Whether you’re buying your very first auto insurance policy or simply checking renewal options, the process can be confusing. It’s often a bit more involved than a quick “15 minute call” (as claimed by certain talking reptiles).
It’s important to note that choosing the perfect policy is more than just comparing prices. You’ll want to learn about your state’s coverage requirements, as well as the customer satisfaction ratings, deductibles, and added services offered by the companies you consider. Only then can you ensure that you are well-protected and paying the best possible price for your Arizona car insurance.
We want to make the process as easy as possible for you, which is why we’ve done the hard work. We’ve sifted through all of the laws, rules, and regulations that come with being an Arizona driver. In this article, we will cover your minimum coverage, the laws that could impact you, insurers available in your state, and even the factors that will impact your premiums. We’ll help you figure out what kind of insurance you need and where to find it. Let’s get started!
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If you’re looking to buy auto insurance in the Grand Canyon State, you have plenty of options. It’s important to remember that your rates will vary depending on the coverage options you choose, your own driving record, and even your location in the state.
Based on our research and consumer ratings, here are our top picks for your next auto insurance policy in Arizona:
- Best Overall Satisfaction: USAA
- Best Customer Service: USAA
- Lowest Premiums: Gainsco
- Great If You Have a Perfect Record: Country
- Best If You Have a Less-Than-Perfect Record: Gainsco
Here is a look at your legal requirements for minimum auto insurance coverage in the state of Arizona, also called “mandatory insurance.” These requirements include both your bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.
Coverage for bodily injury liability is for the medical expenses of others. If you are responsible for an accident, this coverage will pay for their injuries, medical bills, and more. For accidents that injure more than one person, the total bodily injury coverage is divided between the parties involved.
Conversely, coverage for property damage liability is, as the name suggests, for property. If you’re responsible for an accident that damages or totals another person’s vehicle, building, structure, or other object, this coverage will pay for it (up to your total maximum).
Legal drivers in Arizona must maintain minimum coverage.
|Bodily Damage Liability|
|Death or injury of one person in any one accident||$15,000 minimum|
|Death or injury of 2+ people in any one accident||$30,000 minimum|
|Property Damage Liability||$10,000 minimum|
If you can show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a $40,000 bond, certificate of deposit, or cash, you are able to self-insure your vehicle. To learn more about self-insuring, contact the Arizona Department of Insurance.
Anyone caught driving in Arizona without minimum liability coverage will face some pretty steep penalties. You’ll not only be unable to register your vehicle, you’re also an uninsured driver and cannot legally operate a motor vehicle in the state.
If you get pulled over or in an auto accident and are unable to provide proof of valid auto insurance coverage when asked, you will be ticketed. The fine is $500 for the first offense, and your registration and driver’s license will both be suspended for three months. In order to reinstate both, you’ll need to provide proof of coverage, as well as pay a $10 reinstatement fee for your driver’s license and a $50 fee for your registration/license plates. If you don’t actually have auto insurance coverage, you may also be required to hold an SR-22 certificate for two years following the license reinstatement.
The penalties get steeper for subsequent offenses, too. If you’re caught a second time within three years of the first offense, you can expect the fine to jump to $750, plus a six-month suspension. As with the first offense, you’ll need to pay a total of $60 in reinstatement fees following the suspension period, payment of the fine, and proof of valid coverage. You may also be required to hold the aforementioned SR-22 certificate.
Third and subsequent offenses come with a $1,000 fine, one-year suspension, $60 in reinstatement fees, and SR-22 requirement.
Beyond the suspension and fine implications of getting caught without insurance, you also run the risk of serious financial ruin. If you’re at-fault in an accident and aren’t carrying state minimum coverage, you’ll be responsible for any damages or injuries caused to other parties. Any resulting lawsuits could be detrimental for many years to come. Plus, of course, you’ll now have to worry about the fine(s), suspended license, and SR-22 policy.
An SR-22 insurance policy is a pricey product, reserved for those with serious violations and convictions. A SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility certificate increases the cost of your monthly premiums and will impact your insurance for years–even after the court requirement has passed.
Arizona allows its drivers to do something called de-insuring. If you need to put your auto insurance coverage on hold temporarily–either because you cannot afford to drive, are traveling, etc.–you can de-insure the vehicle.
De-insuring requires you to fill out and submit a form stating your reason for suspending coverage, and the dates that you would like to de-insure your vehicle. Your registration will be suspended if you’re caught driving the vehicle during this time. You can safely pause your auto insurance coverage until you’re ready to resume driving.
However, if you’re caught driving the vehicle at any time during the de-insurance period, you will be subject to the same penalties as above (and may even be denied the ability to de-insure vehicles in the future).
Proof of Insurance
It’s important to always maintain a valid auto policy with the minimum amount of state liability coverage. However, that’s only half the battle–you actually have to carry proof of that coverage every time you get behind the wheel.
The state of Arizona requires drivers to carry their auto policy’s proof of coverage, in the form of an insurance card, print-out, or even mobile policy documents. Most insurance companies will provide you with a hard copy, a PDF for printing, give you access to a mobile app with a digital insurance card, or a combination of all three. It’s important to have access to at least one of these every time you drive.
This proof of insurance will contain a few things:
- Name and contact information for the insurance company
- Name of the policyholder
- Policy number
- All vehicles covered under the policy
- Valid dates of coverage
It may also contain information about the policy limits, your address, and other drivers on the policy.
Many insurance companies today will report directly to the MVD if your policy is cancelled or lapses. This means that even though you need to still show proof of coverage, the police officer who pulls you over or responds to your accident will already know whether you have valid, state-minimum coverage.
If you meet the requirements and decide to self-insure, you’ll need to carry a copy of your approved self-insurance certificate as well as the proof of surety bond. This is your proof of coverage.
If you’re wondering how much you can expect to pay for your auto insurance in Arizona–and whether that’s a good deal or not–you’re in luck. The average cost of coverage in the Grand Canyon State is the lowest in the country.
According to data from QuoteWizard, the average total cost for auto insurance coverage in the Golden State is $843.92, which equates to about $70.33 a month. Broken down further, we find an average annual cost of $508.76 for liability coverage, $277.96 average for collision coverage, and $186.12 average for comprehensive coverage.
|Total Cost Per Year||$843.92|
|Price Per Month||$70.33|
As you can imagine, the cost of your actual policy could vary, depending on a number of factors. Your driving record, age, the vehicle you own, your location within the state, and any discounts you may qualify for could all impact the price you pay.
Most people want to know where they can find the “cheapest” auto insurance, but that’s a loaded question. After all, the company that’s the least expensive for the soccer mom down the road might not be the cheapest for the college kid with a sports car (or anyone in between). It’s hard to compare apples to oranges in the insurance world.
However, we did take some time to compare a few of the more popular companies in an apples-to-apples way, to show how they measure up to one another with the same criteria. This will allow you to get an idea of those companies that are consistently more (or less) affordable, and even get an idea of where to start your own search.
We used a sample policyholder for each of these first searches, to truly pit the companies against each other with a level playing field. Our guy is a single, 30-year-old male and has a clean driving record. He drives a 2013 Chevy Malibu and lives in Glendale.
Here’s a look at how some of the more popular companies measured up for basic coverage:
|Insurance Company||Annual Premium|
Let’s take a look at how our same example guy would fare if he instead lived in Lake Havasu City:
|Insurance Company||Annual Premium|
As you can see, your results may vary drastically based on your specific zip code. However, if you live in Arizona, you can probably bank on Ameriprise (and maybe even Country) being a cheaper insurance provider in the state.
“How much will I pay for auto insurance in Arizona?” is a difficult question. There are literally hundreds of answers! Your rate will depend on so many variables, including your:
- Marital status
- Driving record
- Vehicle(s) covered
- Whether your vehicle is financed, leased, or paid in full
- ZIP code
- Whether you own or rent your home
- Miles driven each year and the purpose of those miles (work commute, pleasure, etc.)
- How much coverage is desired
There is just no way to accurately answer that question without knowing all of your individual factors. As we talked about above, though, the average cost of an auto insurance policy across the entire state of Arizona is around $844 a year.
To make it easier for you, though, let’s narrow down the prices a bit. We will compare four different “driver profiles” to see how insurance quotes change based on certain factors. That way, you can get a better idea of what you can expect to pay in the state.
Each of our four test drivers lives in ZIP code 85546 (Safford), one of the cities with the lowest average cost across the state. It’s important to remember that if you live in a city like Phoenix, you’ll potentially pay much more.
Little Timmy is first. He is a typical high-risk driver. At 22 years-old, this college kid cruises around in a financed 2012 Chevrolet Impala. He’s received two speeding tickets within the last three years (no accidents, though). He drives to work and school everyday, for an average of about 15,000 miles a year, and rents his apartment.
Our resident parents, John and Jane Smith are your average 42 year-olds. They’re paying off the mortgage on their home, they own a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, and have a financed 2014 Toyota Sienna. They drive an average of about 16,000 miles a year. Both have bachelor’s degrees, no tickets, and Jane was in a small accident two years ago.
Next up, we have Straight-Laced Sally. She is 35-years-old, owns a 2010 Toyota Camry, and drives around 10,000 miles a year. She owns her condo, graduated college, and hasn’t been in an accident or gotten a traffic ticket in the last decade.
Last but not least, there’s Grandpa Joe. He’s 65-years-old with a 1998 Honda Civic (driving around 8,000 miles per year). He owns his home, hasn’t had a traffic ticket or accident since 1994, and earned his college degree a long time ago.
While none of these test subjects are likely to match your exact situation, you can probably relate to one of them more than the others. So, let’s see how they measure up when obtaining quotes for basic, state-minimum liability coverage in Arizona. (Quotes provided by thezebra.com.)
|Little Timmy||John & Jane Smith||Straight-Laced Sally||Grandpa Joe|
|Liberty Mutual||not given||$177||$122||not given|
As you would probably expect, accidents and citations seem to have more of an effect on premiums than any other factor. Age is the next important variable.
Each state has its own laws and regulations regarding auto insurance, which may differ from other states in the country. Let’s take a look at some of the rules that you’ll find in Arizona.
Credit Is a Factor
Some states may review your credit history to determine your insurance rates. The insurability score, as it’s often called, also uses driving history, the vehicle you own, your age, and other personal factors to calculate risk.
This may be a great thing. If you’ve spent years building up a positive credit history, you’ll be rewarded with lower premiums. However, if you have a history of late payments or judgements, or carry an excessive amount of debt, you may see a rise in the premiums quoted.
In Arizona, though, insurance companies are not allowed to take certain credit-related reports into account. These include:
- Collections related to medical bills
- Bankruptcies or liens that are more than seven years old
- A consumer’s total available credit
- An insurance score that is related to someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, or religion
An insurance company also can’t count it against you if they’re unable to obtain your credit history for any reason (even if that’s because you don’t have one established).
As we already mentioned, your location within the state plays a role in determining your auto insurance premiums. Due to traffic, rates of auto theft and vandalism, and population density, auto insurers will adjust premiums based on ZIP code alone.
This means that you can actually move within the same city or just down the road, and see your premiums jump (or drop) significantly.
In Arizona, your location is a secondary factor. That means that it has to be taken into account after your driving history and other personal factors. However, you’ll still see the price change based on your home address.
If you have trouble obtaining mandatory insurance coverage ($15,000/$30,000/$10,000) in the state of Arizona, you might be eligible for the Arizona Automobile Insurance Program (AAIP). The program is part of the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans. AAIP offers policies to high-risk drivers who have been dropped and/or denied coverage through the general market.
If you have trouble buying auto insurance in the voluntary market, due to a poor driving history or having been dropped from another insurer, reach out to the AAIP. They will connect you with insurers who will offer you a policy.
So, you’re ready to buy an auto insurance policy in Arizona. But which companies are other drivers choosing?
If you’re wondering who the most popular and highest-rate auto insurers are, you’re in luck. We researched the companies who hold the biggest market shares in the state, also looking into their consumer and financial ratings.
Here are the top providers and how they measure up:
Want to know how these insurance companies measure up to one another in terms of financial stability and customer satisfaction? Here are some scores from two of the most popular ratings bureaus, for the top five insurers in the state. We looked at both A.M. Best and JD power ratings for these comparisons.
This company is the largest auto insurance shareholder in the state, with 17.4% of the market. Here’s what its customers think:
- A.M. Best: “A++” (Superior) rating
- JD Power: #4 in the state with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
This company insures 10.1% of the Arizona market, making it the next most popular provider in the state.
- A.M. Best: “A+” (Superior) rating
- JD Power: #9 in the state with a 2-star overall satisfaction rating
Farmers Insurance Group
This company insures 8.6% of drivers in the state, but
- A.M. Best: “A” (Excellent) rating
- JD Power: #10 in the state with a 2-star overall satisfaction rating
Allstate is the fourth-largest insurer with an 8% market share.
- A.M. Best: “A+” (Superior) rating
- JD Power: #3 with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Known for its customer service and wide array of financial products, this military-based company is the state’s fifth-largest insurer with a 7.2% market share. However, it outranks the others significantly in customer service ratings.
- A.M. Best: “A++” (Superior) rating
- JD Power: #2 with a 5-star overall satisfaction rating
If you want to learn more about purchasing an insurance policy in Arizona, you can go straight to the source. The state provides plenty of useful educational materials and resources on their website, which you can view here.