Any time you're involved in a car accident, car insurance is sure to play a big role. In this article, we’ll also discuss how much liability insurance coverage drivers must carry under Arizona law, options for making an injury-related insurance claim after a car accident, and more.
Arizona operates under a traditional "fault" or "tort" auto insurance model, which means that drivers involved in Arizona car accidents have several options. They may file a claim with their own auto insurance company, file a claim with the at-fault driver's auto insurance company, or file a personal injury lawsuit in court seeking damages from the at-fault driver.
(The opposite of a "fault" system is a "no-fault" system, which is used by several states. Under a no-fault system, drivers file claims with their own insurers, and they are usually prohibited from going to court except in a few limited circumstances. If you drive primarily in Arizona, you won't need to know the ropes of no-fault insurance, but to learn more, see No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics.)
Under Arizona law, drivers must insure their cars with at least the following amounts of coverage:
The amounts for bodily injury liability cover costs if the accident injures someone else and you are considered to be at fault for the crash. The property damage amount pays for damage to someone else’s property. For instance, if the crash pushed your car into a fence, property damage coverage would pay to repair or replace the fence.
The liability coverage discussed above won’t pay for damage to your vehicle in a crash, but in addition to this required minimum coverage, drivers in Arizona can purchase other kinds (and higher amounts) of insurance coverage. Many drivers opt for collision and comprehensive coverage, which pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it's damaged in an accident (collision), or by weather, an animal, or other object (comprehensive). Also available is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays the medical bills after an accident regardless of who was at fault. Learn more about Car Accidents and Insurance Coverage.
Drivers in Arizona must comply with the state's "financial responsibility" requirement. Most drivers do this by buying insurance and presenting proof of insurance to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. However, drivers may also "self-insure" by purchasing a bond totaling at least $40,000 and presenting proof of the bond to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In order to be driven legally on Arizona roads, a vehicle must be insured or the driver must have provided proof of self-insurance. Drivers from out of state must be covered by an insurer who is licensed to do business in Arizona.
The Arizona Department of Insurance’s frequently asked questions page includes information about auto insurance in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division also answers questions about mandatory auto insurance in the state.