When driving a State of Alaska registered vehicle, insurance is required in all areas where vehicle registration is required, except in certain areas, where neither vehicle registration nor insurance is required. Alaska minimum car insurance requirements are:
- Auto insurance policy with limits of at least 50/100/25 – meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $50,000 of bodily injury or death to another person in one accident
- $100,000 of bodily injury or death of two or more people in one accident
- $25,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in one accident.
Although personal injury protection is not required by the State of Alaska, many drivers choose to purchase it to cover any expenses they could incur if they get injured in an accident.
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Self-insurance certificates are available in Alaska through the Alaska Department of Administration, under the conditions of the following state statute AS 28.20.400:
- If you have at least 26 vehicles registered in your name:
- The department must be satisfied that the person who registered the vehicles is able to pay claims involving its vehicles in the case of property damage, bodily injury or both.
- If you have fewer than 25 registered vehicles in your name:
- You still qualify for a self-insurance certificate through the department, but you must be able to prove that you are able to pay the costs of property damage, bodily injury or both of at least $125,000.
- You must qualify by application through the Alaska Department of Administration:
- State of Alaska
- Department of Administration
- P.O. Box 110200
- Juneau, AK 99811-0200
Alaskans also have the option to use a surety bond instead of insurance if the following requirements are met under AS 28.20.070:
- Surety bond must be able to cover at least $50,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident and $100,000 for the injury or death of two or more people in an accident.
- Surety bond must also be able to cover at least $25,000 in property damage
- Surety bond must be issued by a company authorized by the State of Alaska
Required Proof of Insurance in Alaska
When driving a vehicle, insured individuals must always have in their possession proof of insurance in the form of an insurance card provided by the insurance company or a copy of the insurance policy. This must be presented to peace officers or other authorized DPS officials upon demand to prove you are insured.
Your insurance card should include all of the following:
- Name of insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Effective date/expiration date of policy
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of insured driver
Self-insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include the following:
- Certificate Number issued by Department of Administration
- Effective date of certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of driver covered by certificate
Your Surety Bond should have:
- Name of company issuing bond
- Bond number
- Name of driver covered by bond
Director of the Division of Insurance – Linda S. Hall
P.O. Box 110805
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0805
Obtaining a Driver’s License
Alaska’s laws demand a graduated driver’s licensing process for those under the age of 18, meaning that slowly, over time and proven safe driving, minors are allowed greater driving privileges. The process a teen goes through to get a driver’s license starts with a learner’s permit, goes on to the provisional driver’s license and graduates to a regular driver’s license.
Here are the requirements to obtain your learner’s permit:
- Be at least 14 years old
- Complete a driver license application Form 478
- Complete Parent Consent Form (under the age of 18)
- Show two forms of identification
- Pass a written and vision test
- Pay a $15 fee (subject to change)
Here are the requirements to obtain your provisional license for residents between the ages of 16 and 18:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have learner’s permit for at least 6 months
- Have proof from a parent, legal guardian, or employer indicating that you have had at least 40 hours of supervised driving practice (10 of those during inclement weather and/or at night) with a passenger who is at least 21 years old and has been licensed for at least one year
- No traffic violations within six months of applying for license
- Pass a written, vision, and road test
- Pay a $20 fee for the written test and a $15 fee for the road test
Here are the requirements to obtain your first license for residents 18 and older:
- Complete a driver’s license application Form 478
- Pass knowledge test (must complete before scheduling driving test)
- Pass a written, vision, and road test
- Pay a $20 fee for the written test and a $15 fee for the road test
The following documents are required for application:
- Two forms of identification
- Social Security card
- Proof of address
Those living in rural Alaska are under special circumstances since they do not live anywhere close to a DMV office and do not have access to connecting road systems. They are eligible for off-highway driver’s licenses and non-photo remote area driver’s licenses. For more information, click here.
Completing Driver Education
The State of Alaska does not require you to take a driver’s education course, although some choose to do so in order to become familiar with driving rules, traffic laws, and vehicle operation. When a person reaches the age of 14, they may enroll in a driver education course. To be eligible, a student must have an instruction permit, issued by the State of Alaska (required for the driving portion).
Alaska’s DMV provides a list of approved driving schools, complete with contact information here for those who wish to undergo driver’s education. If you decide to take a driver’s education course, it is important that you select a driving school that is state-certified and DMV-approved that employs state-approved driving instructors.
These driving schools offer driver’s education courses that typically entail a combination of behind-the-wheel driving time and class time. Driver’s education focuses on teaching student drivers basic driving techniques, how to drive defensively, strategies for driving in heavy traffic and parallel parking. In Alaska, many driving schools also offer winter driving courses that provide instruction in driving in icy and snowy conditions, use of ABS brakes, and how to recover from skids.
For example, a course for teen and new drivers offered by AA Drivers Educational School, Inc., a DMV-approved driving school in Anchorage, includes eight hours of classroom instruction, eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and includes the DMV’s road test at the end.
You can also check if your student’s school offers any driver’s education programs. Your local DMV also offers driver’s education classes. These programs meet the state requirements and have licensed instructors.
Knowing the Rules of the Road
- Drivers to exercise care — 13 AAC 02.545
- Driving a vehicle on approach of authorized emergency vehicles — 13 AAC 02.140
- Driving on mountain highways — 13 AAC 02.107
- Driving on sidewalk — 13 AAC 02.487
- Emerging from alley, driveway, or building — 13 AAC 02.257
- Flashing signals — 13 AAC 02.020
- Following too closely — 13 AAC 02.090
- Making left turns at intersections — 13 AAC 02.125
- Minimum speed regulation — 13 AAC 02.295
- Motorcycles on highways — 13 AAC 02.427
- No-passing zones — 13 AAC 02.075
- Obedience to signal indicating approach of train — 13 AAC 02.240
- Overtaking vehicles on the left — 13 AAC 02.065
- Parking meter zones — 13 AAC 02.377
- Passing on right — 13 AAC 02.055
- Required position and method of turning — 13 AAC 02.200
- Riding in and on vehicles and towed objects — 13 AAC 02.495
- Stop signs and yield signs — 13 AAC 02.130
- Traffic-control devices — 13 AAC 02.005
- Turning movements and required signals — 13 AAC 02.215
Residents of Alaska are encouraged to think carefully about the type of insurance policy they need, how much insurance they need, and how much they can afford to pay, as an insurance policy is a legal contract. While the State of Alaska only requires drivers to purchase liability coverage, and in fact there are some options for cheap liability car insurance in Alaska, many drivers feel it is in their best interest to purchase additional coverage beyond the state requirements. According to the Division of Insurance, additional coverage in an auto policy could include: physical damage coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, medical payments, rental reimbursement coverage, towing and labor coverage, and stereo coverage. It helps to familiarize oneself with insurance terminology as you examine your options. It’s also wise to research auto insurance companies to make sure they are reputable. Here we’ll explore some things consumers should think about when it comes to auto insurance.
Know Your Rates
Your auto insurance rate is determined after you have decided how much coverage you want (the more coverage you purchase, the higher your premium ), what your deductible will be, and the insurance company has carefully considered all of the risk factors associated with covering you and all other drivers in your household. According to Alaska’s Division of Insurance, some of those risk factors, such as age and sex, are out of your control. Other risk factors, such as the type of vehicle you drive and your driving record, are entirely within your control, and taking care of those factors will ensure that you find the best car insurance rates in Alaska. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted to take into account several factors, including:
- Age. Statistics indicate that drivers under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than those aged between 25 and 65 because they are less experienced behind the wheel. For this reason, drivers under 25 are considered a higher risk, so insurance companies will charge households with younger drivers more for insurance. In addition, those who are older than 65 are considered greater risks because their reaction time and overall physical ability tends to slow down.
- Sex. Statistical evidence suggests that men under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than women in the same age group, so male drivers typically must pay higher insurance rates than female drivers, who tend to enjoy low cost car insurance in Alaska.
- Marital status. Statistics prove that married couples tend to have far fewer accidents than those who are unmarried, so married couples may be offered a lower insurance rate when shopping around.
- Geographical area. As a general rule, urban drivers pay more for auto insurance than those in small towns or rural areas because the greater concentration of vehicles makes them more likely to get into an accident. Those in high-crime areas will likely see higher auto insurance rates as well, as their car is more likely to be stolen or vandalized.
- Driving record. History tells us that those with a poor driving record (i.e., they’ve been in several accidents and have made several claims), have a greater chance of getting in an accident again in the future than those with clean driving records. Accidents remain on your driving record for a period of years before your driving history is wiped clean again.
- Type of vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive and high-performance the vehicle, the more drivers will have to pay to insure them because those vehicles are more likely to be stolen and are more expensive to repair after accidents. Insurance companies also point out that red, flashy sports cars are more likely to be pulled over for speeding and other violations by police.
- Gaps or lapses in insurance coverage. If you let your insurance lapse, you could experience a rate increase.
- Annual miles driven. People who use their car for leisure will generally pay a lower premium than those who use their car for business and long-distance commuting to work day in and day out. If you don’t put many miles on your car each year, you pose less of a risk and therefore pay a lower premium.
Lower Your Rates
Speak with an insurance agent and find out exactly what your insurance plan will cover for the price you are paying so that you are getting the best price for the best coverage, as opposed to simply settling for a plan that is cheap, but may not offer much. Alaska’s Division of Insurance encourages drivers to compare premiums for similar policies offered by different insurance companies. That being said, remember that price should not be the lone deciding factor in determining which insurance company you will choose to do business with; some companies offer better quality and service that you may feel is worth a slightly higher premium, the Division notes. In other words, just because you find the lowest auto insurance rates in Alaska doesn’t mean the coverage is any good. Above all, though, make sure the insurance company is permitted to do business in the State of Alaska.
Inquire about discounts that a company may offer but not advertise, such as discounts for young drivers with good grades, drivers who have completed a driver’s education or defensive driving course, and drivers with a history of accident-free driving. This can help you secure low cost car insurance in Alaska. In addition, the law requires companies to give a discount to any primary driver older than age 55 who willingly completes a motor vehicle accident prevention course approved by the DMV. The discount is required to be applied for the three years following the successful completion of the course. For more information on driver education programs, contact the DMV Driver Improvement Bureau at (907) 273-2223.
Many insurance companies will lower your rates if you have safety features installed in your vehicle, such as anti-theft devices, airbags and anti-lock brakes. Sometimes you can get multi-car discounts on your car insurance if you have several cars covered under one policy. You can also generally save on car insurance if you bundle your car insurance and home insurance with the same company.
Those who are happy with their insurance company may be able to call in with a lower quote from a competitor and have that rate matched. Also, longtime customers of an insurance company may be able to call in and request a lower rate after many years of faithfully doing business with the company and paying their premiums on time.
In addition, pay close attention to your other insurance plans. Some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance plans, so you can opt out of paying for coverage in areas where you are already insured.
Finally, by upping your deductible, you can receive a lower rate.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
Those who sell auto insurance policies in Alaska are called producers, and according to the Division of Insurance, these producers fall into four categories, including:
- Direct marketers. These insurance companies market auto insurance through the mail, over the phone or online. Because these methods cost the company less money, they can generally pass those savings on to the consumer, which can lead to a really good deal.
- Independent agents. Independent agents are not tied down to one single insurance company; instead they represent for many different companies and can therefore connect consumers with a wider variety of auto insurance policies and premium rates. This may help you find the best rate through one person instead shopping around on your own.
- Exclusive agents. These insurance agents represent a single company and can help you choose a premium from that one company. They aim to sell policies for commission.
- Brokers. For a fee and/or commission, brokers work on behalf of the policyholder instead of the insurance company and help them find an auto insurance option that fits their particular needs.
Whichever of these options you choose, it’s vital that you ensure the company and producer you choose are licensed to do business in Alaska and have not been subject to any disciplinary action. You can enter a query into the Division of Insurance’s company search to check the status of an insurance company. You can check and see if a producer is licensed in Alaska by entering the producer’s information into the Division of Insurance’s Producer License Search. Also, you can contact the Division of Insurance directly to request information about complaints that have been filed against a particular agent or company or any disciplinary action taken against them.
If you end up having issues with an insurance company that you cannot resolve through the company itself, Alaska allows you to email the Consumer Services section of the Division of Insurance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at (907) 269-7900. Beyond that, you can also file a formal consumer complaint, either online or by printing a complaint form and mailing it in. If it is found that the insurance company has violated Alaska insurance law, the specialist assigned your case will request that the insurance company fix the problem and send you the results of the investigation.
After an Accident
Accidents happen, even to the safest drivers. In Alaska, you are required to file a police report for any accident that results in someone dying, getting injured, or sustaining $2,000 or more in damage, according to the Division. You can report the accident to your local police department or to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). You will be asked to give your account of how the accident happened and other details.
If you’re involved in a collision or your vehicle gets stolen or damaged by fire, flood, or vandalism, it’s important that you call your insurance company or producer right away or as soon as reasonably possible. They will walk you through the steps of filing your claim. You will want to ask them what documents you will need in order to file your claim. Documents your producer may need include: a proof-of-loss form, a copy of the police report, vehicle repair bills, or medical bills. It’s vital that you fully cooperate with your insurance company, providing them with all the information they need as they investigate your claim.
As a general rule, you should collect the other driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and the make and model of the car they were driving when the accident occurred. If possible, collect names and contact information of anyone who happened to witness the accident.
As expenses come in as a result of the accident, keep a record of them, as they may be covered by your insurance policy, the Division notes. Finally, you should hang on to any paperwork that you receive involving your claim and keep it on file with your other important papers, in case they are needed in the future. This can help you maintain affordable auto insurance in Alaska.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Your driving record may prevent you from receiving auto insurance coverage, especially if you have a lengthy history of accidents, tickets, or drunk driving. However, the state of Alaska makes it possible for every driver to find insurance opportunities by offering the Alaska Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan specifically covers drivers in Alaska who cannot find coverage in the voluntary market due to their driving records or any other reason that makes them a high risk. In order to qualify, be sure that you meet the following criteria:
- Possess a valid Alaska driver’s license.
- Be free of debt from any previous auto insurance policy.
According to the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans, which includes Alaska, if you are an individual or company who is having difficulty getting insured, you are to ask an agent or broker to help you apply for this particular plan. When approved, you will receive basic bodily injury and property damage coverage, unless higher coverage is required by law.
Alaska’s Division of Insurance can help you when you’re shopping for insurance. They will answer inquiries related to insurance; look into complaints with specific agencies, agents, or brokers; educate consumers on insurance law and procedures; and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can contact the Consumer Services toll-free hotline at 1-800-467-8725.