If you want to drive in Arkansas, you need Arkansas auto insurance. Coverage protects you and the other people on the road. It also satisfies the state’s legal requirements. Driving is a big responsibility, so make sure you have the right coverage in the right amounts.

Minimum Arkansas Auto Insurance Requirements

Each state sets its own insurance requirements. In Arkansas, your auto insurance policy must provide the following minimum amounts of liability coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple people in an accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

Many drivers may benefit from securing additional coverage. This can include higher limits as well as other types of coverage. For example, the required liability insurance only covers damage and injury to other people and their property. But what if you collide with another object or an animal? To protect your own car, you need collision and comprehensive coverage. If you take an auto loan, you may be required to maintain coverage that goes beyond the state’s minimum liability requirements.

The Risk of Driving without Insurance in Arkansas

Although auto insurance is a required, some drivers allow their coverage to lapse. Often, this is done because the driver is having trouble paying insurance premiums. In this case, it’s doubtful that the driver would have enough money to pay for damages out of pocket. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Arkansas has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists, with 16.6 percent of drivers failing to maintain coverage.

If an uninsured motorist hits you, you may have difficulty recovering damages. This is why people are encouraged to maintain uninsured motorist coverage. In Arkansas, your auto insurance policy will include uninsured motorist coverage unless you sign a statement rejecting it. Drivers can also purchase underinsured motorist coverage in case the damages caused by another motorist exceed that motorist’s coverage limits.

If you are caught driving without insurance, you will have to pay a fine. Letting your insurance lapse can also make it more difficult, and more expensive, to purchase insurance in the future.

Proof of Arkansas Auto Insurance

You will need to supply proof of insurance when you register your vehicle. Additionally, you will need to provide proof of insurance if you are pulled over by law enforcement.

Your insurance company should mail you an insurance card that acts as proof of insurance. However, drivers in Arkansas are also allowed to use electronic proof of insurance.

Determining Your Arkansas Auto Insurance Rates

Your premium will be determined based on multiple factors. In Arkansas, these factors may include the following:

  • Your age and sex
  • Where you live
  • How many miles you drive
  • The type of vehicle
  • Your driving record

When applying for insurance, you need to list all of the drivers in your household, and their information must be supplied as well.

The best way to keep your premium down is to keep your driving record clean. The coverage amounts and deductible will also impact your premium. However, it is important to avoid having too little coverage. For example, your deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket when a claim occurs. Choosing a high deductible can result in a lower premium. However, if your deductible is more than you can afford, you will find yourself in a difficult situation if you ever need to file a claim.

How Arkansas Auto Insurance Claims Work

If you are involved in a crash, you must report it, regardless of who is at fault.

  • Call the police to report the crash and seek emergency assistance.
  • Submit a Safety Responsibility SR-1 report with 30 days for any accident that causes property damage of more than $1,000 or any injury or death.
  • As soon as possible, report the crash to your insurance company.

The Impact of DUIs

If you are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your insurance company may cancel your policy.

In Arkansas, a driver is considered to be driving while intoxicated if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches or exceeds 0.08 percent. Drivers under the age of 21 can be convicted of a DUI with lower BACs.

If you are convicted of a DUI, your license can be revoked or suspended, and you can face up to a year in prison and $1,000 in fines for a first offence. The penalties increase with subsequent convictions. When you are allowed to resume driving, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and to carry SR22 insurance.

Other Issues Impacting Your Insurance

In addition to DUI convictions, your insurance company may cancel your policy for nonpayment of premium, fraud or misrepresentation in your insurance application, homicide involving the use of a motor vehicle or three separate convictions of speeding and/or reckless driving during the policy period and the previous three months.

Even infractions that do not result in cancellation of your insurance may result in a premium increase and possibly even license suspension. Arkansas uses a point system. Moving violations result in three to 14 points on your driving recording, depending on how severe the violation is. If you accumulate 10 or more points, you will receive a warning letter. If you accumulate 14 or more points, a hearing is scheduled, and you could have your driving privileges suspended.

Smartphone use is associated with dangerously distracted driving and an increase risk of crash. Arkansas has passed laws to fight distracted driving. Under a law that went into effect in July 2019, instant messaging and other smartphone activities are banned in addition to texting. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using hand-held or hands-free devices, while older drivers are prohibited from using hand-held devices.

Keeping Arkansas Auto Insurance Costs Down

To keep your insurance costs low and your legal requirements met, do the following:

  • Maintain continuous insurance coverage.
  • Keep proof of insurance readily available, either in physical or electronic form.
  • Obey all traffic laws and signs.
  • Avoid speeding and distractions.
  • Be especially cautious in construction and school zones.
  • Look out for bicyclists and pedestrians, and be prepared to stop for school buses.
  • Never drive when you are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about Arkansas car insurance here.