Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • All drivers who live in Arizona must carry motor vehicle liability insurance to legally drive any vehicle they own
  • Anyone who suffers damages or injuries in a car accident is free to sue and that’s why Arizona has a tort system
  • Since auto insurance is mandatory in Arizona, owners will face a mandatory registration suspension if their policy cancels
  • If you’re stopped by law enforcement and you don’t have insurance, you will be cited and your vehicle could be towed
  • When convicted of being uninsured, you’ll pay a fine of at least $500 for your first offense and $750 for subsequent ones

Arizona has a mandatory insurance law. You must have at least a minimum amount of third-party motor vehicle liability insurance to not just drive a vehicle but also to keep it registered.

While carrying insurance is the law, currently about one in 10 drivers in the state drive without any kind of protection. Ten percent of drivers on the road are putting everyone at risk.

One of the biggest benefits of carrying insurance is that you’ll have financial protection. If you ever have an accident, all you have to do is pick up the phone, file your claim, and your insurer will do the entire investigation.

Make sure you have insurance in place so you don’t get in trouble and you have protection. Enter your ZIP code into our free rate comparison tool above to get started.

Drawbacks of being uninsured go beyond just having to handle everything on your own. If you’re uninsured, you should expect to be penalized. Check this data sheet out for state-specific penalties.

Here are some of the common penalties for being uninsured in Arizona:

Table of Contents

How to Avoid Being Penalized

Before you even review what the penalties are for being uninsured, it’s important to cover how you can avoid being penalized in the first place. Some might think that you have at least a couple days or weeks of being uninsured before you’ll ever be fined.

While you won’t have to pay the monetary fine right away, you could receive a notice that you’re being penalized months after the lapse of coverage ever happened.

The only way that you won’t face problems with law enforcement officers or with a judicial court is to purchase in-state insurance from a licensed provider from the moment that the car is registered in your name.

You must pay your premium payments on-time or the policy will cancel after the grace period. An insurance premium grace period, if there is one, is generally only 10 days long.

When your policy renews, you must pay the renewal premium to avoid a lapse after the expiration date. There are no grace periods when you’re paying the new premium for the new term.

If you switch carriers to save money, you must be prepared to make the new policy effective on the date that you cancel your old policy or there could be a period that’s defined as a lapse. Whenever there are any lapse and the tags are still in your name, you could be penalized.

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Arizona Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Arizona officials take the offense of driving without insurance seriously. Part of the reason that the state is ranked 29th in states with the highest number of uninsured motorists is that there are stiff penalties assessed to all offenders.

Here’s a list of the penalties in Arizona:

First Offense

Registered owners who are stopped by law enforcement for any reason other than having no insurance will be asked to present their auto insurance ID cards and their registration.

If the ID cards are expired or they are fraudulent, the officer can cite you or tow the car at their discretion. Penalties if you’re convicted of the offense include:

  • A fine of at least $500
  • Suspension of license plates for three months (plates will be taken)
  • Suspension of license for three months

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Second Offense

Penalties get more costly when you’ve been convicted of driving without insurance in the past and you’re convicted for a second time within a 36-month period. Habitual offenders will be assessed the following penalties:

  • A fine of at least $750
  • Suspension of license plates for six months
  • Suspension of driver’s license for six months

Third Offense

They say not to make the same mistake twice, but if you go beyond that and you make the same mistake three different times within a period of 36 months you’ll pay the price.

Not only will be you be fined, you’ll also have to find another mode of transportation for quite some time because the penalties are as follows:

  • A fine of at least $1000
  • Suspension of your license plates for one year
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for one year
  • SR-22 filing with the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles

What proof of insurance is accepted in Arizona?

Anyone who is driving around without the required proof of insurance in their car will be treated as an uninsured driver even if they are actually insured.

Be sure to that you always have an auto ID card in your possession to avoid having to appear in court even though you’re not breaking the law.

You will be asked to present an insurer-issued proof of insurance card to the Department of Transportation within 30 days of initially registering your car. After this, you are expected to carry the card with you at all times.

In Arizona, the new e-Card law makes it possible for you to show electronic proof of insurance on your smart phone to satisfy the law.

How to Get Insurance in Arizona

By law, you have to carry at least $15,000/$30,000/$10,000 in Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage when you live in Arizona. You could show an alternative form of financial responsibility, but that means you’ll have to deposit $40,000 with the state.

Since most people would rather pay low premiums, it only makes sense to buy insurance.

The best way to find an affordable plan is to shop around. All insurance companies in Arizona set their own rates and you might be surprised at how good of a deal you can find by simply comparing rates.

Reduce the time it takes to comparison shop and use our online rate comparison tool that gives you access to Arizona car insurance rates. Enter your ZIP code below to get started.