What is required in Arizona?
In Arizona, any vehicle you are driving must be covered by an insurance policy that meets the State minimum requirements.
Further, drivers are required to carry proof of current insurance with them in the vehicle.
A.R.S. § 28-4135 sets forth the requirement that a driver must have insurance, and must also have proof of insurance “within the motor vehicle.” Proof of insurance may be “displayed on a wireless communication device” (your phone), and if you display your proof of insurance on your phone, you are “not consenting for law enforcement to access other contents of the wireless communication device.” See A.R.S. § 28-4135(B).
What happens if you get a ticket for driving without insurance?
No insurance tickets are typically written as “failure to produce evidence of financial responsibility” tickets, a violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135(C). If you get a ticket for not having auto insurance, there are a couple possible outcomes.
If you actually had insurance in place at the time of the ticket, but just did not have your insurance card with you, you can produce evidence of your insurance to the court on or before the date on your ticket and the charge will be dismissed.
If you did not have insurance, it is going to get expensive. While a no insurance violation is not criminal, it is one of the most expensive civil violations you can receive. Here are the penalties:
- The first time you are found responsible for not having insurance, your driver’s license, registration, and license plates will be suspended for three months. You will also be fined about $1,000.
- If you are found responsible a second time for not having insurance within a 36 month time span, your driver’s license, registration, and license plates will be suspended for six months. You will also be fined about $1,400.
- If you are found responsible a third time for not having insurance within a 36 month time span, your driver’s license, registration, and license plates will be suspended for one year. You will also be fined about $1,860.
- Additionally, when you are found responsible for not having insurance, you will be required to maintain an SR-22 certificate for 36 months. If you don’t maintain the certificate during those 36 months, your driving privileges will be suspended.
What Is An SR22 Certificate?
If you are found responsible for driving without insurance, you will be required to provide proof that you have insurance when you go to get your license, registration and plates reinstated. However, because you have been found responsible for driving without insurance, simply providing your insurance card is not enough. You will be required to obtain what is called an SR-22 certificate from your insurance company. The SR-22 certificate is not an insurance policy, but it certifies to the state that you are insured, and that you will be insured for a particular amount of time in the future. Getting insurance when you need an SR-22 is expensive because when you tell your insurance company that you need an SR-22 certificate, they assume you are a high-risk driver.
What can be done to minimize the consequences?
If you can provide proof to the court that you have purchased a 6 month insurance policy and that you have no other insurance violations in the prior 24 months (or not more than one in the last 36 months), the court may reduce or waive the fine.
What if I get into an accident and do not have insurance?
Arizona has some pretty severe penalties if you get into an accident and do not have insurance, set forth in A.R.S. § 28-4072. In summary, if you are in an accident and you do not have insurance, the other driver’s insurance company can sue you to recover damages you caused to their policy holder’s car. If the other driver’s insurance company wins they will get a monetary judgment against you. Then the insurance company can provide proof of the judgment to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). ADOT will then suspend your driving privileges and car registration. Your license and registration will remain suspended until you either satisfy the judgment or enter into an installment payment plan to pay on the judgment.