To own and drive a car in Arkansas, you need to first buy an auto insurance policy that includes bodily injury and property damage coverage with minimum limits of 25/50/25. Additionally, although Arkansas is not a no-fault state, it requires all licensed insurers to make first party benefits available as an option to its policyholders.
When you register your car with the Office of Motor Vehicles, your insurance status will be checked against the Insurance Verification & Notification Program online database. Make sure your insurer updates your insurance status on a monthly basis as required. The Department of Finance and Administration may ask vehicle owners to submit proof of their insurance separately too. Nevertheless, always keep your current insurance ID card with you, especially when you are on the road.
|Arkansas Required Car Insurance Coverage||AR Required Min. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damages (PD)||$25,000 per accident|
Arkansas Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
To satisfy the Natural State’s minimum insurance requirements as required by the Safety Responsibility Act, you must purchase the following coverage and limits (coverage amounts):
Bodily Injury (BI): 25/50k: BI is liability insurance, or third-party coverage, which means your insurer pays for the injuries of anyone who was not in your car, whenever you cause an accident. The limits, as required by the Arkansas law, cover you for up to $25,000 worth of medical expenses per person, up to a total of $50,000 per accident in which more than one person was injured. What falls under your Bodily Injury coverage in Arkansas? It covers any necessary medical treatments and services that the injured person needs, such as ambulance transportation, surgeries, and post-injury rehabilitative treatments. With the escalating costs of medical care across the U.S., we recommend that you purchase greater limits of protection if it makes sense for your asset level and budget.
Property Damage (PD): 25k. PD is also a kind of third-party coverage, but covers the other driver/party’s property damage or loss in an accident that is caused by you. To drive in Arkansas you need to at least be covered for $25,000 for the other party’s property loss per accident. Higher limits are available with you Arkansas insurer.
Optional Coverage in Arkansas
In the Natural State, all licensed insurers are required by law to offer additional protection on top of the minimum types of coverage available to you. We highlight here two kinds of optional coverages for Arkansas motorists:
First Party Coverage: as its name suggests, this benefit covers the first party, which includes you, your family household members, and anyone sitting in or driving your car (with your permission) at the time of accident. Most importantly, it kicks in regardless of fault. There are three different component benefits and AR insurers are required to include all into any new policy unless you reject them in writing. Their specific name may vary, but in summary these benefits are:
- Medical & Hospital Benefits: necessary expenses for your injuries from an accident, covering as much as $5,000 per accident, or higher if you choose a higher limit.
- Income Disability Benefits: in case your injuries disable you, and you can't work and earn your income as a result, this helps to soften the blow. It pays you the lesser of 70% of your lost income, or up to $140 per week for no more than 52 consecutive weeks from the accident. If you are able to afford a higher premium, you have the option of higher weekly limits, depending on the Arkansas insurer you go with.
- Accidental Death Benefits: in the event that any covered person passes away within one year from the date of accident due to injuries from the accident, the legal representative, or beneficiary, of the deceased can receive $5,000 for funeral and burial expenses. Depending on your insurer, you may find higher benefits limit available in Arkansas for more premium.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM): In 2012, 16% of total auto insurance claims in Arkansas were due to uninsured motorists. To protect yourself against getting into accidents with an uninsured driver, consider getting UM or UIM protection. This is a coverage licensed insurers are required to offer you that you can decline:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): an uninsured motorist is someone one who is unable to pay for any injuries they cause you because they lack an insurance policy. UMBI, therefore, kicks in to pay on the other driver’s behalf for your medical expenses, as long as it is proven that the other driver is the major cause of the accident. The lowest UMBI limits you can purchase in Arkansas are 25/50 for a minimum policy. If you have a policy with higher Bodily Injury liability, you'll have to get higher UMBI limits.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): UMPD kicks in to pay on the other driver’s behalf for your property damage and repairs. As long as you are not the main cause of the crash, you can file UMPD claims with your insurer for reimbursements for things like headlights and bumper replacements. The lowest UMPD limit you can purchase in Arkansas is $25,000 per accident, or higher if you have purchased higher PD liability coverage.
- Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI): in Arkansas, with this coverage you are also allowed to collect from your insurer whenever the at-fault driver is underinsured. In other words, when the other driver’s liability insurance coverage is not enough to cover the total costs of your bodily injury costs, your insurer helps you with the rest. Note that Arkansas UIMBI is only available when you have UMBI in your policy.
Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility
Whenever you are involved in an accident that results in some kind of bodily injuries in Arkansas, all parties may need to have an additional certificate proving their financial responsibility. This is also known as an SR-22 form, and it's usually filed by your Arkansas insurance provider.
If you do not have a policy, or choose to not get one, there is one alternative that can be used as your official proof of insurance, provided you meet the requirements.
You may use a certificate of deposit issued by the Director of the Department of Finance and Administration (DFS), which the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles falls under, as your proof. The Director will issue such a certificate when you deposit $75,000 either in cash or securities (such as a government bond or note) with him or her. This deposit will be kept in order to satisfy any judgments against you from the accident you were involved in, and would pay out as a minimum auto insurance policy would.