A car insurance policy protects your financial and legal responsibilities if you’re the at-fault party in an accident. In Arkansas, it’s illegal to drive without insurance. Every motorist must carry a minimum auto liability insurance cover to operate their vehicle legally. Likewise, you must produce proof of insurance when requested by a law enforcement officer. Over 19% of motorists drive without insurance despite the strict car insurance laws in Arkansas.
Recovering damages will be difficult if you get involved in an accident caused by such motorists. Therefore, you should understand the significance of carrying auto liability insurance and the potential consequences of driving without insurance. It’s equally important to understand how auto insurance laws in Arkansas work in respect of a compensation claim/lawsuit.
Car Insurance Minimums in Arkansas
Auto insurance minimums in Arkansas are abbreviated as 25/50/25 and include personal liability insurance. These are the coverage limits if you carry the state-mandated minimum insurance policy:
- $25,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per person involved in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 for property damage coverage per accident
The basic coverage only pays the medical expenses, property damages, and other expenses accrued by drivers, passengers, or pedestrians who got injured in the accident you caused, up to coverage limits. Your financial and legal liability doesn’t end once the policy limits get exhausted. Instead, you’ll need to pay the damages resulting from the accident.
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Arkansas as a “Fault” Car Accident State
If you’re the at-fault driver in an accident, bodily injury liability coverage will cover the other driver’s treatment costs. Conversely, property damage liability coverage will pay for damage to the other driver’s vehicle. Arkansas’ minimum insurance coverage policy doesn’t pay for repairs to your car or your treatment.
In Arkansas, your auto liability cover also kicks in if a family member driving your vehicle causes an accident. Likewise, it will pay for damages if you allowed someone else to drive your car but ended up causing an accident. It may also protect you financially when you get into an accident while driving a rental car.
Are the Insurance Minimums Sufficient?
Carrying the state-mandated auto insurance minimums only provides some coverage if you get involved in an accident. Car accidents often result in high medical and repair costs. As the at-fault party, you’re responsible for any damages resulting from an accident. Even if you carry state-mandated auto insurance, you won’t be fully protected.
From a practical standpoint, the insurance minimums provide some indemnification. However, a minimum insurance cover will only absorb the expenses until the policy limits are attained. Afterward, you’ll have to incur out-of-pocket costs.
Suppose you rear-end another vehicle, and it gets written off. If you have the minimum insurance cover, it will pay out a maximum of $25,000. Indeed, this amount is too low to purchase a new car. In this case, you’ll have to pay the difference out-of-pocket.
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How to Increase Your Coverage Limits
Given that liability-only coverage doesn’t protect your vehicle, it’s advisable to increase your coverage limit or better still, upgrade to a full-coverage policy. Typically, the upgraded policies include comprehensive and collision coverage, which cover your expenses fully. Even if you’re not the at-fault party in a car accident, the additional coverage will cushion you financially.
Some of the additional auto insurance options you can include in your liability policy include:
- Medical payments insurance covers you and the passengers in your car, regardless of fault.
- Collision coverage pays for damages to your car, even if you’re the at-fault party.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily harm insurance covers all your expenses if you get involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Roadside assistance covers minor vehicle repairs and services, including towing, battery replacement, flat tire changes, and fuel delivery.
- New car replacement coverage reimburses you the cost of a similar make, model, and year if your car gets totaled in a covered accident.
- Gap insurance pays the difference between your vehicle’s outstanding loan balance and diminished value if it’s under lease or finance.
Getting Compensated After a Car Accident in Arkansas
Arkansas has some of the nation’s strictest traffic laws. Nonetheless, many accidents occur in the state. There’s an average of 1.9 accidents for every 100 million vehicle-driven miles in Arkansas. The state follows a fault-based system in determining financial responsibility for any losses resulting from car accidents. Recoverable losses include vehicle damage, lost income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
If you suffer any losses or injuries in a car accident in Arkansas, you can pursue either of these options:
- File a compensation claim with your insurance company if the loss is covered by your policy. If the at-fault party is insured, your insurer might pursue a subrogation claim against the other driver’s carrier. If the at-fault driver is uninsured, your insurance coverage will pay your losses.
- File a third-party compensation claim against the other driver’s insurance carrier.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is usually done in civil court.
When you file a compensation claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, the chances are that they’ll try to deny responsibility or water down your claim. For this reason, you need an aggressive attorney from Morris Bart to force the insurance company to act in good faith and honor your claim.
Filing an Auto Accident Claim? Let’s Fight for You
At Morris Bart, we pride ourselves on being a team of experienced attorneys dedicated to fighting in your corner until you get compensated. We’ve been in the business for over 40 years and won more than $1 billion for our clients. Our accident claims attorneys have extensive experience negotiating with insurers to secure the best payouts for clients.
Whether you’re in Texarkana, Little Rock, or any other city in Arkansas, Morris Bart attorneys are a reliable choice for resourceful and aggressive legal representation when it comes to filing car accident claims. Don’t face an insurance company alone and risk coming out empty-handed. Instead, schedule a free case evaluation with our attorneys to discuss your case in greater detail.
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