Historically speaking, Arizona has had one of the lowest auto insurance minimums in the country. However, last year in July 2020, the rules changed. Here at Jeff GOULD Law, we know that a lot has happened since then. However, with lockdowns lifting, vaccines rolling out, and life starting to get back to normal, we thought we would take the time today to explain what changes in Arizona insurance minimums mean for you.
What Is An Insurance Minimum?
Minimum car insurance sometimes referred to as ‘liability-only,’ is the insurance amount required for you to drive legally, and nothing more. Nearly every state has an insurance minimum that they require for all vehicles on the road. A minimum is set to try to ensure peace of mind for anyone involved in a vehicular accident. It is there to ensure that all parties will be at least partially covered for injuries and damages to the vehicles involved. Driving without the state-required minimum insurance is a crime and can result in serious fines.
For the past fifty years, Arizona has had an auto insurance requirement law, and there is certainly a wide variety of insurance companies to choose from. Yet it happens every day for one reason or another; an uninsured driver is involved in an accident. Often uninsured drivers are the culprits behind hit-and-run incidents too. This is because uninsured drivers know if they stay at the scene of the crime, they could be facing serious penalties such as fines and license suspension. It is important to remember, though, that a hit-and-run is far more severe of a crime than not having insurance. Those who do drive without insurance put everyone on the roadway at risk.
How Will Minimum Liability Limits Change in Arizona?
Prior to July 2020, Arizona’s minimum limits of liability were $15,000/$30,000/$10,000.
Comparatively, the new limits are $25,000/$50,000/$15,000, often shown on your policy as 25/50/15. The breakdown of what this means for you as a policyholder is: The first number, 25 or $25,000, is the maximum coverage for bodily injury liability for one person injured in one accident. The second number, 50 or $50,000, is the maximum coverage for bodily injury liability for all persons injured in one accident. The third number, 15 or $15,000, is the maximum coverage for property damage liability in one accident.
Why Change the Minimum Limits?
Back in June of 1972, the original insurance limits were set at 15/30/15. Fifty years later, those numbers look outdated. The new minimums created by this legislation aim to provide more protection for Arizona drivers. After all, services associated with these coverages, like medical and repair costs, have risen significantly in the last fifty years.
How Will This New Law Be Implemented in Arizona?
The new law has been in effect since July of last year. If it hasn’t already happened: your current policy will renew at the new minimum limits as mandated. If you take out a new policy, you will be required to purchase the new liability limits at 25/50/15.
How Does This Law Impact Arizona Drivers?
Insurance can be costly, but it is essential to take into account the actual cost of driving uninsured. In the end, these costs are considerably higher than the cost of the new liability limits. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, penalties for not insuring your vehicle start at $500. But depending on the circumstances, they can go up to thousands of dollars. Driving uninsured puts you at risk of losing your driver’s license and registration for up to one year. Not to mention the prospect of facing the financial hardship of paying for damages out of pocket if you cause an accident while driving uninsured.
Making Sure You Are Covered
If you are an Arizona driver, make sure that your auto insurance policy has been updated to reflect the new increase. However, it’s often a good idea to raise your auto insurance to be higher than the minimum. The truth is these minimums are rarely enough to cover a serious injury and could leave you liable if you cause a bad accident. While these policies are helpful, it is always best to have as much protection as possible. Please see an earlier Jeff GOULD Law Blog on protecting yourself through your own auto insurer with Uninsured Motorist (UM)/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverages.
If you have already been involved in a collision in the Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley or Sahuarita area and need help, call Jeff GOULD Law. We are the Attorney in Your Corner and we have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve. To start your free initial consultation, call us at (520) 808-4435. We’ll fight for your rights.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.