If you’re lucky enough to live in the Natural State, you’ve got plenty of scenic drives to enjoy. Between the Ozarks, three national forests, and the Buffalo National River, there are plenty of beautiful destinations. But you don’t want to hit the road without the proper coverage for your vehicle.

Like most states, Arkansas requires you to maintain minimum coverage at all times, and be able to provide proof of insurance if you’re pulled over or get into an accident. The first offense could have you paying a fine of up to $250, and the second offense could leave you out up to $500. If you’re caught driving without insurance a third time, you could pay up to $1000 and go to jail for up to a year. So what are the minimums you need to keep you legal?

Arkansas Car Insurance Law

The state's car insurance laws require drivers to maintain the following minimum coverage:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person in an accident;
  • Bodily Injury Liability: $50,000 for more two or more people
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 for property damage per accident

As with many states, Arkansas follows the tort system to establish financial responsibility. In the event of a traffic accident, the at-fault driver will be held financially responsible for bodily injury costs and property damage as a result. If the expenses amount to more than what their insurance policy limits are set at, the insured will be accountable for the remainder.

There are higher limits available, and it’s something to consider when you’re comparing quotes from different car insurance companies. Some companies can get you double or triple your coverage for only a few dollars more a month. For more on mandatory and additional coverage, contact the Arkansas Insurance Department.

So how much should motorists expect to pay? The cost of coverage fluctuates quite often, and contrary to popular belief, the state does not set the rates. Because car insurance companies are allowed to determine their prices, shoppers should obtain multiple car insurance quotes from various companies in order to find the most affordable policy.

Other coverage to consider

In 2017 (the most recent data available), Arkansas placed 10th in the number of fatalities per 100,000 people. While there were fewer overall crashes than previous years, it’s still enough to make you consider upgrading your car insurance coverage. If you’re responsible for a car accident that results in severe injuries or death, you could quickly go over the limits of the minimum coverage.

When shopping for car insurance, here are some other policies to consider:

Personal Injury Protection

If you can’t afford any sudden, large expenses, you should be aware that bodily injury policies don’t cover any injuries you or the passengers of your vehicle sustain. For that, you need personal injury protection (PIP). Even if you have medical coverage from your personal insurance policy, passengers in your vehicle are still your responsibility.

Collision Coverage

If you’re in an at-fault accident, your property damage policy won’t cover any damages to your own vehicle. A collision policy will give you coverage when you’re responsible for a car accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Beyond the risks of regular collisions, Arkansas places 9th on the list for most uninsured drivers. If an uninsured motorist crashes into you, you could be on the hook for a lot of money. Driving with an uninsured motorist policy to back you will make sure you have a drivable car.

Comprehensive coverage

Storms, wildlife, and wildfires are all capable of causing damage to your vehicle. And in the city, you could be the target of vandalism or theft. With a comprehensive insurance policy, you’ll be covered if you crash into a deer or if you wake up to busted windshields caused by falling branches. It’s worth noting, if you swerve to avoid a deer and crash into another vehicle, that will have to be covered by collision. Unfortunately, deer can’t be considered at-fault.

Roadside Assistance

Flat tires, dead batteries, or even running out of gas can leave you stranded. Roadside Assistance can get you where you need to go, and sometimes it can be as little as a few extra dollars a year. If you spend a lot of time enjoying the wilderness Arkansas has to offer, it’s worth considering.

How to cut your premiums down

Consumers looking for car insurance in Arkansas can expect to pay slightly above the national average on their insurance premiums. So what can you do to make your policy more affordable?

Your insurance agent will determine your car insurance rates by a number of factors, including your age, driving record, credit report, and the kind of vehicle you drive. Your location also affects things—people living in the higher-traffic urban areas like Little Rock pay the most. However, if you live in the suburbs and have a long daily commute, that can also raise your premiums.

Typically, having an incident-free history can save you money - sometimes as much as 10% on your premiums. Conversely, a speeding ticket or traffic accident can have you paying as much as a third more for your insurance rates. Defensive driving courses can help offset this rate hike, and can even get you a discount if you have a clean driving record. Filing a claim doesn’t always result in more expensive rates. Find out of your insurance policy will have accident forgiveness.

There are other discounts available as well, depending on the company. New cars with advanced safety features don’t cost as much for coverage. Teen drivers will typically pay three times the national average for insurance, but if they have a good GPA, they can often get a student discount. And, if you need another insurance policy like homeowners or life insurance, you can usually get a discount for bundling.

If you simply can’t get coverage through a traditional insurance policy because of your driving history, check out the Arkansas Automobile Insurance Plan. Trust us, driving uncovered will only make things worse.

Find cheap car insurance in Arkansas online

There are a lot of insurance companies, and there’s not one that’s best for everyone. Different insurance companies cater to different kinds of drivers, so you’ll need to find one that has good rates and discounts for you. With so many companies to choose from, it’s worth checking around.

You’ll want to decide how much coverage you need before you shop. You can sometimes get the minimum coverage for under $40 a month, but that doesn’t mean it’s always worth it. A high deductible can leave you broke after an accident. If you’re still paying off your vehicle, your loan holder will require you to get full coverage, and there will be consequences if you don’t. It’s a lot smarter to get the right insurance coverage than risk your lienholder sticking you with an expensive policy that only protects them (or worse, repossessing your vehicle).

Once you know the coverage you need, you should take the time to compare car insurance companies. You can do this quickly and easily by getting insurance quotes online. Within moments, you can see multiple quotes from various competitors that can issue policies in their area. All of this can happen without having to speak to an insurance agent. With no obligation to buy, you can get a low-pressure quote in no time.

The bottom line

Even though the average car insurance rates in Arkansas are above the national average, careful shopping can have you paying well below the average. Even if you’re already covered, it doesn’t hurt to see how much a new policy will cost. Choosing coverage that helps you feel secure doesn’t have to leave you without any gas money to go exploring in your free time! Why not get your free quote today?