New Mexico Car Insurance
If you want to learn about New Mexico auto insurance, we’ve got all the information you’ll need right here on this page. Keep reading for information on required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, the state’s verification database, and more.
Mandatory insurance law
State law requires all drivers to be insured. If you’re a New Mexico driver, you’ll have to prove that you’re covered when you:
- Are stopped by police
- Get into an accident
- Register your vehicle
Minimum New Mexico coverage requirements
New Mexico law has certain standards that auto insurance policies must meet. Every policy must include a minimum amount of liability coverage. The following table breaks down the requirements.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$25,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident|
|$50,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
|Property damage liability||$10,000 total per accident|
When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $50,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $10,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 25/50/10 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover your medical bills or car repairs if you are the driver. Liability coverage only covers those expenses for victims.
Penalties for driving uninsured
If you break the law and don’t buy auto insurance coverage in the Land of Enchantment, it could cost you. You could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills if someone crashes your car. You could have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees on top of that.
|Number of Offenses||Fine|
|Any||Up to $300|
The state operates the New Mexico Insurance Identification Database, which was set up in 2002. This database keeps records of coverage on vehicles in the state so that officials can identify uninsured drivers.
If the information in the database shows your car is uninsured, you may get a letter in the mail. If you receive this letter, you must respond to prove that you have coverage. If you don’t respond within 30 days, your registration could be suspended. If it is suspended, you need to prove you have coverage and pay a $30 reinstatement fee to get it back.
In addition to liability coverage, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism and weather damage. About 3 out of every 5 drivers in New Mexico bought comprehensive coverage in 2011.
Albuquerque drivers may want to seriously consider buying comprehensive coverage for protection against vehicle theft. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that there’s a relatively large amount of car thefts in the city and its surrounding metro area. In 2012, Albuquerque’s rate of car thefts was the highest in New Mexico and the 20th-highest of any metropolitan area in the entire U.S.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. About 3 out of every 5 drivers in New Mexico bought collision coverage in 2011, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) bodily injury
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after an accident. It does so when the driver who caused the accident either:
- Doesn’t have insurance or fled the scene of the accident
- Has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills
In New Mexico, this coverage is included in minimum policies. If you don’t want it, you must reject it in writing. There is a mandatory $250 deductible for claims under this coverage.
Stacking: New Mexico law allows drivers to increase their uninsured motorist coverage through stacking. Stacking increases the amount of coverage you have. But it may also increase your premium.
You may be able to stack coverage if you have multiple cars under your policy or are insured through multiple policies. Stacking basically lets you combine the coverage from all those cars or policies when you file a large claim.
Stacking can differ from insurer to insurer. Check with your agent or company to find out your options.
It pays your medical and funeral bills. It also does so for your passengers. It provides coverage no matter who caused the accident.
Protection from drivers without insurance
About 26% of drivers are uninsured in the state, according to the Insurance Research Council. That’s the 2nd-highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country. If someone crashes into you, you have about a 1-in-4 chance that he or she doesn’t have insurance. That means they won’t be able to pay for your damages after an accident.
If someone who injures you in an accident doesn’t have insurance, you may need to rely on your own policy. But not all people have the coverage they need. The minimum coverage required by the state doesn’t include protection for these situations.
The following optional coverages will pay for medical bills for you, your family, and any passengers if they were injured by an uninsured driver:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury
- Medical payments
The following optional coverages will pay for repairing your car if it’s damaged by an uninsured driver:
- Uninsured motorist property damage
If you don’t have any of the coverages listed here, you might not be able to get your medical bills and/or property damages covered.
How claims work in New Mexico
New Mexico uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance pays your medical and repair bills.
But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.
If you’re partially responsible, it changes how much you can get from the other driver’s insurer. New Mexico uses “pure comparative fault” to determine payment. That means the amount you get for your bills will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you’re 20% responsible for the accident, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay 100% of your bills. Instead, it pays only 80%, since you were 20% responsible. So in this example, if you have $10,000 in bills from an accident, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.
So what if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay your bills? You use your own policy. Medical payments will help pay your medical bills. Collision will help pay your car repair bills. But remember, both of those coverages are optional. You’ll be on your own if you didn’t add them to your policy.
New Mexico auto insurance rates
New Mexico car insurance premiums are lower than average. The average cost of a policy in the state was 4.6% cheaper than the 2011 national average, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Land of Enchantment:
- Progressive: Snapshot
- The Hartford : TrueLane
- Allstate: Drivewise
- Esurance : DriveSense
New Mexico car insurance companies
Car insurance for high-risk drivers
Have a lot of traffic tickets or accidents? You might have a hard time finding car insurance coverage. In New Mexico, you can still turn to theWestern Association of Automobile Insurance Plans. You’ll be able to hook up with a car insurance carrier that can provide you coverage.
Know before you buy
Regulators in New Mexico post “market conduct exams” online. The exams identify the agents and companies that regulators review for violations.
Regulators also help resolve disputes between insurers and their customers. If you have a complaint about your insurer, you can file one using the Insurance Department’s online complaint form.
Driving rights for undocumented immigrants
In an attempt to get more drivers licensed and insured, New Mexico became one of the first states in the U.S. to open the door to driving privileges for undocumented immigrants. In the Land of Enchantment, obtaining a driver’s license doesn’t require the social security number that U.S. citizens have.
Undocumented drivers still need to obtain New Mexico car insurance and abide by the same traffic safety laws as other drivers. The Motor Vehicle Department describes the process on its website.
Did You Know?
New Mexico average car insurance premiums
When you compare New Mexico car insurance premiums to the rest of the country, they're just below average. According to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the state's car insurance rates are 4.6% cheaper than the national average.