Do I Still Need NM Auto Insurance While Out of State?

Great Seal of the State of New Mexico
If motorists are temporarily out of state for school, work, or other reasons and plan to drive a car registered in New Mexico, they are required to either maintain coverage bought in NM or file an affidavit showing that they have secured out-of-state coverage. If they are out of state and plan on leaving the registered vehicle in storage uninsured and unused, they must notify the state that they intend to do so.

Staying in Compliance while Driving Out of State

State law mandates that all motorists with cars registered in the Land of Enchantment carry New Mexico car insurance consisting of liability coverage with limits of at least 25/50/10—whether they are out of state or not—and that their policy information is recorded in the NM Insurance Identification Database (IIDB). This database is designed to synchronize information between coverage providers and the NM Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) in an effort to decrease the number of uninsured drivers in the state.

When motorists have a car registered in New Mexico but purchase coverage out of state, they must file a completed affidavit of non-use/out-of-state insurance with the IIDB. This affidavit must contain the details of the out-of-state policy, which must have at least 25/50/10 liability coverage. Filing this affidavit will show that residents who moved out of state temporarily did not let their coverage lapse.

Staying in Compliance while Storing a Vehicle

Motorists who are temporarily living in another a state and no longer have access to the registered vehicle may also choose to submit a signed and completed affidavit of non-use/out-of-state insurance to the IIDB to avoid the penalties that usually accompany owning an uninsured vehicle. This affidavit states that the car in question will not be operated, and a new affidavit must be submitted each time the vehicle’s registration is renewed. These documents can be found on the MVD website, or in an MVD office.

When vehicle owners in this situation return to New Mexico and are going to use the vehicle again, they must buy auto insurance online or in person from a licensed coverage provider before getting behind the wheel.

Penalties for Having an Uninsured Auto

New Mexico state flag shaped as a circleIf a motorist does not purchase car insurance that meets state requirements, the NM Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act states that the vehicle owner's auto registration is to be suspended until the motorist can obtain adequate coverage. Offending drivers must return their vehicle registration and license plates to the MVD within 10 days of receiving a notice of suspension or face the possibility of criminal penalties. This could include numerous fines, license suspension, and possibly a jail sentence.

To avoid potential fines and consequences for driving while uninsured, motorists are encouraged to shop around online for the lowest rates before returning to the Land of Enchantment.