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Before purchasing Birmingham auto insurance, residents are encouraged to comparison shop in order to find the best premiums and policies. There are no major differences for having car insurance in Birmingham compared to other cities.
However, residents should not settle for the first insurance quote they receive.
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Birmingham, Alabama is a historic southern city well-known for its participation in the civil rights movement during the 1950’s and 1960’s. In addition to the Civil Rights District, Birmingham has 98 other historic districts that display rich parts of American history.
Located near the base of the Appalachian Mountains, Birmingham was instrumental during the industrial age with two major railroads running through the city.
Due to the growth of the population alongside the manufacturing age, the city was dubbed Magic City.
Today Birmingham also has a vibrant downtown district with a service based economy of banking and medical research. Birmingham also has world class restaurants with a large green space per capita.
Because of this and its numerous historic sites, the 242,820 residents can expect to share the road with thousands of tourists each year. More people on the road means liability car insurance while driving through the city is a necessity.
State Requirements for Car Insurance in Birmingham
As with most U.S. cities, car insurance in Birmingham is mandatory for all residents.
The state of Alabama requires all drivers to carry liability coverage for for registered vehicles. The minimum car insurance requirements are set to pay any physical or property damages a driver might cause during an accident.
Generally, the minimum liability limits for Birmingham auto insurance should cover medical expenses, car repairs, and legal fees where applicable. Residents who are licensed to drive in Birmingham are not required to have personal injury protection (PIP).
Typically, PIP insurance is a requirement in states that have a no-fault policy.
In this case, all drivers involved in an accident will share the responsibility of property damage and medical expenses. This occurs regardless of who caused the accident.
Additionally, drivers in Birmingham do not have to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage protects drivers who are the victim of a hit and run accident. This type of policy also protects drivers when another driver who does not have sufficient coverage causes an accident.
Even though PIP and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage are not required, Birmingham residents should consider adding these options to their policies. This provides added protection against the unknown occurrences on the road.
The minimum liability car insurance requirements for Birmingham residents include:
- $25,000 liability for the injury of one person
- $50,000 liability for all persons injured in an accident
- $25,000 liability for property damage in an accident
Besides purchasing car insurance, Birmingham residents have other options to establish financial responsibility for driving. Residents can obtain a $50,000 minimum motor vehicle liability bond. Another option is to obtain a $50,000 certificate of cash bond.
Alabama has other requirements that residents must adhere to drive legally in Birmingham. In addition to purchasing the minimum amount of liability coverage, residents must also carry proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times.
Several documents are acceptable to meet this requirement:
- An car insurance card from the insurance company. Drivers can also use the binder, declaration page, a certificate of liability policy, or the premium receipt
- A copy of the rental agreement if the car is rented
- A copy of either the Motor Vehicle Liability Bond or Certificate of Cash Bond
- Proof of purchase copies, plus an old insurance card for new vehicle purchase (no more than 60 days from the date of purchase)
Like most states, drivers in Alabama who do not have the minimum liability coverage may face penalties. These penalties may include a suspension of the registration tag for the vehicle. Drivers can have the registration reinstated based on the offense number.
- A first offense requires paying a reinstatement fee of $100 along with providing proof that the driver has liability car insurance.
- With a second offense, vehicle registration is suspended for four months. The reinstatement fee is $200 plus obtaining proof of liability insurance.
Drivers may want to purchase car insurance amounts above the minimum state car insurance requirements. For example, if a driver causes an accident where property damage is $40,000, he is responsible for the $15,000 difference.
Additionally, drivers may need to purchase collision and comprehensive insurance coverage which pays for vehicle damages when the driver is at fault for the accident. This insurance is also generally required by lenders when a vehicle is financed.
Laws That Govern Birmingham
The state of Alabama has a Mandatory Liability Insurance (MLI) law. As outlined above, all residents are required to carry minimum liability car insurance to drive in Birmingham.
Under this law, no person is allowed to register, operate or allow another person to drive an uninsured car on the public roadways and highways.
Convictions for violating car insurance laws may result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or a six month driver’s license suspension.
The MLI law is to protect all drivers on Alabama roads. Residents can look at the coverage options from multiple car insurance companies. This can help residents choose solid policies that will protect their assets and ensure they are compliant with state car insurance law.
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Birmingham Auto Insurance Companies Authorized by the State
Alabama recognizes liability insurance policies written by companies authorized to conduct business in the state. Additionally, non-admitted insurance companies may also sell policies to residents. In these cases, the insurance company must have a surplus lines car insurance broker license.
If in doubt, residents can verify the license of an insurance company on the website of Alabama Department of Insurance. The list of insurance companies authorized to sell insurance in Birmingham include
Local Agencies That Sell Car Insurance
Residents can also find a number of local agencies registered to sell car insurance in Birmingham. Some agencies have online information for residents to begin their search for affordable car insurance rates.
It is best to contact several insurance agencies to determine the available options for the minimum requirements and any additional policy offerings.
This is not an exhaustive list of the car insurance agencies in Birmingham.
AAA-Alabama – Departments- Auto & Home Insurance
Birmingham, AL 35243
Cullifer & Associates Insurance Agency
Birmingham, AL 35216
Dixon Moore Insurance
Birmingham, AL 35244
H K Smith & Associates LLC
Birmingham, AL 35235
Watts Roger Insurance Agency
Birmingham, AL 35242
Driving Statistics that Affect Birmingham Rates
Understanding which factors insurance companies consider can help residents searching for reasonable car insurance rates in Birmingham. While factors may vary among insurance companies, the geographical location is used across the board.
Insurance companies will look at personal factors for residents and also specific information about the city. These geographical factors may include the zip code where the driver lives, crime, and driving statistics.
Personal factors that may determine Birmingham auto coverage rates include:
- Traffic violations, citations, and accidents
- Vehicle year, make, model and condition, including mileage
- Years of experience driving
Birmingham’s weather could also have a marginal impact on car insurance rates. Heavy precipitation, occasional tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms can cause hazardous road conditions.
Additionally, bad weather can cause considerable damage to vehicles which increases the level of risk for insurance companies.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety reports that more than 1,000 car accidents result in fatalities throughout the state each year. The department also estimates that every 13 minutes someone suffers injuries from a traffic accident.
Despite being the largest city in Alabama, Birmingham had only 35 fatalities in 2009.
Annual Auto Insurance Rates
Compared to other metropolitan cities, driving on Birmingham roads is relatively safe, and incidents of car theft are also lower.
Residents can enjoy lower car insurance rates than the national average, which is approximately $1,444 annually.
The average annual car insurance rate in Birmingham is $1,385. This is more than the average Alabama car insurance rate.
Comparing Quotes in Birmingham
Birmingham residents should take advantage of comparison shopping for the most affordable rate.
A number of online resources can provide quotes, policy comparisons, and discount offerings. Each can give residents low rates and optimum car insurance coverage.
Use our ZIP code tool and compare Alabama car insurance!