It costs more to insure your vehicle in Arkansas than in much of the rest of the country. Arkansas ranks ninth in the Top 10 most expensive states when it comes to the cost of auto insurance. The average annual premium for Arkansas auto insurance in 2011 is $1,836, while the national average is $1,561. According to Insure.com, only Michigan, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Montana, Washington D.C., California, Mississippi and New Mexico rank higher.
Arkansas’s mandatory auto insurance liability minimums
According to state auto insurance laws, it is illegal for any resident driving Arkansas roads to carry less than the minimum required liability auto insurance.
If you are an Arkansan, your auto insurance policy must provide the following minimum limits of liability:
- $25,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
- $50,000 – bodily injury (BI), per accident
- $25,000 – property damage (PD)
BI insurance covers you if you have caused an accident and a person or persons in the other vehicle was injured. Discuss with your Arkansas auto insurance agent whether the minimum amount required by the state is going to be enough coverage to provide adequate protection.
PD insurance covers any property damage you may have caused, up to the limits of your auto insurance policy. Again, discuss your needs with your auto insurance company or agency. You may wish to buy higher limits of both BI and PD.
Required notice of optional available Arkansas auto insurance coverage
When you apply for liability coverage with an Arkansas auto insurer, you must be given the opportunity to buy the following coverages:
- Uninsured motorist (UI) bodily and property damage coverage
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage for bodily injury
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
If you are in a car crash, UI Arkansas auto insurance protects you and your vehicle if the other driver has caused the accident and is driving uninsured or leaves the scene of the accident.
UIM insurance gives you additional protection if the other driver is at fault and doesn’t have enough coverage to cover your injuries.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP, otherwise known as no-fault insurance, protects you by providing coverage for medical costs, loss of wages loss, death benefits and some other costs, regardless of who is determined to have caused the accident.
There are three parts to PIP—1) medical payments, 2) loss of wages and 3) death benefits. In the state of Arkansas, PIP is not required, but what is required is that you must refuse any part of the coverage in writing if you do not wish to purchase it.
Collision and comprehensive coverages—optional auto insurance coverages
Discuss the costs of protecting your investment in your automobile with your insurance company or auto insurance agent. While you are not required to carry either collision or comprehensive, it is wise to do so.
Collision auto insurance coverage protects your vehicle by covering the cost of replacement or repairs, should you get in a car crash, no matter who has caused the crash. If you wish to carry a higher coverage to ensure replacement, a higher level of coverage can be made more affordable by carrying a higher deductable. Be sure to discuss this with your agent.
Comprehensive auto insurance coverage protects you against damage to your vehicle by an animal (for example, a deer), or acts of nature or as a result of something other than being in an accident with another vehicle.
Check with your lender if financing your vehicle
With auto insurance costs already high for Arkansans, if you plan on upgrading to a newer vehicle, discuss with your agent the costs of insuring the various vehicles you are interested in. If you are looking at several different makes and models, your agent can tell you which one may be the cheaper of the vehicles to insure. For example, if a vehicle is on the frequently stolen list or appears on a “high incidents of vandalism” list, your auto insurance premium is going to be more expensive.
Also, remember that any vehicle you finance through a commercial lender is apt to require higher than minimum coverages. The commercial lender will be named on your policy as a means of protecting its asset. Inquire with the lender what level of auto insurance coverage it will require you to carry.
State of Arkansas, Insurance Department
Tel 800-852-5494, consumer services, toll-free in state