Even the best drivers can be involved in accidents. That is why vehicle owners in Birmingham are required by state law to carry car insurance. From fender-benders on 20th Street to multi-car collisions on I-65, a reliable auto insurance policy can prevent you from facing large financial losses as a result.
Finding the best and most affordable car insurance policy is easy when you work with a local independent agent. These agents can help you obtain and compare customized quotes from some of the best car insurance companies in Birmingham. Contact an insurance agent near you to get started.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Birmingham, AL?
The average cost of car insurance in Alabama is similar to the national average rate. Shopping around for the best price has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars a year.
- National average annual car insurance cost: $1,311
- Alabama average annual car insurance cost: $1,320
Of course, average rates can only give you a general idea of what you might actually be expected to pay. Car insurance premiums can vary from one driver to the next because they are based on several considerations such as:
- The make, model, and year of the vehicle(s) you are insuring
- Your age, gender, occupation, and driving record
- Information about the other licensed drivers in your household
- Whether you own or rent your home
- The amount of liability coverage you are purchasing
- The coverage options you are including in your policy.
- The size of your deductible.
Most insurance companies offer rate reductions if you bundle your car insurance with other policies such as home insurance or renters insurance. There are usually other discounts available as well, such as lower rates for having a good driving record or for being a student with good grades.
What Are the Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Alabama?
In Alabama, vehicle owners are required to carry liability insurance. This is designed to cover other people’s property damage and medical bills if you are at fault for a collision. Your policy must include coverage of at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability per accident
These required amounts might seem pretty high, but they probably won’t be high enough if you cause a serious collision that includes multiple vehicles and injuries. If the costs of the accident exceed what your policy can cover, you will be expected to make up the difference out of pocket.
That is why many Birmingham drivers opt to purchase car insurance that has higher liability limits than the state requires. Umbrella insurance can boost your liability coverage even higher.
What Else Can Birmingham Car Insurance Cover?
In addition to the mandatory liability coverage, your car insurance provider will offer a variety of coverage options. You may want to include some or all of them in your Birmingham auto insurance policy.
Your optional coverage can include:
- Collision insurance: This covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled in a collision, regardless of fault. This is usually required by lenders or dealerships if you are financing or leasing your car.
- Comprehensive insurance: This covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled by a non-collision event such as a hailstorm or hurricane. This is usually required by lenders or dealerships if you are financing or leasing your car.
- Medical payments insurance (MedPay): This covers the cost of medical treatment if you or your passengers are injured in a collision, regardless of fault. It can pay for things your health insurance may not, like ambulance rides and copays.
- Roadside assistance and towing: This covers the costs of assistance if your car becomes disabled, such as if your engine overheats or you run out of gas.
- Gap insurance: This can pay off your car loan in full if your vehicle is totaled in a covered event. It is a good idea to have it during the first few years of new car ownership, when the vehicle’s assessed value tends to be lower than the amount you still owe for it.
- Rental car reimbursement: This can pay for the cost of renting a vehicle while yours is being repaired following a covered event.
Reviewing coverage details and costs can help you determine which, if any, of the coverage options available to you are a good fit for you and your family.
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What Is the Penalty for Driving without Insurance in Birmingham, AL?
Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor in Alabama. It can result in some tough penalties, especially if you are a repeat offender.
For a first offense, you can face:
- A fine of up to $500
- The suspension of your vehicle registration for 45 days
- A $200 reinstatement fee
- Vehicle impoundment
- A Class C misdemeanor on your record
- Possible imprisonment for up to 3 months
- Higher car insurance rates
Second and subsequent offenses can get you:
- A fine up to $1,000 for a second offense and $3,000 for additional offenses
- The suspension of your driving privileges for up to 6 months
- The suspension of your vehicle registration for 4 months
- A $400 reinstatement fee
- Vehicle impoundment
- A Class B misdemeanor on your record
- Possible imprisonment for up to 6 months
- Higher car insurance rates
Despite these harsh penalties, approximately one in six drivers in this state is operating an uninsured vehicle.
- Percentage of US drivers who are uninsured: 13.0%
- Percentage of Alabama drivers who are uninsured: 18.4%
If you are in a collision caused by an uninsured driver, that person is responsible for compensating you and your passengers for any property damage and injuries you may sustain. However, this money can often be difficult to collect.
Uninsured motorist insurance was created to ensure that you can you receive the compensation you deserve quickly and without the need to go through lengthy legal channels. Your insurance company will take on the burden of trying to get compensation from the at-fault driver.
Does Birmingham Car Insurance Cover against Auto Theft?
The auto theft rate in the state of Alabama is only a bit higher than the national rate. However, the risk is much higher in Birmingham. Residents of this city report about 1,700 stolen vehicles a year.
- National auto theft rate per 1,000 vehicles: 2.29
- Alabama auto theft rate per 1,000 vehicles: 2.68
- Birmingham auto theft rate per 1,000 vehicles: 8.32
Be aware that you can only be compensated for a stolen vehicle if your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance covers more than just car theft. It also covers loss or damage caused by a variety of other non-collision hazards like tornadoes and floods.
If you are still paying for your vehicle or if you have it on a lease, chances are good you already have this coverage. If not, you may want to look into how much it would cost for you to include this optional coverage in your Birmingham car insurance policy.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Birmingham, AL?
If you are looking for the best auto insurance to meet your coverage and budgetary needs, an independent agent in Birmingham can help. These agents work for you, not for a particular insurance company. This means they are free to shop around to find you the coverage you want at the most competitive price.
Find an insurance agent near you to get more information and to start comparing customized car insurance quotes.
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