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Obtaining Auto Insurance in Alabama

Auto insurance is a prime concern for drivers in the state, since it is required by state law. According to Alabama state auto insurance law, no one is permitted to operate, register or maintain registration on a vehicle without carrying suitable auto liability insurance. There are a few exceptions, which essentially offer ways for auto owners to self insure in limited circumstances; but on the whole, drivers in the state are generally obligated to purchase auto policies covering their vehicles. All vehicles registered or operated in the state are covered under this regulation.

Liability Insurance Required in AL

Auto liability insurance is required for all drivers in the state of Alabama. Liability auto insurance protects the covered policy holder from direct financial losses stemming from at fault accidents. Bodily injury and property damage claims from other drivers and passengers are covered by liability policies. Every auto insurance plan purchased and maintained by drivers in the state must meet certain minimal criteria, and must be issued by a state approved, fully licensed provider.

Alabama uses split limit liability insurance, which divides both policy limits and deductibles into three parts. This means that in the event of an at fault accident, the negligent driver could potentially have to pay three different deductibles plus any excess charges beyond the limits of the liability policy. These plans are broken up into single victim injury liability, multiple victim injury liability, and property damage liability protection.

The single victim injury liability is set aside for cases when one injured party comes forward and opens a claim against the covered driver's coverage. In Alabama, the minimum limit each driver should carry for single victim injury is $25,000 according to state law. For accidents when more than one injury leads to accident claims, $50,000 is the minimum limit for coverage. Property damage liability pays out for accident related damage to other cars and structures as well, the state mandating at least $25,000 in this coverage for every motorist [1].

Proof of Insurance in Vehicle

Alabama drivers are also required to carry proof of current and acceptable auto insurance in their vehicle at all times. There are different documents that can suffice as forms of proof according to legal standards. The insurance card mailed out to insured motorists by the issuing auto insurance companies is the best option of all if that is available. These cards are issued by state authorized companies licensed to sell policies in Alabama, and they contain important information about the insured vehicle and the policy itself.

This information includes the make and model of the vehicle being insured as well as the model year. The vehicle identification number, the name of the insured driver, the name of the insurance company issuing the policy, the insurance policy number, and the effective dates of the policy are all easily retrieved on this small card. Most of the time auto insurers issue these cards a couple times a year. The policy number, for example, may change with policy renewal so this is one more reason among many for drivers to go ahead and stay on top of things when their renewal comes in the mail. Opening a claim at the scene of the accident is much simpler if you have a current proof of insurance with all the pertinent information handy.

In cases where an insurance card is not available, such as in the opening days of a new policy period when the insured is still awaiting arrival of those materials in the mail, there are other acceptable documents that Alabama drivers can use to prove current insurance coverage. Often companies will issue a temporary card for use until the permanent one arrives in the mail. A binder or premium receipt issued by the agent you worked with is also permitted. An auto policy declarations page, a certificate of insurance, or the full contents of the actual policy issued for the vehicle can all suffice. Even so, it is easiest and most efficient for all parties involved to utilize the card issued by the carrier if it is available. If you lose this card, a new one can be issued at your request.

Alternatives to Auto Liability Coverage

In lieu of a car policy, the vehicle can be covered by a certificate of deposit or a motor vehicle liability bond. The amount of the bond or cash deposit cannot be less than $50,000. These options are set aside for drivers who wish to self insure and have the financial means to do so. There are specific Alabama insurance regulations regarding where to make these transactions and how to go about completing them. Full information can be had by contacting the state insurance department. Protection is important for all drivers in Alabama.

[1] Retrieved 2010-05-01.



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