by Rich Stim, Attorney
Insurance in Arizona must be through a company that is authorized to do business in the
state. If you are pulled over by a police officer, or, you are involved in a
motor vehicle accident, you must be able to produce proof of insurance.
If you are
found driving without insurance, you may have your vehicle registration and
driver license suspended. Once your suspension is over you must be able to
prove financial responsibility to receive reinstatement of your registration
and driver license.
The standards below indicate the minimum coverage required
under law in Arizona. Naturally, higher coverage can be acquired for
policyholders concerned about liability.
This is the maximum amount each person would receive for
bodily injury (“BI”) injuries.
This the total amount paid by the policy for all bodily injury to all persons.
Therefore if several people are injured, those who file first would receive
payment as defined above, and once the total payment was reached, the
remaining parties would have to sue for the amounts over these amounts.
This is the total amount paid for property damage (“PD”).
SR-22 (The “SR” stands for “safety responsibility”) is a
document that verifies that someone has automobile insurance. The SR-22 is prepared
by an insurance company and then filed (by the insurance company) with the
department of motor vehicles (DMV). The SR-22 is not an insurance policy. It is
evidence that you have a policy.
Typically, an SR-22 is required when a driver seeks to
reinstate a driver’s license after being convicted of a DUI, reckless driving, driving
without insurance, or some other driving violation that’s resulted in a
suspension. The SR-22 may be required whether you own a vehicle (owner SR-22)
or not (non-owner SR-22). The SR-22 is usually required for a number of years –
for example, five years following a DUI conviction. If the policy holder fails
to pay the premiums, the SR-22 is cancelled and an SR-26 is filed with the DMV.
When the DMV receives the SR-26, the policy holder’s license is suspended until
a new SR-22 is filed.
The good news is that most policies will increase to match
the minimum requirements of the state in which the accident occurred. The 12
states with no-fault insurance systems require that your insurer pay for your
damages (as if you had a no-fault policy).
An insurance company takes many factors into consideration
when determining your insurance rates (premiums). Some factors may seem unfair. For example,
drivers with higher education or who are married will generally receive better
rates than a driver with a similar driving record. Below are the major factors