Alabama Car Insurance Laws, Rates, and Minimums
Need to get quotes for an Alabama insurance policy or simply learn about Alabama car insurance coverage? You've come to the right place. On this page, you'll find information about the state's mandatory coverage requirements, penalties for driving uninsured, special coverage considerations you should make before buying a policy, and a helpful rate comparison generator that can get you on your way to finding multiple quotes for coverage.
To start your search for cheap rates, enter your ZIP code in the form below and hit "GO." To learn about Alabama-specific auto insurance information, keep reading.
Mandatory insurance law
Minimum Alabama coverage requirements
If you don't get auto insurance for a car registered in Alabama, you could end up having to pay for all of the damages you or someone driving your car causes in an accident. In addition, you could end up having to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees.
To be in compliance with the law, you'll have to purchase a policy that provides at least the following coverage amounts, [according to the Alabama Department of Revenue (DOR)]:
|AL minimum coverage|
|Bodily injury liability|
- $25,000 for each person injured in an accident
- $50,000 total per accident
| Property damage liability | $25,000 total per accident |
You may see a minimum policy described as a 25/50/25 liability policy. These minimum policies only provide liability coverage. That means they won't cover any of your hospital bills or any repairs to your car after an accident. It strictly pays for other people's damages that someone behind the wheel of your car causes. If you want protection for your own car, you'll need to buy collision and comprehensive coverage.
According to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average price for liability coverage in Alabama is about $354. The average price for collision coverage is $297, and the average price for comprehensive coverage us $297. The prices you get for insurance will vary widely, though, depending on the amount of coverage you get, your deductible size, and your driving profile.
Penalties & fines for driving without insurance
There are some pretty serious fines and penalties for driving without car insurance in Alabama. The following are the penalties for doing so, according to the ADR:
|Violation||Registration suspension period||Registration reinstatement fee||Fine||Total fines & fees|
|1st||Until proof of coverage is provided & fees are paid||$200||$500||$700|
|2nd & subsequent||4 months and until proof of coverage is provided & fees are paid||$400||$1,000||$1,400|
It may be wise to consider buying more than the minimums required by state law in order to protect yourself financially in certain situations. Consider the following Alabama-specific reasons to buy extra coverage.
Protecting against uninsured motorists
Uninsured motorist coverage may be a good addition to your Alabama car insurance policy. If all you have is a minimum policy and you get into an accident caused by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who has no insurance, you have no auto coverage that'll pay for your injuries. If you have uninsured motorist coverage in this scenario, though, you'd be covered. "This coverage in effect takes the place of the insurance that the other driver should have purchased but did not," according to the Alabama Department of Insurance (ADOI).
This coverage consideration is especially important for drivers in Alabama because the state has one of the highest rate of drivers without auto insurance. According to the most recent estimates from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), about 1 in 5 drivers in Alabama have no coverage. That's the sixth-highest rate in the nation.
Protecting against storm damages
Another thing drivers in Alabama should consider purchasing extra protection for is storm damage. If you want to be able to use your insurance for repairs after a hailstorm or tornado, you're going to need to add optional comprehensive coverage to your policy. According to the NAIC, about 7 out of 10 Alabama drivers choose to buy this coverage type.
Alabama has a higher-than-average volume of hailstorms. In March 2012 alone, the state saw 195 storms, with an average hailstone size of 1.13 inches for the year. Things like hail may not seem to be very threatening, but in actuality, it can cause substantial damage. For Alabama drivers who have comprehensive coverage, the average hail-related claim size is around $2,400, according to data from the Highway Loss Data Institute.
Over the past few years, Alabama has also seen some devastating tornadoes rip through the region. Comprehensive will also cover any damages caused by them.
Insurance rates & pricing
Price differences between companies & locations
Like in any state, comparing Alabama auto insurance quotes from multiple companies is an important step in the process of getting the best price on coverage.
For example, a 30-year-old married man living in Birmingham could see as large as a $400 price difference between companies, according to some sample rate comparisons provided by the ADOI. The lowest quote given to the driver in the sample comparison was a mere $293 for six months' worth of coverage. The highest quote, on the other hand, was $706.
The bottom line: Make sure you compare prices from multiple companies before settling on a policy. If you don't, you could end up paying twice as much for the same coverage.
Another thing that can drastically affect the size of your access to cheap Alabama car insurance is which part of the state you live in. One Alabama auto insurance price analysis showed that policy prices for the same driver could vary by as little as 0.3 percent to as much as 43 percent depending on location. In the analysis, Dothan had access to the lowest annual premiums, while Mobile has the highest premiums.
Tracking auto insurance price changes
State regulators allow consumers to see which companies in the state are raising or lowering rates through an online database hosted on their website. The tool is called the [Rate Bulletin Search].
From the page, you can select to view rate changes by coverage type and the date that the changes went into effect. Or you can search by company.
Discounts for drivers 55 and older
According to Section 27-13-120 of the Alabama Code, residents 55 years old or older are able to get a discount on their car insurance for taking an accident prevention course. The course must be approved by the state, and insurers are only required to maintain the discount for three years if the insured driver keeps a clean record, meaning they don't cause any accidents or commit any moving violations. Any participants can take an approved course once every three years to maintain the discount.
Eligible courses are sponsored by the National Safety Council, AAA, AARP, or another course approved by the Department of Safety. When you're considering which course to take, check with your insurer to make sure it'll get you the discount.
In August 2012, the Alabama Legislature made it easier for drivers to get the discount by adding online driving courses to the approved course list and cutting the required instruction time down to 6 hours.
Coverage verification database
Alabama officials can identify whether a car is insured using the Online Insurance Verification System (OIVS). Since January 2013, Alabama auto insurance companies have been submitting information to the OIVS about all of the policies they have covering cars registered in Alabama. OIVS is designed to track that information in a database and identify which cars lack the proper coverage required to be on the road.
OIVS is primarily used by officials who need to verify coverage before issuing a license plate, according to a presentation from the DOR. Law enforcement are also permitted to use OIVS to verify coverage during traffic stops and accidents.