From Fayetteville to Jonesboro, Fort Smith to Little Rock, Hope to Hot Springs, Arkansas has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you to the Ozark Mountains and the Mississippi Delta Region. They’re used by over 2 million licensed drivers, who log on average 11,000 miles a piece each year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Land of Opportunity, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Arkansas’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Arkansas state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Arkansas has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering. However, Arkansas does allow you to purchase personal injury protection in one of three parts: medical payments, lost wages and death benefits. You may purchase any or all of these coverages. If you decide not to purchase personal injurty coverage, you must reject it in writing.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Arkansas drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$25,000 property damage liability
Arkansas does not require you to carry additional coverage such as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, personal liability or Collision and Comprehensive. This type of coverage will be offered when you purchase liability insurance and will be included in your policy unless you sign a statement rejecting it. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Arkansas Auto Insurance
If you own a car in Arkansas, you are required by law to maintain adequate insurance, keep proof of insurance in your vehicle and keep your registration tags current. Fines for driving without insurance range from $50 to $250 for the first offense, $250 to $500 for the second offense and $500 to $1,000 for third and subsequent offenses, plus possible jail time of up to one year. Arkansas maintains an electronic database on insurance coverage and conducts random checks. Your license plates can be impounded and your registration suspended. If your plates are confiscated during a traffic stop, you will be charged a $20 reinstatement fee. If you are caught via electronic check, the reinstatement fee is $50.
Arkansas Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Insurance Department. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Arkansas also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Arkansas Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Arkansas Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Arkansas. The following laws have recently been enacted in Arkansas and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
Since 2012, Act 908 authorizes police officers to issue electronic traffic tickets. They must provide you with a printed copy.
Since August 2013, Arkansas motorists are required to move to the lane or position farthest from vehicles owned by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department or its contractors. These include utility vehicles, tow truck and any authorized vehicle displaying blue, red, amber, white or green lights that are flashing, revolving or rotating. The penalty can be a fine up to $500 and/or jail time, as well as suspension of driving privileges up to six months and/or community service.
There is a ban on the use of handheld phones for drivers 18-20; a ban on all cell phone use for novice drivers and a ban on texting for all drivers.