gov/files/mvd/mvd-forms-lib/96-0236.pdf.
  2. Pay the fee. Include $4 with your application. No notary is required.
  3. Mail the application.
    • Motor Vehicle Division
      P.O. Box 2100, MD 555M
      Phoenix, AZ 85001

Arizona Insurance Department Contact Information

  • URL: https://difi.az.gov/
  • Phone number: 602-364-3100
  • Mailing address:
    • 100 N. 15th Ave., Suite 261
      Phoenix, AZ 85007-2630

Car Repair Costs

Arizona’s average repair costs totaled $385.56 in 2020.8 This cost was 1 percent higher than the national average of $383.37. On average, that breaks down into $242.12 for parts and $144.44 for labor.

Auto Theft and Traffic Deaths in Arizona

Auto Theft

Arizona had 242 car thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, making car theft 2 percent less common than in the rest of the nation.9 The rate in Arizona’s most populous cities hovers around the national average of 246, but that drops off significantly as the population density decreases.

Arizona metropolitan statistical area Rate of motor vehicle theft per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler 279
Tucson 271
Lake Havasu City-Kingman 250
Yuma 191
Flagstaff 116
Sierra Vista-Douglas 84
Prescott Valley-Prescott 6910

Traffic Deaths

Unfortunately, Arizona had 981 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2019, a rate that sits 28 percent above the national average. Arizona ranks eleventh in the nation for traffic fatality rates.

Several issues coalesced to cause the spike in traffic-related crashes. Despite lower travel rates due to many people working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona’s fatal car crashes increased because of distracted, impaired, and reckless driving. More specifically, fatalities reached a 12-year high in 2020 because of speed-related crashes, lane-departure incidents, and a lack of seat belts.

Conclusion

Exploring Arizona’s auto insurance regulations can help you pick the best coverage for your needs. Keep safe driving practices in mind and carry proof of insurance as you embark on those desert roads.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if someone else gets in an accident while driving my car?

Even if you’re not the one driving, your insurance will cover the applicable damages. In Arizona, insurance coverage follows the car, not the driver. Most policies will cover resulting damage so long as the driver at the time of the accident holds a valid license.

Do I need an emissions test in Arizona?

All residents of the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas and those who commute into these areas for work or school regularly are required to have their 1967 or newer vehicles pass emissions tests. Most vehicles newer than six years old are exempt from testing, and other vehicle exemptions apply. However, if you don’t meet these requirements, you won’t need an emissions test in Arizona.

Should I have auto insurance if I don’t own a car?

If you drive occasionally but don’t own a car, consider non-owner insurance. Non-owner insurance is a form of minimum liability coverage, so it covers injuries and property damage of others in an accident you cause. It’s used only as secondary coverage to supplement the borrowed car’s insurance policy.

Non-owner insurance is a good option if you don’t own a car and want to avoid lapses in coverage, are court-ordered to maintain insurance, or rent or borrow cars regularly.

How old do I have to be to sign up for insurance in Arizona?

You must be of the age of majority to sign for your insurance coverage. Age of majority is when you become an adult in the eyes of the state; in Arizona, this is age 18. However, there is an exception for emancipated minors, as they have the full legal rights of an adult and thereby can enter into contracts.

Citations

  1. Vehicle Insurance Information. ADOT. https://azdot.gov/motor-vehicles/vehicle-services/vehicle-insurance-information

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

  3. Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. Consumer Federation of America. https://consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf

  4. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar). https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

  5. State Ignition Interlock Laws. NCSL. (2021, Sept). https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-ignition-interlock-laws.aspx

  6. Seat Belts. GHSA. (2021). https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/seat%20belts

  7. What’s the difference between auto policy cancellation and nonrenewal? Insurance Information Institute. (2022). https://www.iii.org/article/whats-the-difference-between-auto-policy-cancellation-and-nonrenewal

  8. 2020 State Repair Cost Rankings. CarMD. (2020, Jul). https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2020-carmd-state-index/

  9. Crime in the United States. FBI. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/tables/table-4

  10. NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. NICB. (2021, Aug). https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/nicb-hot-spots-auto-thefts-significantly-across-country