Alaska, also known as the Last Frontier, is the largest state in the nation, by area. Twice the size of Texas, its economy is dominated by the oil and gas industries.
With about sixty-five percent of the state owned and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, motorists have a myriad of opportunities to visit a vast system of national forests, national parks and national wildlife refuges. In fact, Alaska is home to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge in the world.
According to the state law, the only auto insurance Alaskan motorists are required to purchase is liability auto insurance coverage.
In order to drive on Alaskan roads, residents must meet the following required minimum liability limits:
- $50,000 – bodily injury, one person
- $100,000 – bodily injury, more than one person, per accident
- $25,000 – property damage
Liability coverage pays for damage you cause to other people and their property, if you are found to be the cause of a car accident. It protects you from claims and from having your assets and wages seized. However, if you are at fault in an accident, liability auto insurance coverage protects you only up to the limits of your policy.
Bodily injury liability protects you from claims made against you for recovery of any injuries to others in the event you are found at-fault in an accident. The insurance covers you against their claims for medical costs, loss of wages and pain and suffering.
Property damage liability covers any damage to another person’s property stemming from an accident caused by your negligence. While property damage usually involves damages to another car, it can also include such property as fences, lawns or building damage.
Showing proof of insurance
According to state statutes, Alaskan motorists must keep a copy of their auto insurance ID card, a copy of their auto insurance policy or a self-insurance certificate with them at all times when operating a vehicle.
If you are involved in a car crash resulting in injuries, death or damages to property that is estimated to be more than $500, state law requires that you be able to show evidence of being insured.
If you are unable to show proof of auto insurance, the state may suspend your driving privileges.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM/ UIM)
UM/UIM coverage must be offered by your insurance carrier, and if you make the decision to decline coverage you must do so in writing. While it is not mandated by the state of Alaska to carry this coverage, it does protect you in the event that you are in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. UM/UIM coverage also protects you in the case of an at-fault driver who flees the scene of an accident or in the situation of having your vehicle struck while it is parked.
If you are renting a vehicle in the state of Alaska, state statute requires that your auto insurance policy covers you with the mandatory minimum liability coverage. If you carry collision and comprehensive coverages, your insurer must provide that same coverage to the vehicle you are renting. Make sure you go over your policy coverages with your auto insurance agent prior to renting a vehicle, so that you are clear about your protection. If you do not carry collision and comprehensive you will want to consider purchasing this coverage from the car rental company, as this would cover any damages to your rental car. Failure to be adequately covered if in an accident in a rental car would mean that any costs for damages would come out of your pocket.
Average annual cost of insurance
The 2011 average annual premium for Alaska auto insurance is $1,454, according to Insure.com, which is slightly lower than the national average of $1,561.
Alaska Division of Insurance
Tel 800-467-8725, toll-free in state