Everything you need to know about driving legally and safely in Arkansas
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In Arkansas, auto insurance is a requirement for all 2.15 million of its licensed drivers. On average, Arkansas drivers spend $879 a year on auto insurance, which is 16 percent lower than the national average. Only liability coverage is required, which includes both bodily injury and property damage coverage.
Need auto insurance in Arkansas? Are you a teen driver and not sure what the laws are? In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to drive in Arkansas, from getting car insurance to registering your car and learning your state’s rules. We’ve scoured our local agent network along with state guidelines, so let’s get started in this guide to driving in Arkansas.
Arkansas isn’t a no auto insurance requirement state; every vehicle lessee or owner needs auto coverage. Here are the bare minimums required by law.
Arkansas does not require full coverage, just liability coverage. This means that you can get cheap car insurance with fewer requirements from car insurance companies.
If you are caught driving without insurance in Arkansas, you could be fined $50 and have your car’s registration suspended.
Property damage and bodily injury liability are the bare minimum; you’ll probably want to add on supplemental coverage such as comprehensive and collision coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection.
Comprehensive coverage will reimburse you for thefts or damage from events other than collisions, such as falling rocks, floods, and fires.
Collision coverage reimburses you for at-fault accidents. We recommend it in case you accidentally hit another vehicle or object, run into a pothole, etc.
Even though Arkansas requires auto insurance, not everyone complies. If you get into an accident with someone who has no insurance or insufficient insurance, this coverage will reimburse you for the costs. It also covers hit-and-runs.
If you have any medical expenses or lost wages due to injuries from at-fault accidents, PIP will reimburse you up to your limits.
In 2020, the last time the National Association of Insurance Commissioners released national data, the average annual cost of car insurance in Arkansas was $879— 16 percent lower than the national average. We’ve seen estimates in the range of $266 per year all the way up to $1,914, however.
If you’re shopping for car insurance in Arkansas, consider the following companies:
These are some ways to lower auto insurance premiums in Arkansas:
Your best bet here is certainly the auto insurance discounts.
When you’re driving in Arkansas, you’ll need your proof of liability insurance, which can be physical or digital. If you get caught driving without proof of insurance, you could pay a fee of $50 to $250 and have your registration suspended until you provide proof of insurance and pay an additional $20 fee.
Driving isn’t just about getting insurance. You also need to know the laws of the land so you can avoid penalties, fines, and license suspensions and revocations. Here’s some legal information about uninsured motorists, seat belts, distracted driving, teen drivers, and more.
Arkansas is a no-fault state, meaning that if you cause an accident, you’ll be responsible for only the other party’s property damage. You and the other party each pay your own medical costs.
n Arkansas, speeding accounts for over 4 in 10 driving violations, so first and foremost, you need to follow the speed limits.2
In 2020, an estimated 16 percent of Arkansas drivers were uninsured, higher than the national average of 13 percent. If your coverage has lapsed, you’ll be notified by mail that you need to acquire insurance. If you don’t get it, your registration could be suspended,3 and you’ll be fined $100 to $250.4
In Arkansas, a DUI can stay on your record for five years. For the first offense, you could have your license suspended for six months. You may be required to install a DUI interlock for one year, even after the suspension lifts.
In Arkansas, wearing a seat belt is mandatory for both drivers and front-seat passengers, who could receive traffic citations if they don’t “click it.” Back-seat passengers only need to wear seat belts if they’re riding with a teen driver who has an intermediate license or learner’s permit.5
In Arkansas, only 83 percent of people report that they always wear seat belts, lower than the national average of 87 percent. Responses differed by gender, age, race, education, and income level, as you’ll see below.
Distracted driving includes texting and driving, talking on the phone while driving, or even changing the music while driving. In addition to complying with federal distracted driving requirements, Arkansas drivers must refrain from these activities while behind the wheel:
All of these laws are under primary enforcement, meaning that an officer can stop you for these violations alone.6 Fees range from $250 for the first offense to $500 for subsequent offenses.
Here are the requirements for drivers under the age of 18 in Arkansas.
|Law||Hardship license||Learner’s license||Intermediate license||Unrestricted license|
|Restrictions||More restrictions for those under 18||Must pass vision/knowledge test||Must already have had a learner’s license for at least 6 months||Must already have an intermediate license|
|Must drive with someone at least 21 years old at all times||No||Yes||Yes, for first 6 months if first licensure||No|
|Must wear seat belts||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|If the violation occurs within first 6 months of licensure, 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|
|No cell phone or interactive wireless communicate use while driving||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, but ages 18-21 can use hands-free|
|No more than 1 unrelated minor passenger allowed unless someone 21 or older is in the front passenger seat of the car||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|No driving between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. unless accompanied by someone 21 or older or driving to or from a school activity, church activity, or job||Yes||No||Yes||No7|
If someone under age 18 is convicted of any moving traffic violation, the court will notify their parents or guardians.8
In Arkansas, you have three years following an incident to file both property damage and personal injury claims. If you wait more than three years to file, your insurance company isn’t obligated to cover your claim.
If a company in Arkansas wants to cancel your insurance policy midterm, it has 20 days to notify you prior to the effective date, or 10 days if the cancellation is due to nonpayment. If the company decides merely to not renew your policy at the end of its term, it must give you 30 days notice prior to the policy’s expiration date.
Sure, everyone in Arkansas needs insurance, but those who own more than 25 vehicles can self-insure. Even with this fleet, you’ll need $100,000 of collateral, so most people take the traditional route for car insurance.
Arkansas doesn’t require yearly vehicle inspections. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your car’s maintenance, whether that’s changing the oil or monitoring emissions through catalytic converters.
An SR-22 is proof of minimum insurance. However, this specific form isn’t required in Arkansas, no matter your conviction.
If you get 10 to 13 points on your current traffic violation report, you could be required to take a defensive driving course.
What is defensive driving? It’s driving in a way that helps you avoid hazards. You can take classes either online or in person. Talk to your agency director about finding classes.
If you’re a victim of an accident, can you sue? What is the threshold for damages? In Arkansas, there is no injury-level or monetary threshold. Because Arkansas is a no-fault state, the victim can sue for noneconomic damages or injuries.
Do you need a police report to file a claim? No, but it certainly helps.
That being said, in Arkansas, you must report an accident if there is injury, death, or property damage worth over $1,000. Tell the police immediately in the case of deaths or injuries, or within 30 days for property damage. Failure to report an accident that meets this threshold could result in a license suspension.
Unfortunately for those with bad credit, in Arkansas, it is legal for insurance companies to discriminate based on credit scores when determining car insurance premiums. It’s also legal to discriminate on the basis of gender, so men pay more for car insurance in this state.
A total loss is when a vehicle’s repairs would cost more than the state’s threshold. In Arkansas, if the repairs cost more than 70 percent of the car’s actual market value, it’s declared a total loss. You’ll receive the car’s actual market value or what you paid for it if you have gap coverage, which accounts for depreciation.
Now that you’re familiar with the driving laws in Arkansas, it’s time to take action. Whether you’re registering a car, scrounging up your car’s title, or contacting the state’s insurance department, we’ve covered the contact information below.
To register your car in Arkansas, you’ll need to either call or visit the DMV after you obtain insurance. Here’s how:
Follow these steps if you need your car’s title to prove ownership:
In case you have any questions about insurance in Arkansas that we haven’t answered, here is the state insurance department’s contact information:
So you’ve gotten into an accident and you need repairs. Here’s what they’ll cost in Arkansas, on average.
Crime rates affect insurance rates, as insurance companies factor in risk. The more crime in an area, the higher its average cost of auto insurance.
In 2020, there were 262 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 Arkansas inhabitants — six percent higher than the national average of 246. Rates were higher in cities like the Memphis, Little Rock, and Hot Springs Metropolitan Statistical Areas, to name a few.
|Name of Metropolitan Statistical Area||Rate of motor vehicle theft by 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||402|
|Hot Springs, AR||379|
|Pine Bluff, AR||338|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||295|
In Arkansas, there were 505 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2019. This is 40 percent less than the national average.
If you want to learn more, read our state-by-state driving statistics guide. The laws are different in every state, so if you’re planning to travel, it’s important to brush up before you drive.
Read on to learn even more about car insurance in Arkansas.
These are the requirements for auto insurance in Arkansas:
Arkansas is a no-fault insurance state. This means that, regardless of who was at fault in an accident, each person will pay their own medical costs. The at-fault party will still pay for the other party’s property damage. We recommend buying personal injury protection, although it’s not required legally, to cover your passengers’ and your medical costs along with your lost wages.
In Arkansas, insurance follows the car, not the driver. If you get into an accident while driving someone else’s car, their insurance policy will apply, not yours.
Car insurance is not high in Arkansas. In 2020, the last year the National Association of Insurance Commissioners published national data, the average yearly spending on auto insurance was $879, 16 percent less than the national average of $1,047. See below for the costs of specific coverages in Arkansas compared with the rest of the U.S., which is only high when it comes to collision coverage.
|Average expenditure in 2020||Auto insurance total||Liability coverage||Collision coverage||Comprehensive coverage|
|How much does car insurance cost in Arkansas vs. the national average?||-16%||-26%||-1%||41%|
Consumers FAQ – Private Passenger Automobile Insurance. Arkansas Insurance Department. (2022).
Top Ten Violations. Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. (2021, Oct 31).
New Law Addressing Uninsured Motorists. State of Arkansas House of Representatives. (2020, Jan 3).
House Bill 1945. State of Arkansas 92nd General Assembly. (2019).
Buckle Up Arkansas! A Guide to Arkansas’ Primary Seat Belt Law. Arkansas Children’s. (2018, Aug).
State Cellphone Use While Driving Laws. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2022).
Why do teen drivers face higher risks of being involved in motor vehicle crashes? Injury Prevention Center. (2012, July).
Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws and State Highway Commission Regulations. Arkansas Department of Transportation and the Department of Finance and Administration. (2019).
Arkansas DMV – Home Page. Arkansas DMV. (2022).