Auto insurance is mandatory in Arizona. Driving without insurance will cost you up to $250 the first time you get caught doing so and subsequent offenses could lead to suspension of driving privileges in the state. Arizona is the 10th most affordable state to buy auto insurance in the United States. At $1227, Arizona’s auto insurance rates are lower than those in most other states. The national average insurance rate is $1496.
It is a well-known fact that auto accidents drive up insurance premiums. In most cases, after an accident, your insurance company is likely to increase your premium. Auto insurance rates range from an average annual insurance rate as low as $762 in Flagstaff to $1234 in Phoenix. In Flagstaff, you are likely to pay an annual average insurance rate of $938 if you have an accident on your record. With two accidents on your record, you are likely to pay $1400 per year to insure your car. In Sedona, the average insurance rate is $786, which increases to $968 after one accident and $1444 after two accidents.
In Glendale, if you have been involved in a serious accident that caused major medical injuries or property damage, your premium could be increased from $994 to an amount between $1491 and $1988. Since most car insurance companies follow the Insurance Services Office’s (ISO) surcharge schedule, your insurance rates could be increased to $1472 for a multi-car policy, and to $1718 for a single-car policy.
The table below demonstrates the increase in insurance rates according to ISO’s surcharge schedule in the different cities of Arizona.
||Average Premium ($)
||Increased premium for single-car policy ($)
||Increased premium for multi-car policy ($)
If the accident was minor and did not cause any major harm to property or human beings, your insurance company could be persuaded to keep your insurance rates the same. However, this policy of forgiving minor accidents is not followed by all insurance companies.
Arizona is one of the states where auto insurance is relatively cheap. With an annual average insurance rate of $1,227, Arizona is the 10th least expensive state to buy auto insurance. Public transport consists primarily of buses, but given the size of the state owning a car is the most convenient mode of transportation.
Arizona is one of the many states that proscribe driving without auto insurance. If you are caught uninsured or underinsured, you may lose your driving license and your vehicle registration could be suspended. The first offense could cost you up to $250. You will have to then prove financial responsibility to reinstate registration.
Alcohol impairment has contributed to 26% of the total fatalities in 2011 and 28% of the total fatalities in 2012. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatalities due to road accidents in Arizona were 826 in 2011 and 825 in 2012, of which the alcohol impaired fatalities were 212 and 227 in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Arizona has strict state laws that forbid drunk driving. The first time you are caught for this offense, you would have to pay a fine of $ 250, and this could go up to $3,250 for repeat offenders. According to Arizona’s DUI laws, driving under the influence could also land you in jail for up to 10 days if it’s your first offense. You could be incarcerated for up to 90 days if you are a repeat offender.
In addition to the above, there are some serious financial ramifications of driving under the influence in Arizona. Your auto insurance premium could skyrocket, and remain high for up to seven years. First-time offenders pay an average premium of $2282 every year after their conviction. Your premium could be brought down to $1940 by taking a defensive driving course, but it will not go back to the original premium.
Most car insurance companies also follow the Insurance Services Office's (ISO) surcharge schedule for increasing premiums. In Arizona, for multi-car policies, your premium could go up to $1472 for the first two vehicles on the policy, and up to $1718 for a single-car policy.
At an average auto insurance expenditure of $581.42 in 1989, Arizona was ranked the 14th most expensive state. At the time, the countrywide average was $30 lower at $551.95. By the time 2010 rolled around, the average cost in Arizona had gone up to $804.05, a rise of 38.3 percent. In the same period, the countrywide average had gone up 43.3 percent to $791.22. Arizona had shown a slight improvement by moving to the 18th rank on the list of most expensive states.
The figures above were obtained from a November 2013 study released by the Consumer Federation of America. The study reached several interesting conclusions after tracking insurance trends across the country between 1989 and 2010. The most interesting conclusion was that states that had stringent auto insurance regulation showed most success in keeping rates in check. For instance, the Prior Approval (PA) system, which requires to insurers to not only file rates changes but also have them approved before being implemented, is not only the most stringent but also the most successful from the consumer’s perspective. Costs in states that employed the PA system rose by 48 percent on average, whereas they went up by 70.1% in deregulated states.
The study also found that stringent regulation did not adversely affect profitability of insurers. To illustrate, states that employed the PA system showed average annual profitability of 9.4 percent whereas deregulated states showed roughly the same average annual profitability at 9.7 percent. This is another one of the key findings of the study.
Currently, Arizona employs a Use and File (U&F) system which requires insurers to file rates changes after they have already been used in the marketplace. Moreover, there is no requirement for approval whatsoever. The study shows that if Arizona were to implement stringent auto insurance regulation, including a PA system, it would benefit consumers by reducing insurance expenditure.