Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Arkansas

Hallie Borden

I saved $1,142 in under an hour.

Shopping for cheap car insurance in Arkansas is quick, easy, and can save you a bundle. With insurance rates 7 percent below the national average and plenty of agencies that provide online estimates, affordable rates aren’t hard to find. That doesn’t mean you should settle for your current premium, though. My research indicates there are still plenty of savings to be found, and all you have to do is shop around.

I applied for six different quotes, and GEICO turned out to be my cheapest quote at $394 per year for the minimum, state-mandated coverage (and $460 for an upgraded policy). But while GEICO was the best car insurance option for me, that might not be the case for you. Auto insurance quotes depend on a ton of different factors (including your driving record, vehicle, credit score and even your propensity to shop around!) and that’s why the only way to find the best deal possible is by applying for quotes yourself. In fact, I’d recommend no less than five or six.

When you’re ready to apply for auto insurance quotes, the online quote tool is your friend. It only takes about five minutes and most, if not all, of the required data is information you’ll already know. Plus, you can see exactly what coverage you’re getting in each category, and you can tinker with optional add-ons quickly and easily. In general, it should take less than 10 minutes to get one of those quotes. If you do have to make a call, expect that to take no more than 15 minutes total. And be warned: agents will try to upsell you. Go in knowing what kind of coverage you’re looking for and which additions you’d like to price out.

From there, my advice is to not fatigue when you have to ask after each option what kind of impact it has on the monthly rate. I had to keep fighting my instinct to politely retire my line of questions. It helped me to make a worksheet with all of the options I wanted quotes in and fill it in as I went. That way, I wouldn’t feel quite so tired. Instead, I was motivated to see the blanks go away. If you keep your eyes on the prize — hundreds of dollars of savings — it makes it a lot easier to stay on the line.

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Our Top 6 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Arkansas

I started my search with a couple of things in mind: customer service and financial stability. I took a look at JD Power’s customer satisfaction ratings for the Central region and there were only three companies rated four or five stars. Since I needed a wider sample to compare, I added several from the three star section. Then I confirmed that each insurer on my list was financially secure by checking their A.M. Best score. (A.M. Best is an organization that grades insurance providers by fiscal solvency.)

After figuring out which companies to investigate, I applied for a bunch of quotes for the minimum state-required coverage for Arkansas, which is $25,000 per person, $50,000 for multiple people, and $25,000 for property damage.

Insurer My quote
GEICO $394
State Farm $429
Allstate $640
Shelter Insurance $758
Farmers $1,142
Safeco Insurance $1,536

After comparing the numbers, I was honestly shocked at the variety of rates. GEICO and State Farm were almost the same, but the difference between the cheapest and most expensive policy was $1142. That’s crazy. Safeco Insurance required me to get more than the state-mandated coverage, so the fact that it was the most expensive option made sense. However, Farmers was still $748 higher than GEICO for the exact same coverage.

One thing they don’t say in the car insurance commercials is that one rate might be four or five times the rate of another company. It’s mind-boggling, really, and is a lot like going to the cooler at the grocery store and picking between gallons of milk that range in price from $4 to $15. Now imagine shopping at the grocery store without looking at the price tags. You might walk out of the store blindly paying four or five times as much and not even knowing it. If there’s anything that motivates me to get my quotes, it’s confirming that I really am not wasting my money.

If you have a larger budget for car insurance, it’s worth it to chose a cheaper company and upgrade your level of coverage, rather than splurging for state-minimum coverage at a more expensive agency. While you’re getting your quotes, don’t give up when the first number is huge — sometimes the minimum policy is much more expensive, but there’s not a big tick up when you add on additional coverage. In fact, that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about car insurance that’s out there: If minimum coverage costs this much, how will I ever afford more. Sometimes tens of thousands of dollars of additional coverage is only a few dollars more. At the 100/300/100 mark, Safeco actually might have offered a more competitive rate than the minimum. That said, remember to check different coverage levels while you shop as well — some of them might even turn out to be more affordable than the state minimum. That’s happened to me before, and there’s no such thing as more of a no-brainer than that. More coverage for less? Why, I don’t mind if I do.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Think your loyalty to your insurance company will be rewarded? Think again. Most insurers use a practice known as “Price Optimization” to figure out exactly how much of a rate increase you’ll tolerate. By analyzing your personal information and monitoring your online activity, your insurance agency will determine just how resistant you are to change, and use that information to inch your premiums up. You know how your cable company will magically delete all those extra charges when you call and threaten to cancel? Insurance companies work the same way.

The best way stop your insurance company from taking advantage of your loyalty is to shop for a new policy every year or two. This practice accomplishes two things. First, the odds are you’re going to find a company who will offer you a better rate than your current provider. That certainly happened to me. Secondly, it will help prevent you from being taken advantage of in the future.

Believe it or not, insurers are privy to your shopping activity. So the more quotes you get, the more you show them that you’re not afraid to leave for a competitor. Otherwise, they might try to take advantage of you.

“Price optimization may use external, non-insurance databases to gather personal consumer information or detailed information about competitors’ pricing to model consumer demand and predict the response of consumers to price changes.” – Consumer Federation of America

Fifteen states have spoken out against price optimization and banned it. Arkansas isn’t one of those states. Until it’s outlawed here, we’ll all need to be diligent about checking our rates. Even if it were banned here — I’d still suggest getting new quotes every year. It’s highly likely your rates will go down year over year as you age, your credit score improves, or if you make a change to your car, ZIP code, or if your teen moves off your policy.

Arkansas Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

To drive legally in Arkansas, you must be insured for $25,000 for the injury/death of one person in an accident, $50,000 for more than one person, and $25,000 for the damage of property to another person. You’ll see this as 25/50/25 when you’re looking for quotes. It’s not legally required to have insurance that covers your own property in an accident.

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The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

If the state-minimum coverage looks low to you, it’s because it is. The average cost of a serious injury caused by a car accident is $74,900. That’s almost $50,000 above the amount your insurance would pay. If you can’t afford $50,000 out of pocket, you can’t afford to only have state-mandated insurance. The average person has a car accident every 17.9 years, which is often enough that you should make sure you’re amply covered.

Choosing additional coverage should be an easy decision in Arkansas, because it’s relatively inexpensive. My cheapest quote only went up $66 per year when I raised my coverage to 100/300/100. That also includes comprehensive coverage and a few extras. That means that if my vehicle is damaged in an accident, I’m covered. With state-minimum insurance, I’d have to pay to fix or replace my car out of pocket. $5 a month is small price to pay for that peace of mind. Even the largest discrepancy in state-minimum vs. upgraded coverage worked out to only $28 a month.

Insurance Company State-Minimum Coverage 100k/300k/100k Coverage
GEICO $394 $460
State Farm $429 $528
Allstate $640 $752
Shelter Insurance $758 $834
Farmers $1,142 $1,474
Safeco Insurance $1,536 $1,704

What happens I’m caught without insurance

Arkansas performs monthly checks of registered cars to confirm they meet the legal requirement for insurance. In addition, you’ll be asked for proof of insurance at any traffic stop. If you’re caught driving uninsured, you’ll face hefty fines and suspension of your vehicle registration.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

Your personal car insurance rate is determined by detailed algorithms that take into account factors like your age, driving history, and credit. Many of the factors they consider are out of your control, but take a look at The Simple Dollar’s chart below for ideas on how you can make your already cheap car insurance that much better.

Nine Ways To Lower Your Car Insurance


What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
New York: $174 United States: $139
Little Rock $131
North Little Rock $124
Pine Bluff $124
Jonesboro $121
Fayetteville $113
Fort Smith $111
Source: Quadrant

Why are Arkansas’ rates below average?

It’s kind of a mystery.

With 17 car-accident fatalities for every 100,000 people (compared to a national average of 10), it seems like car insurance rates should be well above the mean for Arkansas residents. Surprisingly, though, they clock in $100 less per year than the standard rate in the U.S.

Another interesting aspect to Arkansas’ rates is the fact that it has one of the highest auto repair costs in the country. It places 9th in the nation for the most expensive state with averages up to $428 for your run-of-the-mill check engine light-type repair. Delaware, the second highest state, averages $451, but its average yearly auto insurance premium is almost double Arkansas ($2,689 and $1,583 respectively). This doesn’t make a ton of sense, but then again, who’s complaining.

Used cars in Arkansas have the eighth lowest mileage in the nation — a sign that drivers in the state may drive less frequently or shorter distances than most drivers in the country. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it could be related to the slight discount on auto-insurance you’ll find shopping in Arkansas.

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

If you live in Arkansas for more than six months a year or own a home in the state, you’ll need to be registered. If you’re a non-resident with a temporary permit, you have ten days to register your vehicle for a permit that lasts 90-days.

The Bottom Line

Drivers in Arkansas have a wide variety of insurers to choose from, and it’s worth it to get as many quotes as you can. The difference between my lowest and highest quote was over $1100, and it took less than an hour to compile estimates from six different agencies. When I upgraded my coverage to more than quadruple the state-minimum, it barely raised my premium. Don’t be afraid to do some research and apply for several quotes. It requires almost no commitment, and really, what do you have to lose?

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Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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