Drivers in Connecticut may have difficulty finding auto insurance coverage in the “voluntary” market if they have a number of accidents or more than three traffic tickets on their records. The insurance industry uses the term “voluntary” to describe the regular insurance market where drivers can obtain quotes directly from companies. If you have trouble getting auto insurance due to a less-than-perfect driving record, you can turn to the Connecticut Automobile Insurance Assigned Risk Plan (CT ARP). This Plan will ensure that you receive coverage, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria described below. In the Constitution State, all drivers must have minimum coverages of liability auto insurance in the amounts of 20/40/10 and minimum uninsured motorist insurance of 20/40.
What is the Connecticut Automobile Insurance Assigned Risk Plan (CT ARP)?
Since 1981, the Plan's purpose is to cover as many drivers as possible, even when auto insurers consider them to be high risk. The Plan does not provide insurance directly, but instead assigns drivers to auto insurance companies that already operate in the state of Connecticut. Indeed, if a company wants to do ANY auto insurance business in the state, it must agree to cover a share of the high risk drivers.
High risk drivers are apportioned to auto insurance companies based on market share. So for example, if GEICO has 15% of the total auto insurance market in Connecticut, then it must accept up to 15% of the high risk drivers in the state. That way, the losses that generally occur with high risk drivers are spread across all companies.
Connecticut has relatively few drivers in the Plan currently. Auto insurers have improved over the years at balancing the risks and costs of covering high risk drivers. Every agent and broker who holds a valid license as an automobile insurer can explain your options if the CT ARP is where you land.
Connecticut ARP Eligibility
In order to qualify for coverage through the Plan, you have to say on your application that you tried but failed to obtain auto insurance in the “voluntary” market in the last 60 days. If that is the case, then all you need is a valid driver’s license and a car registered in the state of Connecticut. Just one thing to note - be sure to fill out the application accurately. If your insurer comes to believe that you left out or misrepresented information that is important, your insurance can be cancelled.
You may be ineligible for coverage - even through the Plan – if you failed to pay an auto insurance premium within the last 24 months, or if you have failed to bring your car in for inspection by an authorized insurance rep within the last 12 months. Happily, if you pay your bill and/or bring your car in for inspection, you can apply through the Connecticut Plan right away. However, if it is determined that you have applied in bad faith, you can be barred from applying for 12 months.
Connecticut ARP Coverage
Connecticut’s Plan makes sure pretty much the same types of auto insurance coverage are available as in the voluntary market – they just may cost you more. Once you are assigned to an insurer, the company must cover you for three years (unless you violate the terms of coverage). It’s a good time to improve your driving record, so that you may become eligible for the cheaper Connecticut auto insurance rates that are available in the voluntary market. If you remain in the high risk category after three years, you can apply again through the Plan. You may wind up with a different insurer, as assignments are made based on market share, not your individual preference.
The table below shows the mandatory minimum coverages in Connecticut. You can choose to pay a higher premium to receive higher levels of coverage, and that may be appropriate depending on your financial needs.
|Mandatory Coverage||CT Required Min. Limits||CT ARP Max. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident||$250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$10,000 per accident||$100,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM/UIMBI)||$20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident||as high as, but not higher than, twice your Bodily Injury limits*|
*The Connecticut Assigned Risk Plan allows you to buy higher coverage limits for your UM/UIMBI, up to twice as much as your Bodily Injury coverage limits of the same policy.
Your assigned insurer will offer you a couple of optional coverages, as shown in the table below, but this is at their discretion. If you wish to buy phsyical damage car insurance for your car, through the CT ARP, you can either buy both Comprehensive and Collision coverage as one, with associated deductibles ranging from $50 to $5,000 per accident, or you can buy just Comprehensive coverage alone, with the same deductibles as mentioned. Connecticut also offers Basic Reparations Benefits coverage, which covers medical expenses and lost wages in case of an auto accident. This coverage may duplicate insurance you already have (like health!) so check to see if you need this.
Here is a table of the types of optional coverage available to you through the CT ARP:
|Optional Coverages||CT ARP Min. Limits||CT ARP Maximum Limits|
|Physical Damage (Collision and Comprehensive)||the actual cash value of your car||no higher coverage, nor stated coverage limit|
|Physical Damamge (Comprehensive Only)||the actual cash value of your car||no higher coverage, nor stated coverage limit|
|Basic Reparations Benefits||$1,000 per person per accident||$5,000 per person per accident|
Connecticut ARP does cover antique vehicles – those older than 25 years. As long as you and your insurer can agree on the actual cash value – how much you’d get if you sold it in the open market – then you can obtain coverage for that amount.
Connecticut ARP Premiums and Payments
According to Connecticut’s Insurance Department, premiums for high risk drivers obtained through the Plan tend to be higher than average. There is no hard-and-fast rule for how much higher – this will vary by insurer. But you should understand what factors most auto insurers consider when evaluating you and developing your premium.
You may pay your insurance premium to your assigned insurer in one of two ways. The first is to pay 30% of that annual premium at the time of your application, and the entire balance within 30 days of receiving your policy. The second is to pay 25% of the annual premium with your application, and the remainder in 5 equal monthly installments. Note that a $4 service charge is added to installment payments.
If you choose the installment payment plan, be sure to pay your premium on time! There is no grace period with the ARP, and if your payment is late, your assigned insurer can cancel your coverage. In the happy event that you find coverage in the voluntary market, you can notify your assigned insurer, and they will send you a prorated refund of your premium.
How to Apply to the Connecticut Automobile Insurance Assigned Risk Plan
You can approach any agent and broker that holds a valid license as an automobile insurer in Connecticut to help you apply to the Plan. For more information about the Connecticut’s Automobile Insurance Assigned Risk Plan, call the Connecticut Insurance Department at (800) 203-3447.