Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Coverage
Posted in Car Accidents on June 7, 2018.
Every state enforces different laws concerning car insurance, and Alabama recently enacted a minimum requirement for auto liability insurance coverage. All Alabama drivers must secure insurance coverage before registering a vehicle. If there is any lapse in coverage, the driver risks significant legal penalties. These penalties will increase if the driver gets into an accident without insurance.
Minimum Requirements in Alabama
Alabama follows a 25/50/25 rule for minimum auto insurance coverage. This means the minimum acceptable auto liability insurance coverage a driver may carry must cover up to $25,000 in bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 coverage for a single accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
It’s important to note that these are only the minimum requirements. You will usually have the option of purchasing additional types of coverage through your insurance provider. For example, an insurer may offer underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage in the event you get into a car accident with a driver who does not meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements. You may also increase your coverage amount for bodily injury, single injury, or property damage.
You may also have the ability to select different tort options through your insurance carrier. Some tort options will only allow you to claim medical expenses and property damage, but not pain and suffering. Insurance coverage fluctuates from carrier to carrier, so take the time to carefully research potential insurance carriers to find one that offers the type of coverage you would prefer.
Bear in mind that more coverage will incur higher premiums, but maintaining your coverage is important for yourself and other drivers as well. By paying your insurance premiums on time to maintain your insurance coverage, you are actually helping stabilize premium rates. Underinsured and uninsured drivers cause premium rates to increase, and maintaining your coverage helps counteract this trend.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Alabama drivers caught by police driving without the state’s minimum liability insurance coverage will face a fine of up to $500 for a first offense. A second offense could incur fines of up to $1,000 or a six-month driver’s license suspension. In addition to these penalties, a driver who operates a registered vehicle without liability insurance coverage will lose the vehicle’s registration and need to pay a reinstatement fee of $200. Subsequent violations will lead to larger reinstatement fees and a mandatory four-month suspension of the vehicle’s registration.
Driving without insurance can also cause your own insurance premiums to increase when you do purchase coverage. Insurance companies will look at your driving history and criminal record to determine how much of a risk you are and assign a premium rate accordingly. A driver with a clean record and no past lapses in insurance will likely pay much lower premiums than a driver who has an uninsured accident on his or her record.
Can an Accident Attorney Help Me?
If you wind up in an accident for which you are not at fault but you do not have insurance, you will still face legal penalties even though someone else caused the accident. An attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and help you navigate the penalties for driving without insurance. It’s also a good idea to have an attorney review an insurance policy before agreeing to it. Your attorney can help you find language in the policy that may come back to hurt you later, such as disclaimers that void coverage in certain events, or factors that could lead to a reduced or denied settlement later. If you have questions about Alabama’s minimum insurance requirements, talk to a Department of Public Safety representative or an attorney.