Shopping for cheap car insurance in Arkansas is quick and easy, and it can save you a bundle. Insurance rates are 7 percent below the national average and there are plenty of agencies that provide online estimates, so affordable rates aren’t hard to find. That doesn’t mean you should settle for your current premium. Research indicates there are still plenty of savings to be found, and all you have to do is shop around.
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Car insurance quotes depend on a ton of different factors — including your driving record, your vehicle, credit score, 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.
Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Cheap Car Insurance in Arkansas
Start your search with a couple of things in mind: customer service and financial stability. Take a look at J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ratings for the Central region. Then, confirm that each insurer on your list is financially secure by checking their financial-strength ratings from A.M. Best.
One thing they don’t say in the car insurance commercials is that one rate might be four or five times higher than the rate of another company. It’s like going to the grocery store for a gallon of milk and finding they cost from $4 to $15. Now, imagine shopping at the grocery store without looking at the prices. You might walk out of the store blindly paying four or five times more than you need to and not knowing it. If there’s anything that should motivate you to get quotes, it’s knowing you could save a bundle of money.
Arkansas’ Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
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 written 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.
Why are Arkansas’ rates below average?
With 17 car-accident fatalities for every 100,000 people (compared with 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.
Arkansas is 26th in the nation for car-repair costs, at $384 for check-engine-light-type of repairs. That could be one reason insurance rates are below the national average. Also, 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, too, could help explain the lower-than- average insurance rates in the state.
What if you’re not a full-time Arkansas resident?
If you live in Arkansas for more than six months per year or if you own a home in the state, you’ll need to be registered. If you’re a nonresident with a temporary permit, you have 10 days to register your vehicle for a permit that lasts 90 days.
Do you need more than minimum coverage in Arkansas?
If the state-minimum coverage looks low to you, it’s because it is. The average cost of a disabling injury caused by a car accident is $93,800. That’s almost $70,000 above the amount your insurance would pay. If you can’t afford $70,000 out of pocket, you can’t afford to have only the minimum required insurance. The average person has a car accident every 17.9 years, which should motivate you to be amply covered.
Choosing additional coverage should be an easy decision in Arkansas because it’s relatively inexpensive. If you have a larger budget for car insurance, it’s worth it to choose a cheaper company and increase your level of car insurance coverage rather than splurging for state-minimum coverage with a more expensive agency.
While you’re getting your quotes, don’t give up if the first number is big. Sometimes the minimum policy is expensive, but there’s not a big increase when you add on coverage. In fact, that’s one of the big misconceptions about car insurance: If minimum coverage costs this much, how will you ever afford more? Sometimes tens of thousands of dollars of additional coverage is only a few dollars more. Remember to check different coverage levels while you shop. Some of them might turn out to be more affordable than the state minimum.
What’s the difference between collision and comprehensive insurance?
If you’re trying to decide whether you need collision or comprehensive insurance, or both, know that if your vehicle is financed by a loan, you’ll likely be required to buy full coverage, including comprehensive and collision. However, if you have paid off the vehicle, you may have the choice of not buying comp and collision.
Collision insurance covers you if your vehicle hits another vehicle, if your car rolls over, or if your vehicle hits an object, such as a guardrail or a tree. It also covers damage to your car due to bad roads or hitting a pothole. Comprehensive insurance covers damage from natural disasters, damage from an object falling on your vehicle, and damage from a deer or other animal hitting your car. It also covers vandalism to your car, and even theft of your vehicle. Think about where you live, the value of your car and your driving habits to help you decide which types of coverage are right for you.
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What is no-fault insurance?
No-fault insurance in Arkansas is helpful because it gives you benefits when you’ve been injured in an car accident, and it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. If you carry no-fault insurance, and you’re injured while you are either riding in or driving someone else’s car, you will be covered.
In addition, in Arkansas your no-fault coverage applies to anyone who is driving or riding in your car and who doesn’t have his or her own insurance policy. In fact, your no-fault insurance could even be applied to the other driver or passengers in the other car, no matter who caused the accident. For this range of coverage, you may want to consider whether the cost of no-fault insurance is worth it to you. Note that while some states require this type of coverage, Arkansas is not one of them.
What happens if you’re caught driving 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 the suspension of your vehicle registration.
Do you need SR-22 insurance?
If you have a history of traffic violations, if you have been found to be driving without insurance, or if you have been caught driving under the influence, you may be required to get SR-22 insurance. More of a policy than insurance in the traditional sense, SR-22 insurance is often required in order to have your license and registration reinstated. You can purchase an SR-22 policy from your regular insurance provider. It is significantly more expensive. If you maintain a good driving record, you may eventually be allowed to drop your SR-22 insurance.
Don’t Forget to Shop Around
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 price hikes, and it will use that information to inch your premiums up higher. 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 to stop your insurance company from taking advantage of your loyalty is to shop for a new policy with other car insurance companies every year or two. This practice accomplishes two things: First, the odds are that you’re going to find a company that will offer you a better rate than your current provider. Second, 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.
If you have a credit score of 620 or lower, you’ll likely be facing some higher premiums, as well. Get that score up above 670, and you’ll find your costs dramatically decreasing. If that doesn’t work, you can shop around for a company that gives less weight to credit scores.
Fifteen states have spoken out against price optimization and banned it. Arkansas isn’t one of those states, so you’ll need to be diligent about checking your rates. Even if price optimization were banned in the state, you should still get new quotes every year. It’s highly likely your rates will go down year to year as you age, as your credit score improves, or if you make a change to your coverage.
For example, new drivers like teenagers are more expensive to insure in the beginning. This is because most coverage costs are based on a driver’s track record, and new drivers don’t have any driving history. As your teen driver ages and gains more experience, you’ll see your insurance premiums decrease.
Good drivers may find that they qualify for good-driver discounts. Keeping your driving record clean and making your insurance payments on time will help you earn better coverage and lower costs.
Best Car Insurance in Arkansas
- State Farm
- Shelter Insurance
- Safeco Insurance
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. You may find that when you upgrade your coverage to more than quadruple the state minimum, it barely raises your premium. Don’t be afraid to do some research and to apply for several quotes. It requires almost no commitment, and really, what do you have to lose?