Last updated on April 26th, 2018
Drivers in Arkansas, like drivers in the other 49 states, are required to abide by certain insurance laws in order to drive legally within the state. When purchasing car insurance for a vehicle registered in Arkansas there are minimum amounts of liability coverage, which protects a driver from damages they cause to others and their property in an accident, required by state law in a few different categories. The minimum requirement for bodily injury of a single person for instance is set at $25,000 by the state while the minimum coverage for bodily injury to multiple people is $50,000. This means that in an accident the insurance company of the at fault driver that has minimum coverage will put up to $25,000 for the medical bills and other damages suffered by a single person and up to $50,000 for the financial needs of two or more people. In addition to liability coverage for bodily injuries the state of Arkansas also requires that a vehicle be covered by a minimum of $25,000 in damage to property that will be used to pay for damages incurred by other drivers in an accident caused by the policy holder. Although these are the state minimums there is nothing stopping a vehicle owner in Arkansas from purchasing more coverage than is required and since the minimums are so low in Arkansas many residents choose to do just that.
Although Arkansas state law dictates the amount of liability car insurance a vehicle must have in order to make it legally operable what the state does not require is minimum amount of the various types of coverage that are designed to protect the health and property of the policy holder. Comprehensive and collision coverage for example are types of coverage offered by auto insurance companies that are designed to protect the policy holder from damage to a vehicle incurred through a collision or other means. Uninsured and underinsured coverage function in the same way, protecting the policy holder and other insured members on the policy from having to take on the financial burden if they are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Arkansas, like every other state, does not require its residents to purchase any of these types of coverage for their vehicle though if a new car is purchased with a loan, carrying full coverage car insurance on the vehicle may not be optional.
In order to enforce the car insurance laws on the books the state of Arkansas also has various forms of penalties that a driver will incur if they violate one or more of these laws. Police officers in Arkansas for instance have the authority to issue citations to any driver they pull over that fails to provide proof of insurance for the vehicle that they are driving. These citations typically require a driver to pay a fine while also providing proof of insurance to the court and the DMV. In addition to being pulled over or involved in an accident an uninsured driver can also be caught if they allow their insurance policy to lapse. When an auto insurance policy lapses or is canceled altogether the insurance company is required to the state immediately, after which the uninsured driver will be told to adhere to regulations or risk having their vehicle registration suspended.
When an Arkansas driver is caught driving without insurance they will receive a $250 fine for a first offense and larger fines for subsequent offenses, topping out at $1,000. For repeat offenders driving without car insurance in Arkansas can even result in up to 1 year in jail, making Arkansas one of the few states that use incarceration as a form of punishment for not obeying the state’s car insurance laws. Drivers without proof of insurance could also have their vehicle registration suspended, leaving them at risk of impound if they are involved in an accident or pulled over. In order to get the vehicle registration unsuspended the owner of the vehicle will have to pay any necessary fines while also providing proof of insurance to the DMV.
Although most of Arkansas’ car insurance laws are focused on the general public there are a few state laws that seek to regulate the insurance companies themselves. The same laws that establish state car insurance minimums for example also require car insurance companies that do business in Arkansas to offer their customers minimum amounts of coverage as well as some types of optional coverage that are not required to be obtained by a driver but are required to be offered by the insurance company. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is a prime example of this since Arkansas does not require residents to purchase these two types of coverage but requires that insurance companies offer it to any customer that purchases automobile liability insurance.