Alaska car insurance


If you want to learn about Alaska auto insurance, we’ve got all the information you need. Keep reading for information on required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, where to go if you’re a high-risk driver, usage-based insurance options, and more.

Mandatory insurance law

Alaska is a “tort” state where state law requires all drivers to have insurance. You’ll have to have proof of insurance when you’re involved in an accident that involves death, bodily injury or property damage worth more than $501.

Minimum Alaska coverage requirements

Alaska law has certain standards for car insurance policies. Every policy must include a minimum amount of liability coverage. The following table breaks down the requirements.

Required coverage types

Minimum amount of coverage

Bodily injury liability

$50,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident
$100,000 total for all injuries in an accident

Property damage liability

$25,000 total per accident


Liability

When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $40,000 worth of coverage for all medical bills and $100,000 for all property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 50/100/25 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.

Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s medical bills or car repairs. It only covers those expenses for accident victims.

When you rent a car in Alaska, state law requires your liability coverage to extend to incidents that occur when you drive a rental car.

Penalties for driving uninsured

If you break the law and don’t buy coverage in Alaska, it could cost you. If someone crashes your car, you could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills. You could also get your license suspended. If you’ve been in an accident and don’t have car insurance, you’ll have to file an SR-22 for 3 years.

No. of offenses

License suspension

1st

90 days & until you:

  • Prove you’re insured

  • Pay a reinstatement fee

2nd & subsequent (within 10 years)

1 year & until you:

  • Prove you’re insured

  • Pay a reinstatement fee


Electronic proof of insurance

Alaska state law allows you to use electronic proof of car insurance to show you have coverage. That means a copy of your car insurance ID card displayed on a smartphone or tablet works as proof.

Many major insurers will already provide an electronic proof of insurance card. But not just any card will do. It should clearly state at least the following:

  • Name of the insurer

  • Insurance policy number

  • Policy period

  • Name and address of each insured driver

  • Policy limits

  • Make and model of each covered vehicle

Coverage considerations

Optional coverages

In addition to liability, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.

Comprehensive

It helps pay for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. In 2011, 71% of drivers in Alaska bought this coverage, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Policies with collision and comprehensive coverages are required to extend those coverages to a rented car, according to the Alaska consumer guide to insurance.

Collision

It helps pay for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. In 2011, 62% of drivers in Alaska bought this coverage, according to the NAIC.

Policies with collision and comprehensive coverages are required to extend those coverages to a rented car, according to the Alaska consumer guide to insurance.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury

It helps pay accident-related medical bills for people covered by your policy when the driver who caused the accident either:

  1. Doesn't have insurance or fled the scene of the accident

  2. Has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills

Your insurance company or agent is required to offer you this coverage when you first buy auto insurance, but you can reject it in writing.

Uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) property damage

It helps pay for repairing your car after an accident if the driver who caused the accident either:

  1. Doesn't have insurance or fled the scene of the accident

  2. Has insurance, but not enough to cover all your repairs

Your insurance company or agent is required to offer you this coverage when you first buy auto insurance, but you can reject it in writing.

Medical payments

It helps pay your accident-related medical and funeral bills after an accident. Coverage also applies to your passengers and family members, even when they’re riding in another vehicle or injured as a pedestrian. It provides coverage no matter who caused the accident.

“You may want to consider carrying this coverage even if you have health insurance that covers your family,” according to the Alaska Division of Insurance. “Medical treatment for your friends, carpool partners, or your child’s soccer team that you take to practice could all be immediately covered without waiting for fault to be assigned at the end of a lengthy claims process or lawsuit.”

Loan/lease payoff

It pays the difference between an insurance company’s payment for a totaled car and the remaining balance on the car's loan or lease.

Towing & labor

It pays for towing services when your vehicle is inoperable. It can also cover other services, including locksmiths, car parts delivery, and tire change, according to the state’s guide on auto insurance. Check with your insurer to see what kind of services is available with this coverage.

Rental reimbursement

It pays for the cost of a rental car when your insured vehicle is disabled after a covered incident. Reimbursement may be limited to a certain daily amount or number of days.

Alaska car insurance claims

Alaska uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance pays your medical and repair bills.

But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.

If you’re partially responsible, it reduces the amount you can get from the other driver’s insurer. Alaska uses pure comparative fault to sort this out.

Here’s how comparative fault works: If you’re 20% responsible for an accident, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay 100% of your bills. Instead, it pays only 80%, since you were 20% responsible. So in this example, if you have $10,000 in bills from an accident, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.

So what if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay all of your bills? You use your own policy. Medical payments coverage will help pay your medical bills. Collision will help pay your repair bills. But both of those coverages are optional. You’ll be on your own if you didn’t add them to your policy.

Alaska auto insurance rates

Average premiums for Alaska car insurance are more expensive than the nationwide average. The average cost of a policy in the state was 15.5% higher than the 2011 national average, according to the NAIC.

Available discounts

Usage-based discounts

If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.

The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in Alaska:

  • State Farm: Drive Safe & Save

  • The Hartford: Truelane

Senior discounts

In Alaska, state law requires that insurers offer a discount to senior drivers who complete an accident prevention course. To qualify for the discount, you must meet the following criteria:

In order to get the discount, make sure you take an approved course and ask your insurer for the discount. If you qualify, the discount should take effect at your next policy renewal date.

Alaska auto insurance companies

Know before you buy

If you’re buying from a small insurance company you’ve never heard of before, you may want to know more about it. Alaska monitors license information, so you can look up license background on companies and agents to find out more about your Alaska car insurer. If you buy a policy from an unlicensed company, your coverage may be worthless.

Company complaints

There’s help if you feel you’ve been wronged by your car insurer. State regulators will review your complaint about an Alaska insurer and follow up on your problem. You could get it resolved through an additional claims payout or refund.

Car insurance for high-risk drivers

Have a lot of traffic tickets, accidents, or are you considered a high-risk driver? You might have a hard time finding car insurance coverage. In Alaska, you can still turn to the

Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans

. You’ll be able to hook up with a car insurance carrier that can provide you coverage.

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