state of New Mexico

Living in the Land of Enchantment means you can drive through desert landscapes with beautiful mountain backdrops, enjoy the arts scene in historic Santa Fe, and go skiing and hiking in one of several National Forests. But before you hit the road, you need to have car insurance.

Most residents in New Mexico pay below the national average for their car insurance premiums, but the price can vary significantly from city to city. If you want to find cheap car insurance (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll need to compare rates from multiple insurance carriers. Luckily, helps you get free quotes from insurance companies in your area, all from the comfort of your home.

But before you start shopping around, you need to decide what kind of coverage is right for you. So what are the requirements for car insurance in New Mexico? Is minimum coverage enough for you? And what other policies should you consider?

New Mexico Car Insurance Laws

In order to legally operate a motor vehicle in New Mexico, a motorist must obtain liability insurance with the following minimum limits:

  • $25,000 Bodily Injury Coverage per person
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Coverage per accident
  • $10,000 Property Damage Protection per accident

Your Bodily Injury policy will pay for medical costs, lost wages, or funeral expenses due to injuries sustained in an at-fault accident. Your Property Damage policy will pay the cost to repair vehicles or standing structures damaged in an at-fault accident.

Failure to provide proof of insurance to a police officer in a traffic stop can result in fines of up to $300, 90 days in jail, or both. You will also have your registration revoked, and must pay a reinstatement fee of $30.

But beyond that, if you get into a car accident without insurance, the damages are still your financial responsibility. A serious car accident can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The right insurance policy will protect your assets and prevent you from sinking into debt. But depending on your financial stability, that might mean raising your maximum limits and adding other policies.

Other Coverage Options to Consider

While carrying a Liability policy keeps you legal to drive, it doesn’t offer you any coverage if you or your passengers are injured - nor will it help cover any repairs your vehicle needs. If you can’t afford any sudden expenses, there are several other policies worth considering.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Insurance companies are required by law to offer you an uninsured motorist policy with bodily injury and property damage limits equivalent to your own liability policy, but you may choose to reject this in writing. But before you do, you should understand what you’re rejecting.

This policy is designed to act in lieu of another driver’s liability coverage if you’re in a hit-and-run accident, or if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. It can also help pay damages in an accident with an underinsured motorist. Any costs that exceed the other driver’s maximum limits will be covered by your insurance company.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Also known as “Full Coverage,” you’ll be required to carry these two policies as long as you’re paying off your vehicle. But even if you own your vehicle outright, the protection they offer will make sure you aren’t stuck without a working vehicle.

Collision coverage will pay to repair your vehicle or replace it if it’s totaled, no matter who’s at fault. Comprehensive covers damages to your vehicle caused by forces of nature, as well as protecting you from vandalism and theft.

Medical Payments

Also known as MedPay, this policy will help you pay your medical bills when you’ve been in an accident, no matter who is at fault. Though your policy might pay out as little as $1,000, it can be a great way to help meet the deductible on your health insurance, or get treatment (e.g. chiropractic therapy) that may not be covered on your health plan.

What determines your car insurance rates?

Car insurance companies use a variety of personal factors to assess your risk. The higher the risk you are to insure, the higher your insurance premiums will be. These factors include your age, gender, credit score, driving record, and address. The kind of vehicle you drive and the amount you drive will also affect the price of your policy. Some vehicles will qualify for discounts because of added safety features, while those which cost more to repair may be more expensive.

Changing your maximum limits, adjusting your deductible, and adding more policies will raise or lower your car insurance rates accordingly. If you can afford a higher deductible, it can save you money on your monthly payments. But no matter what, you need to choose the car insurance coverage that’s right for you. Accidents can be much more expensive than a policy that keeps you fully protected.

Once you sign up, your rates are subject to change. Getting a speeding ticket or making an insurance claim can drive up your rates while taking a defensive driving course may lower them. Some companies may offer accident forgiveness to some customers, which can keep your premiums from skyrocketing if you’re in an accident. Drive safe and always follow the law to protect yourself and get the best prices on your policy.

Finding Cheap Car Insurance in New Mexico

Comparing car insurance quotes is the most effective way to find the best deal on your insurance coverage. There are many insurance companies to choose from, and there is no single insurance carrier that offers the best rates to everyone. Decide on the level of coverage you need and only compare policies that have similar levels of coverage.

You can experiment with different options to find the best value with the lowest premiums. If you’re insuring an older vehicle, full coverage may not be worth it. If the cost of premiums and the deductible come close to a third of the vehicle’s market value, you are better off setting some money aside to help replace your vehicle if it’s totaled in a collision.

Be sure to take advantage of any discounts available. Many insurers offer a discount to drivers with a safe driving record, good students, vehicles equipped with safety features anti-theft devices, and motorists who drive a low number of miles annually. Discounts are one of the great ways to lower auto insurance costs and save a significant amount of money.

The bottom line

Even if you already have an insurance policy, you can save a lot of money by shopping around. Now that you know what you’re looking at, finding coverage will be as simple as choosing an insurance company with affordable rates for coverage that protects you in the worst-case scenario. So don’t hesitate - take the time to compare as many quotes as you can, buy your policy online, and have proof of insurance within a few minutes.