What is the penalty for driving without insurance in New Mexico?

Your first offense driving without car insurance in NM carries penalties of fines up to $300, license suspension, and 90 days in jail.

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The state of New Mexico requires drivers to have certain minimum amounts of liability coverage when it comes to auto insurance
  • Not having the minimum coverage amounts can lead to several consequences including fines, jail time, and suspension of your license and registration
  • Acceptance of electronic proof of insurance is at the discretion of each individual law enforcement officer

New Mexico is known for its scenic beauty and rich history, which is partially why it is known as “The Land of Enchantment.” However, if you get caught driving without auto insurance in this state, you will be less than enchanted with the penalties.

Whether you are new to the state, a new driver, or have been living and driving in New Mexico for years, you are legally required to carry the minimum amounts of auto insurance.

Compare car insurance quotes to find the coverage you need for the best rate. Enter your ZIP code above to get started.

Preventing Car Insurance Lapses

Once you have secured auto insurance, you will need to make sure that your coverage does not lapse. If your coverage lapses for any reason, you will face legal penalties. Not being aware that it lapsed is not a valid excuse in the eyes of the law.

Be sure you are paying your auto insurance premiums on time, opening all emails and mail from your auto insurance carrier in a timely manner, and be aware of when your policy is up for renewal.

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Proof of Insurance Required for Vehicle Registration

The Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) in New Mexico has contracted with a third party, PASCO, to develop their Insurance Identification Database (IIDB). On their website, you can find information regarding insurance notification letters and insurance verification.

Upon purchasing an auto insurance policy in the legally required minimum amounts, your insurance carrier should provide your information to the IIDB in New Mexico.

If you have done so but receive a Notice of Noncompliance from the MVD, contact your auto insurance company at once to get them to provide the necessary information.

If no insurance information is provided within 30 days of the date of the Notice of Noncompliance, your vehicle registration will be suspended by the MVD.

You can also provide your auto insurance information to the IIDB yourself. However, keep in mind that drivers who present false insurance documents are subject to prosecution according to New Mexico law.

Your vehicle registration can be denied or delayed if the MVD does not show current insurance coverage on your vehicle. You can have your registration suspended for not proving that you have the minimum liability auto insurance in New Mexico.

Any of the following can be provided to the New Mexico MVD as proof of meeting insurance requirements:

  • Your current auto insurance card
  • A copy of your current auto insurance policy
  • A letter on company letterhead from your auto insurance company verifying your current auto insurance coverage

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in New Mexico

Not properly insuring your vehicle in New Mexico can lead to some serious and long-lasting consequences.

First Offense

If you are stopped by an officer of the law or are in an accident and do not have auto insurance you will face fines of up to $300, as many as 90 days in jail or both. If your license is active, it will be suspended.

Second Offense

New Mexico does not have separate or additional penalties for a second offense.

Third Offense

New Mexico does not have separate or additional penalties for a third offense

Other Consequences

In addition to criminal penalties, you could face civil penalties if you cause an accident and do not have insurance coverage in New Mexico. You could be personally responsible for the damages you cause to other parties and their property.

In fact, they could sue you in civil court and you could face seizure of your assets or wage garnishment in order to pay their bills.

What Proof of Insurance is accepted in New Mexico?

New Mexico is the only state in America that does not require police officers to accept electronic forms of proof of insurance in the form of an email or phone app.

Police in this state have an informal policy of accepting electronic forms of proof, however, New Mexico state law does not cover electronic proof of auto insurance coverage.

This means that the type of proof acceptable could be left to the discretion of the police officer who stops you. As of June of 2017, only the New Mexico State Police have been instructed to accept electronic proof.

To be safe, if you are driving in New Mexico, it is wise to carry a hard copy of your proof of insurance coverage.

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How to Get Car Insurance in New Mexico

To get auto insurance coverage in the state of New Mexico, you can contact a local insurance broker, call an insurance company, or even use an online price comparison tool. These tools will help you select an insurance policy that is right for you and that you can also afford.

New Mexico drivers are required to have the following minimum liability coverages in place at all times when driving:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one party
  • $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more parties
  • $10,000 for property damage in any one accident

The bottom line is that driving without auto insurance in the state of New Mexico, or any state, is not worth the potential consequences and penalties you may face.

If cost is a deterrent to getting the minimum amount of required insurance, shop around for policies that will fit your budget. Enter your zip code into our comparison tool above to get started.

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