What Happens If You Are in a Car Accident Without Insurance in Arizona?

driver talking to police about car accident after driving without insurance

The first thing that must be understood is that it is illegal to operate a vehicle in the state of Arizona without a minimum amount of car insurance. Arizona has mandatory insurance. This means that driving an uninsured vehicle is against the law and a punishable offense. Arizona residents are required to carry minimum levels of liability insurance at “$25,000 bodily-injury liability for one person and $50,000 for two or more people. $15,000 in property damage liability.”

If you refuse to purchase this minimum amount of liability insurance, you leave yourself open to the likely outcome of your vehicle registration being suspended, and you will likely even lose your driver’s license!

I’ve had an accident, what should I do?

Your first priority is your health and safety. Once you or a family member are able, if you have sustained injuries and aren’t at fault, you may consider contacting an Arizona law firm, such as Wattel and York for a free consultation.

In Arizona, you are not required to report a minor car accident. A minor car accident means that there was no death, no injury, and any damage to someone’s vehicle or property will not equal more than $1000.

If there is a death, any type of injury, and such monetary damage, you must report the car accident. It is recommended to report the accident immediately. If you cannot report it immediately, you must report the accident within 24 hours. Failure to report such an accident is also illegal and will result in fines and possibly incarceration.

In the case of death, injury, or damage, the other driver will likely sue you. You will have your license suspended until you pay off the judgment.

What happens next?

If you are lucky enough to avoid jail time, and even if you don’t get sued, you need to understand that this will be an expensive mistake. You will have your driver’s license, your vehicle registration, and your license plates suspended and fined up to $1,000. This is what happens on your first infraction. Penalties may become stiffer with each infraction.

When you attempt to get your suspended items back, you must prove that you are now legally insured. This is not as straightforward as it was prior to being caught without insurance. You are also going to need to have your insurance company provide you with an SR22 certificate that you are, indeed, insured and that you will continue to be insured. Having to get an SR22 will likely result in higher insurance premiums than what they would have been previously.

It will take many years of clean driving records, no accidents, and a consistently insured vehicle before you will be able to return to the lower insurance premiums you enjoyed before getting behind the wheel of that uninsured vehicle.


In short, do not drive without the mandatory minimum insurance in Arizona!  If you cannot afford the insurance payments, you definitely cannot afford the fees, fines, or judgments that will be levied upon you in the case of an accident involving the lack of insurance.