Alaska Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re searching for car insurance in Alaska, there’s a lot to consider when you're choosing your policy. Shopping for car insurance is not that much different than shopping for a car— first, you figure out what you want and then you start searching for the best price you can get on it.

Luckily, you don’t have to test drive your car insurance, because when you can compare car insurance quotes from your couch, all the information you need to make your selection is right there in front of you. So what do you need? How do you find the best rates? Let’s go over the basics you’ll need to know before you choose the policy that’s right for you.

Minimum Coverage Requirements:

Alaska state law has defined the minimum requirements for liability coverage to keep you legal to drive as:

  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per person. That means injuries sustained from an accident you are at fault for, including the other driver, their passengers, or anyone else who may have been hurt. This could be medical bills or lost wages for the injured party. It does not include yourself or anyone in your car.
  • $100,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. If more than one person is injured, this policy defines the maximum amount of money your policy will pay out. The rest will come out of pocket for the driver.
  • $25,000 in property damage liability. This could be damage to another vehicle or any structures damaged by the accident.
  • $25,000 coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This will pay medical bills or property damage you incur from an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist who is at fault for an accident you are in. It also includes hit-and-run drivers, and in some cases can apply to accidents with pedestrians or cyclists.

Alaskans may be confused by defined minimum coverage for the uninsured and underinsured motorist policies. You may have heard that you aren’t required to have this coverage in Alaska, and you’re right. You are allowed to waive this requirement if you exempt yourself in writing, but the insurance company has to offer it to you first. If you choose to opt out, it will not be added to any future policies with the insurance company until you request it.

Of course, these are just the minimums, and they don’t even scratch the surface of the many ways you can cover yourself. For example, Alaska has one of the highest rates of moose collision in the world. If you’ve seen a moose, you know how big they are - and an unfortunate incident like that is not only difficult emotionally, it can leave your car totaled. The minimum coverage won’t do much to help you in that scenario.

Does the mandatory insurance law apply to everyone?

Alaska is known as The Last Frontier for a reason. More than 80% of the communities in Alaska are not connected by any highway or road system. People in those areas are not required to register their vehicles or have an insurance policy to be legal to drive. However, if you do cause an accident, you are still financially responsible for damages (more on that in a moment). And if you have 6 or more points from citations on your driving record, you will be required to keep insurance in order to drive.

Of course, people in The Bush can still benefit from protection. If someone doesn’t have insurance and totals your vehicle, you’ll be stuck with the bill. If you can’t afford to replace it, covering your car is a smart choice. Not to mention, if you sustain a significant injury, your medical costs could put you in debt that a sensible insurance plan could prevent.

As long as you don’t own your vehicle outright, you will need full coverage on your vehicle, no matter where you are. There’s no getting around it—as soon as your lienholder finds out your driving uninsured, they will take action, whether it's repossessing the car or sticking you with an expensive policy you can’t afford.

How much coverage should you get?

Alaska’s financial responsibility and mandatory insurance laws state that you must have minimum liability coverage to be legal to drive, and you must pay any damages you cause in an accident, even if they exceed your coverage.

If you are unable to provide proof of insurance to a law enforcement officer during a legal traffic stop or in the event of an accident, your license will be suspended for 90 days on the first offense. You may be required to keep an SR22 insurance policy on your car in addition to the minimum coverage in order to get your license reinstated, which will hike up your premiums considerably. It’s best to carry your insurance card on you at all times.

Alaska uses a tort system to determine fault for an accident. Under their pure comparative fault rule, you might be found partially responsible for the accident, which means a certain percentage of the damages will be your responsibility. Be aware—if you haven’t shown due care in bad weather situations, you will still be held responsible. Make sure your car is equipped to handle driving on the ice before you set out.

If you are unable to pay damages you’ve caused, your license will be suspended for three years, or until you make good on your payments. If you can’t afford that risk, a more comprehensive policy to keep all your bases covered is worth it. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about paying for anything if a distracted driver T-bones you. If they don’t have enough coverage to pay for all the damage they’ve caused, your insurance company can help mitigate the difference with the right kind of coverage.

How easy is it to get a quote?

Now that you know what you’re looking for, we can help you find the best deal on car insurance without having to talk to any agents. By providing only the information insurance companies use to calculate your rates, we can get you quotes from insurance companies in your area, without having to enter any sensitive information. Comparing rates has never been easier!

Insurance agencies determine your rate by using your age, address, sex, the kind of car you drive, and how much you drive it. They also will look at your driving history and credit score, but you provide that information to us when looking up a quote, and no one will have to run any checks until you’re ready to purchase.

Once you’ve gotten some quotes, you can compare your rates. It’s a little more complicated than finding the cheapest one and signing up. You’ll want to look at the deductibles and any added features that might be included, like roadside assistance or towing services. Some of them might offer rental reimbursement for while your car is in the shop. Paying a few dollars more to the company with the better policy can make a dramatic difference in the event you need to make a claim.

Once you find the best company for you, you can sign up right away. You will need to provide more personal information to proceed, and if any of the info you used to get the quote was off, you might see some changes - so make sure you have everything right before you select your policy.

Other ways to save

There are a plethora of ways to save with different insurance policies. Usually, married couples and people with excellent credit will pay less. Many policies will offer a student discount if you maintain a high GPA. Veterans might choose a policy that offers a military discount for a better deal on their coverage. And if you need any other policies, rolling them together can save you more.

The more expensive your vehicle is, the more collision and comprehensive coverage will cost. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a brand new car will be more expensive than a used one. Some companies offer a new car discount that will let you save money on covering your brand new ride.

Safe drivers always pay less. The longer you go without filing a claim or getting a citation, the lower your rates will be. If you install a monitoring system on your vehicle, provided by your car insurance company, you can get even better rates when you demonstrate safe driving habits. A car equipped with lots of safety features can make a big difference, too. You can even take defensive driving for further savings.

Now that you’ve got all your Alaska insurance questions answered, you can get your feet wet with your first round of insurance quotes. Once you’ve compared the rates _and _the coverage from the companies, just make a choice and get driving.