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All Mississippi drivers need auto insurance coverage in order to be on the road legally. However, it may be a challenge to find coverage if your driving record contains things like multiple speeding tickets or accidents. If you are turned down for coverage in the Magnolia State, you can turn to the Mississippi Automobile Insurance Plan (MSAIP). As long as you meet the eligibility criteria described below, you will receive coverage for at least 3 years. And like all other Mississippi drivers, you must carry at least the minimum coverages of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for Bodily Injury and $25,000 per accident for Property Damage.
What is the Mississippi Automobile Insurance Plan (MSAIP)?
The MSAIP was formed in 1948 to provide auto insurance coverage in Mississippi’s residual auto insurance market. Auto insurers in the “voluntary” market – an industry term for the “regular” insurance market that insures most Mississippi drivers – may prefer not to cover you if they see you as a high risk driver, and that’s when MS AIP comes in.
If you apply through the MSAIP, you will be assigned to an insurer at the discretion of the MS AIP. These high-risk drivers are shared among existing companies that write automobile insurance in the state of Mississippi, so that if excessive costs occur due to accidents, those costs are shared across all the auto insurance companies in the state.
Your coverage will be allocated to an insurer based on its market share. For example, if the Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company has 18% of the total auto insurance market in the state, then they must cover 18% of the high-risk drivers. Finally, any insurance agent holding a valid Property & Casualty license in Mississippi is qualified to help you apply to the MS AIP for auto insurance coverage.
Mississippi AIP Eligibility
Only MS motorists who have a valid Mississippi driver’s license and a car registered (or about to be registered) in Mississippi have access to the plan’s coverage. In order to be able to apply for insurance through the MS AIP, you must say on your application that you have been unable to find auto insurance in the voluntary market in Mississippi within the last 60 days.
Note that you may NOT apply for insurance coverage – even through the MSAIP – if any of the following are true:
- You have an outstanding, unpaid auto insurance premium bill
- You mislead the insurance company with information on your application, and are seen as not applying in good faith
The good news is, if you pay the outstanding bill or provide the information requested, you could proceed with your MS AIP application immediately. The bad news is, if you are determined to be applying in bad faith, even the MS AIP can refuse to assign you to an insurer, and that prevents you from applying again for 12 months.
Mississippi AIP Coverage
Auto coverage choices in Mississippi are largely the same, whether you find coverage in the voluntary market or through the MS AIP. But high risk drivers may have to pay more for them. Your coverage will last for three years once you are assigned to a Mississippi auto insurer. Consider focusing on improving your driving record during this time. If you do improve, you will be able to return to the voluntary market – sometimes your assigned insurer may even offer to take you voluntarily during or after the 3-year coverage period – where you have better chance of finding lower auto insurance rates in Mississippi.
If your driving record remains less-than-stellar after 3 years, you may reapply for insurance coverage through the MSAIP again. You will be assigned to whichever Mississippi auto insurer is next in the rotation to receive a high risk driver.
The following mandatory insurance coverages are available as shown in the table below. Mississippi raised the minimum limits in 2006 for everyone, in recognition of the rising costs of auto accidents. It’s wise to consider purchasing more than the minimum coverages in Mississippi, depending on your financial situation and what assets you wish to protect. Of course, the higher your level of coverage, the higher your insurance premium will be.
|Mississippi Required Min. Limits||MS AIP Max. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$25,000 per accident||$50,000 per accident|
Your MS AIP-assigned insurer must also offer you a number of optional coverages. These include, as an example, Medical Payments coverage, which can cover medical bills regardless of who is at fault. By the Mississippi Insurance Code, you will be offered Uninsured Motorist coverage, which covers your losses that result from an accident with an uninsured driver. You may reject UM coverage in writing, if you wish.
|MS AIP Min. Limits||MS AIP Max. Limits|
|Medical Payments Coverage||$500 per person per accident||$5,000 per person per accident|
|Uninsured Motorist||$25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident||up to but not more than BI limits|
|Physical Damage (Collision and Comprehensive)||actual cash value of your car||actual cash value up to $50,000|
Mississippi’s AIP has a number of restrictions pertaining to Physical Damage coverage. For example, you must buy BOTH Collision AND Comprehensive - you cannot purchase one without the other. In addition, an insurer assigned through the MSAIP does NOT have to cover you for Physical Damage in any of the following circumstances:
- Your car is older than 10 years
- Your car is a “specially built vehicle” like a kit car
- Your car cost more than $50,000 brand new
- You fail to complete vehicle inspection by an authorized representative within 30 days of receiving your policy
If you do purchase Physical Damage coverage, you’ll have to choose a deductible. In Mississippi, your deductible options are the same for Collision and Comprehensive: $100, $250 or $500. You can read more about how deductible choices affect your Physical Damage premium here.
Talk with your insurance agent about what kinds and levels of coverage are appropriate for you. The minimum levels of coverage may not be sufficient to cover your losses in case of an accident.
Mississippi AIP Premiums and Payment Plans
In Mississippi, the premiums for high-risk drivers are usually higher than the average for the state. But there is no hard-and-fast-rule for how much higher the MS AIP policies cost compared to voluntary rates. Auto insurers use many criteria when they determine your risk and what premiums to charge you, and the same apply to MS AIP policy premium. You can read about the most common factors used by insurers here.
Paying your insurance premium to the MS AIP-assigned insurer happens one of three ways. The first is to pay the entire annual premium at the same time you submit your application. The second is to pay a 30% deposit on the annual premium when you submit your application, and the remaining 70% within 30 days of receiving your policy. The third way is an installment plan. This requires you to pay a deposit of 25% of the annual premium, and the remaining balance in five equal monthly installments. Note there is a $4 “installment service fee” added to the monthly payments, if that is the method you choose.
How to Apply to the Mississippi Automobile Insurance Plan
As mentioned above, any licensed auto insurance agent in Mississippi can help you find coverage through the MSAIP when you have been turned down in the voluntary market. For more information about the MSAIP, call the Mississippi Insurance Department Consumer Help Line at 800-562-2957.