Alabama Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

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Alabama Statistics Summary
Road Miles
Total in State: 102,018
Vehicle Miles Driven: 65,667 Million
VehiclesRegistered: 5,251,076
Total Stolen: 10,141
State Population4,887,871
Most Popular VehicleF150
Percentage of Motorists Uninsured18.40%
State Rank: 6th
Driving DeathsSpeeding (2008-2017) Total: 2,957
Drunk Driving Total: 1,038
Average Premiums (Annual)Liability: $394.21
Collision: $317.96
Comprehensive: $146.28
Combined Premium: $817.95
Cheapest ProviderUSAA

Alabama, also known as the “Cotton State,” is a beautiful state to live in. Home to over four million people, Alabama hosts many historical landmarks and figures that are important to the Civil Rights Movement. Though if you live in Alabama or are planning on moving here, car insurance is a necessity.

We know researching car insurance is hard work. No-one’s idea of a good time is spending hours pouring over different resources to determine the best rates and coverages. Imagine having a clear, comprehensive guide that lays out all the information for you, so you can spend less time researching car insurance and more time doing the things you enjoy.

This might sound too good to be true, but we have spent considerable time compiling the data and research so you don’t have to! We cover all the questions you might have, such as who the best providers are, state regulations, and much more.

Do you want to start comparing rates today? Enter your zip code above in our FREE online tool!

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about driving a vehicle in the state of Alabama.

Table of Contents

Alabama Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

You might be wondering where to start when it comes to coverage and rates in Alabama. Driving around the state of Alabama requires insurance, but don’t fear! We know you don’t want to pay more than you have to.

To help you decide what insurance best suits you and your budget, we’ve broken down the coverage options and rates in Alabama to make the process as easy as possible.

Below, we have provided information and helpful advice so you can get the best coverage options for your needs.

– Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Alabama

Insurance RequiredMinimum Limits – 25/50/25
Body Injury Liability Coverage$25,000 per one person
$50,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability Coverage$25,000 minimum

You might be wondering what liability insurance means. Liability insurance pays all individuals — drivers, passengers, pedestrians, etc. — who are owed compensation for property damage and/or injuries resulting from a car accident that you or anyone under your policy causes. If you cause a wreck, liability insurance pays everyone affected by the accident.

Alabama is an “at-fault” state. This means that if you are the at-fault driver, you are liable for personal injury or property claims.

In addition to Alabama being an “at-fault” state, in case of an accident, Alabama state law requires drivers to have the following minimum liability insurance:

  • $25,000 to cover death or bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 to cover death or bodily injury per accident (also called total bodily injury)
  • $25,000 to cover property damage per accident

These required liability insurances only cover the minimum amount. This means that in the event of an accident, having only the minimum amount may result in your amount running out quickly. It is best to have more than the required minimum insurance, as you never know when an accident will happen.

Further below, we will show you additional coverage options to help you make the best decision.

– Required Forms of Financial Responsibility in Alabama

What is financial responsibility? Basically, financial responsibility is proof that you have Alabama’s minimum liability coverage. Alabama law requires every driver and owner of a vehicle to have proof of financial security at all times.

Here are a few acceptable forms of proof of financial security in Alabama:

  1. Valid liability insurance ID cards
  2. Copy of your current car’s insurance policy
  3. Valid insurance binder (a temporary form of car insurance)
  4. Picture of proof of insurance on your smartphone

Important: Alabama law requires drivers to have at least one form of proof of financial security on their person when operating a vehicle. Fortunately, for those who are constantly misplacing papers, Alabama now accepts a smartphone picture as proof of financial responsibility.

You may face fines and/or jail time if you don’t have Alabama’s required financial security.

Driving without insurance in Alabama may result in the following:

  • A fine of $500 for your first violation
  • A fine of $1,000 for your second or subsequent violation
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Suspension of your car registration

If Alabama law enforcement suspends your car registration, you will have to pay $200 to have it reinstated for the first offense. For second or subsequent offenses, you will have to pay $400.

Since car insurance can cost less than a thousand dollars a year, driving without insurance may end up costing you more. Don’t risk it! The consequences when caught may quickly add up into a large bill.

– Premiums as Percentage of Income in Alabama

Alabama’s annual per capita disposable income is $33,535

Disposable personal income (DIP) is the total amount of money individuals have available to spend or save after their taxes have been paid. This means residents of Alabama have only $2,794 to spend a month! This money can quickly be eaten up when you are paying for groceries, rent and/or a mortgage, and other household costs.

When you add in car insurance, which residents in Alabama pay on average $837 for annually, the monthly budget shrinks to even less!

Monthly, $67 dollars goes to minimum car insurance. Add in additional coverage, and that monthly amount grows even higher.

We know you want to save money each month, so make sure you are getting the best deal on car insurance! Coming up, an overview of Alabama’s different coverages.

– Core Car Insurance Coverage in Alabama

Coverage TypeAnnual Costs (2015)

The above table shows the most recent data provided by the leading source on the matter, the National Association of Insurance CommissionersExpect car insurance rates in Alabama to be significantly higher for 2019 and on.

The countrywide average for car insurance is $954.99, so Alabama falls slightly below the national average of insurance costs. 

Don’t forget! While Alabama’s minimum coverage requirements are important, experts suggest purchasing more than what Alabama’s state law requires. In case of an accident, you will be glad for extra coverage.

Next, we have covered the main types of coverage options that you can add to a basic insurance plan.

– Additional Liability Coverage in Alabama

Loss Ratio201320142015
Medical Payments (MedPay)68%67%70%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UUM)74%76%83%

Med Pay, Uninsured, and Underinsured Motorist coverages are optional in Alabama. It may be tempting to skip out on these coverages because they aren’t required, but you should still have them.


Because they are some of the most important coverages in case of an accident. Uninsured drivers will likely go bankrupt before being able to pay the costs racked up in an accident. That means that if they are the at-fault driver, they will be unable to pay for property damage and medical bills.

In Alabama, 18.40 percent of motorists are uninsured. This places Alabama as 6th in the U.S. for uninsured drivers!

If you look at the table for Alabama’s loss ratios, you will see that Med Pay and Uninsured/Underinsured’s loss ratios have increased slightly. What does this mean?

It’s good news. In 2015, the top insurance companies in the U.S. had loss ratios that ranged from 94 to 112 percent. While Alabama is below these numbers, companies with high loss ratios (over 100%) are losing money. By paying out a high number of claims, these companies run the risk of going bankrupt.

Alabama also avoids having a low loss ratio — companies with low loss ratios are not paying out claims.

What to remember — avoid companies with high or low loss ratios.

– Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders in Alabama

You might be wondering what extra coverages to add to your policy. Choosing from a list of options can be daunting, and we know you want the best coverage for the best price.

To help you decide, we’ve made a list of effective extras to add to your policy. Click on the below options to learn more about them.

Any of the above coverages would be great to add to your car insurance policy. After all, the more coverage the better!

– Male vs. Female Annual Car Insurance Rates in Alabama

CompanyMarried 35-year-old femaleMarried 35-year-old maleMarried 60-year-old femaleMarried 60-year-old maleSingle 17-year-old femaleSingle 17-year-old maleSingle 25-year-old femaleSingle 25-year-old male
Allstate P&C$2,003.19$1,911.71$1,810.29$1,845.47$6,912.73$7,426.75$2,248.40$2,300.90
Geico Cas$2,056.10$2,040.76$1,948.49$2,007.68$5,383.66$5,284.58$2,171.19$2,018.96
Mid-Century Ins Co$2,391.72$2,374.46$2,137.64$2,269.18$9,212.40$9,480.84$2,718.78$2,828.88
Nationwide Mutual Fire$1,739.15$1,761.83$1,583.95$1,641.07$4,558.03$5,880.92$1,929.78$2,158.89
Progressive Specialty$2,413.50$2,264.79$1,979.19$2,112.90$9,878.37$11,026.64$2,824.87$3,005.15
Safeco Ins Co of IL$3,086.86$3,335.34$2,530.47$2,830.81$11,250.27$12,511.44$3,289.13$3,504.83
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,934.88$2,934.88$2,651.27$2,651.27$8,835.43$11,068.85$3,314.66$3,821.44
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$1,501.32$1,524.86$1,407.98$1,403.64$8,037.20$12,641.31$1,422.13$1,631.77

The above data from our researchers shows that females and males’ rates vary from provider to provider. It is a common misconception that males always pay more than females for car insurance. In general, females pay more than males. 

Hopefully, Alabama providers will continue to work on eliminating car insurance rates on the basis of gender. It is clear in Alabama, though, that the scale tips from age to age. With providers like State Farm Mutual, young teenage drivers pay more than older drivers for insurance. This makes sense when you consider that younger drivers are usually less experienced on the road.

Important: Your driving record and coverage plan will play a larger part than gender in determining your insurance costs.

– Highest and Lowest Alabama Car Insurance Rates by Zip Code

Most Expensive Zip CodesAverage CostLeast Expensive Zip CodeAverage Cost
Birmingham 35218$4,428.60Dothan 36305$3,384.78
Birmingham 35214$4,352.20Kinston 36453$3,384.75
Birmingham 35208$4,327.78Hartford 36344$3,384.66
Birmingham 35217$4,326.47Sheffield 35660$3,384.35
Birmingham 35207$4,325.57Tuscumbia 35674$3,383.56
Birmingham 35204$4,313.01Cowarts 36321$3,381.81
Birmingham 35211$4,304.81Black 36314$3,376.27
Birmingham 35206$4,301.59Cottonwood 36320$3,375.53
Birmingham 35249$4,288.29Columbia 36319$3,371.40
Birmingham 35228$4,281.12Cherokee 35616$3,370.38
Bessemer 35020$4,276.93Newton 36352$3,369.81
Fairfield 35064$4,264.43Enterprise 36330$3,368.24
Birmingham 35224$4,249.02Pansey 36370$3,365.75
Birmingham 35221$4,226.77Gordon 36343$3,362.40
Birmingham 35203$4,223.99Fort Rucker 36362$3,359.23
Birmingham 35215$4,220.08Samson 36477$3,356.68
Birmingham 35234$4,217.90Muscle Shoals 35661$3,354.44
Mobile 36615$4,216.38Skipperville 36374$3,354.03
Saint Elmo 36568$4,216.23Ashford 36312$3,349.21
Dolomite 35061$4,215.19Opp 36467$3,345.94
Mulga 35118$4,207.95Coffee Springs 36318$3,338.62
Birmingham 35254$4,202.26Dothan 36303$3,337.79
Wilmer 36587$4,201.84Chancellor 36316$3,330.05
Birmingham 35212$4,190.95Daleville 36322$3,310.66
Mobile 36605$4,190.04Ozark 36360$3,310.05

According to our researchers’ data, Birmingham zip codes are the most expensive places to purchase car insurance. Clearly, where you live does matter in relation to car insurance costs.

We have also collected data on the most and least expensive cities in Alabama. Look at the table below to discover if your city is on it.

Most Expensive CitiesAverage RateLeast Expensive CitiesAverage Rate
SAINT ELMO$4,216.23DALEVILLE$3,310.67
MULGA$4,207.95COFFEE SPRINGS$3,338.62
NEW CASTLE$4,131.09COLUMBIA$3,371.40
GRAND BAY$4,129.30COTTONWOOD$3,375.53
EIGHT MILE$4,080.85KINSTON$3,384.75

The biggest city in Alabama, Birmingham, made it onto the list of most expensive cities.

Now that we’ve covered area rates, let’s start looking at the best and worst insurance companies in Alabama.

Alabama Car Insurance Companies

It can be overwhelming to look at the hundreds of providers in the state of Alabama. Knowing which provider to choose is even harder. No-one wants to spend time searching through dozens of insurance sites to find the best coverage and rates.

Lucky for you, we’ve already done the hard work. We’ve researched the best providers in Alabama, so you can feel comfortable with your decision. We’ve looked at companies’ financial ratings, AM’s best ratings, and which companies have the most complaints.

Keep reading to learn about Alabama’s insurance providers.

– Ratings of the Largest Car Insurance Companies in Alabama

ProvidersAM RatingDirect Premiums WrittenMarket ShareLoss Ratio
Allstate Insurance GroupA+$345,60310.40%49.83%
Progressive GroupA+$237,4407.14%59.82%
USAA GroupA++$232,3346.99%79.17%
Nationwide Corp GroupA+$92,6282.79%67.33%
Amtrust NGH GroupA-$82,9402.50%65.13%
Liberty Mutual GroupA$82,1402.47%68.13%
Farmer's Insurance GroupNR$79,9812.41%53.33%

The above companies are among some of the top-rated in Alabama. The table shows the companies’ AM ratings, which judges the companies’ financial strength.

As we discussed before, a company shouldn’t have a high (over 100 percent) or a low loss ratio. As you can see, some companies are a little low on their loss ratio, but a few, like Geico, have a good loss ratio. As well, none of the companies are in danger of bankruptcy because of a high loss ratio.

– Alabama’s Car Insurance Companies with the BEST Ratings

Customer service is an important part of any company, from restaurants to car insurance providers. That’s why we have looked at companies with the best customer satisfaction ratings.

Geico ranks near the top of the list — showing that Geico is great at customer satisfaction. Remember, cost shouldn’t be your only concern when shopping for car insurance. You should also be looking at how the company treats its customers and resolves claims and complaints.

– Companies with the MOST Complaints in Alabama

Below, you will see the number of complaints collected by the NAIC for the biggest insurance providers in Alabama.

Top Providers of Car Insurance in AlabamaCompany Complaint Ratio 2017Total Complaints 2017
Liberty Mutual Group5.95222
Allstate Insurance Group0.5163
Progressive Group0.75120
Nationwide Corp Group0.2825
USSA Group02
Amtrust NGH Group02
Farmers Insurance Group00

While some of these numbers may seem discouraging, complaints don’t necessarily mean you should avoid a company.

How the company resolves complaints and overall customer satisfaction are also important.

For example, Geico made it onto the list for best customer ratings and the list for most complaints. Clearly, Geico is good at resolving customers’ issues, showing that complaints don’t necessarily mean a company is bad.

– Alabama Car Insurance Rates by Company

Compared to State Average
Percentage Compared to State Average
Safeco Ins Co of IL$5,292.39$1,588.6430.02%
State Farm Mutual Auto$4,776.58$1,072.8322.46%
Progressive Specialty$4,438.18$734.4216.55%
Mid-Century Ins Co$4,176.74$472.9811.32%
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$3,696.27-$7.48-0.20%
Allstate P&C$3,307.43-$396.32-11.98%
Nationwide Mutual Fire$2,656.70-$1,047.05-39.41%

From the above data, you can see a few major companies like Geico and USAA have rates lower than the national average. Companies like SAFECO, though, have rates higher than the national average. These higher rates could contribute to why SAFECO and other companies are not on the list of popular Alabama insurance providers.

– Cost of Different Annual Commutes by Alabama Companies

CompanyCommute and Annual MileageAnnual Average Cost
Liberty Mutual10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$5,292.39
Liberty Mutual25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$5,292.39
State Farm25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,891.76
State Farm10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,661.41
Progressive10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,438.18
Progressive25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,438.18
Farmers10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,176.74
Farmers25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,176.74
Travelers10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$3,696.27
Travelers25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,696.27
Allstate10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$3,307.43
Allstate25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,307.43
Geico25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,916.19
Geico10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,811.66
Nationwide10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,656.70
Nationwide25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,656.70
USAA25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,222.84
USAA10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,028.29

As you can see, most of the companies’ rates don’t vary based on commute and mileage. But Geico and USAA both drop over $100 when changed from a 25-mile commute to a 10-mile commute!

Coming up, a break-down of coverage level rates in Alabama.

-Coverage Level Rates in Alabama

GroupCoverage TypeAnnual Average
Liberty MutualHigh$5,558.30
Liberty MutualMedium$5,267.49
Liberty MutualLow$5,051.39
State FarmHigh$5,039.03
State FarmMedium$4,770.51
State FarmLow$4,520.21

Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and Progressive have the highest annual rates for all three types of coverage. Remember, while it’s tempting to go with a low coverage based on price, high or medium coverage will provide the best coverage in case of an accident. As well, the table above shows that sometimes there is only a hundred dollar difference between coverage levels.

– Alabama Credit History Rates

GroupCredit HistoryAnnual Average
State FarmPoor$7,745.72
Liberty MutualPoor$7,579.54
Liberty MutualFair$4,648.39
State FarmFair$3,920.59
Liberty MutualGood$3,649.25
State FarmGood$2,663.44

In the state of Alabama, the average credit score is 654. Unfortunately, this score places Alabama on the list of the top ten states with the lowest credit scores.

Car insurance companies usually determine rates by looking at your past credit score and taking it into account. The better your credit score, the better rates you receive.

As you can see from the table above, poor credit scores can add thousands to your annual cost. A bad credit score at State Farm changes your annual average from $2,663 to $7,745! That’s an extra $5,082 a year!  Factor that into your monthly budget, and you have to pay an extra $423 a month.

Clearly, your credit score plays an important role in determining your car insurance rates. Below, we’ve covered the other huge factor in determining rates — your driving record.

– Alabama Driving Record Rates

GroupDriving RecordAnnual AverageGroupDriving RecordAnnual Average
Liberty MutualWith 1 accident$5,778.33TravelersWith 1 speeding violation$3,749.72
Liberty MutualWith 1 DUI$5,650.89FarmersClean record$3,514.01
Liberty MutualWith 1 speeding violation$5,590.03NationwideWith 1 DUI$3,384.37
State FarmWith 1 accident$5,341.26AllstateWith 1 accident$3,315.55
ProgressiveWith 1 accident$5,037.78TravelersWith 1 accident$3,230.82
TravelersWith 1 DUI$4,725.83AllstateWith 1 speeding violation$3,177.32
State FarmWith 1 DUI$4,725.25GeicoWith 1 accident$3,108.04
State FarmWith 1 speeding violation$4,725.25TravelersClean record$3,078.73
FarmersWith 1 accident$4,545.66USAAWith 1 DUI$3,047.46
FarmersWith 1 DUI$4,434.02AllstateClean record$2,816.35
ProgressiveWith 1 speeding violation$4,399.76NationwideWith 1 speeding violation$2,594.63
State FarmClean record$4,314.58GeicoWith 1 speeding violation$2,583.05
ProgressiveWith 1 DUI$4,305.95NationwideClean record$2,323.90
FarmersWith 1 speeding violation$4,213.26NationwideWith 1 accident$2,323.90
Liberty MutualClean record$4,150.32USAAWith 1 accident$2,051.34
ProgressiveClean record$4,009.21GeicoClean record$1,935.00
AllstateWith 1 DUI$3,920.50USAAWith 1 speeding violation$1,768.57
GeicoWith 1 DUI$3,829.62USAAClean record$1,634.90

At companies like Liberty Mutual, one DUI or accident can increase your rate by over a thousand dollars per year. A clean driving record clearly lowers your costs.

– Number of insurers in Alabama

Number of Licensed Insurers in Alabama
DomesticForeignTotal Number of Licensed Insurers

There are obviously more foreign insurers than domestic. You might be wondering what the difference is between domestic vs. foreign insurance.

Essentially, domestic insurance is formed under the laws of Alamaba, whereas foreign insurance is formed under the laws of any state in the U.S.

Alabama State Laws

With so many laws in Alabama, it can be confusing to know all of them. Well, we can tell you that you don’t need to know the crazy, outdated laws that are long forgotten, such as the illegal nature of putting ice cream in your back pocket. But you do need to know your state driving laws.

To help you stay safe on the road and avoid fines, we have covered important driving laws in the state of Alabama. You will learn everything you need to about insurance coverage, seatbelt laws, and much more.

To keep your rates low and your checkbook happy, scroll down to read our summary of Alabama’s state driving laws.

– Car Insurance Laws in Alabama

As in every state, Alabama law requires drivers to have car insurance. According to the NAIC, in Alabama, you have to file insurance forms before using the insurance. As well, you must also have the minimum liability coverage mandated by the state of Alabama.

The Mandatory Liability Insurance Law of 2013 requires Alabama drivers to have auto insurance for all registered vehicles.

If you are a high-risk driver, car insurance companies may refuse to give you car insurance (even though insurance is required by law). If this happens to you, the DMV tells high-risk drivers to turn to Alabama’s Auto Insurance Plan (AAIP). Talk to your car insurance agent about applying.

To avoid the headache of being a high-risk driver, though, makes sure you follow state laws and safe driving practices.

– High-Risk Insurance Alabama

We get it. Accidents happen sometimes despite our best efforts. That’s why they are called accidents. If an accident happens to you and affects your driving record, you are required to fill out an SR-22 form for high-risk insurance.

Reasons why you may need to fill out an SR-22 form:

  • Conviction of DUI/DWI
  • Driving while uninsured
  • A traffic violation that results in a fatality or serious injury
  • A high number of points on your driving record
  • A high-risk car (sports cars, etc.)
  • Being over 70 years old

Don’t forget — insurance providers may refuse to cover you. If this happens, apply to AAIP.

– Low-Cost Insurance in Alabama

Alabama does not have a government-sponsored car insurance program for low-income drivers. Don’t be discouraged, though! By shopping around for low rates in Alabama, you can still find a cost-effective way to drive safely.

There also discounts that you may be eligible for, so make sure to ask your provider about the following:

  • Good driver discount
  • Good student discount
  • Multi-car discount
  • Homeowner’s discount

– Windshield Coverage in Alabama

There’s nothing worse than seeing that tell-tale spiderweb crack slowly spreading in your car windshield. Or worse, a completely shattered windshield.

In the state of Alabama, insurance providers are NOT required by law to replace windshields.

Don’t fear. While Alabama law doesn’t require insurers to replace windshields, some insurance companies may offer windshield replacement or repair with a comprehensive insurance plan.

Insurers who offer replacement or repair must use replacement parts that are similar quality so that your car is as good as it was before. If you decline the insurer’s replacement offer, however, you will have to pay the cost of windshield repairs yourself.

– Automobile Insurance Fraud in Alabama

Alabama has four insurance fraud bureaus in the U.S. working to catch criminals. That’s right, insurance fraud is a crime in the state of Alabama. Breaking the law by committing insurance fraud will result in fines and/or jail time.

Here are the two main ways to commit fraud, according to the IIHS:

  1. Intentially faking an accident or making a false claim
  2. Adding “extra” onto a legitimate claim

The IIHS also says that the Insurance Research Council reported that “Auto insurance fraud and claim buildup added between $4.9 billion and $6.8 billion to closed auto injury claim payments in 2007.”

That’s a lot of fraudulent money! In 2017, the Alabama Department of Insurance investigated 223 cases of possible fraud.

The simplest way to avoid being investigated? Don’t commit fraud on your claims. Even a small “padding” of a claim could place you under suspicion.

– The Statute of Limitations in Alabama

There is one small catch when filing for claims. You only have a certain amount of time to file a claim to receive the money you are owed. This statute of limitations is so legal proceedings don’t drag on long past the claim date. Luckily, there is quite a big window of time in Alabama to file claims.

Amount of time to file claims in Alabama:

  • Personal Injury: Two years
  • Property Damage: Two years

This ticking time clock starts on the day you are injured or your property is damaged. Just make sure you don’t put off filing a claim for too long!

– Alabama State Specific Laws

Unfortunately, the state of Alabama does not have an unfair claims settlement act. This act requires insurers to disclose exactly what a policy covers to their clients. This is to prevent insurers from “forgetting” benefits when you file a claim.

This is why it’s important for you to know your policy inside and out, so that you aren’t deprived of benefits in case of an accident.

In the state of Alabama, all motorcyclists MUST wear helmets. While some may miss the breeze in their hair, rest assured that this law has motorcyclists’ safety first and foremost in mind.

Bear with us, because we are going to show Alabama’s driving laws next.

– Alabama’s Vehicle Licensing Laws

We know the feeling — paying for car insurance is expensive and leaves your wallet feeling a little empty. It can be tempting to skip out on car insurance, but the penalties for driving without insurance are steep.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Alabama
1st Offense- Fine up to $500
- Registration suspension with $200 reinstatement fee
2nd Offense- Fine up to $1,000 and/or six-month license suspension
- $400 reinstatement fee with four-month registration suspension

Authorities may suspend your license if you are caught driving without insurance.

Let’s rewind for a moment and look again at the types of insurance accepted in Alabama. Remember, Alabama now accepts pictures of proof of financial security on your smartphone.

Acceptable proof of insurance forms in Alabama:

  1. Valid liability insurance ID cards
  2. Copy of your current car’s insurance policy
  3. Valid insurance binder (a temporary form of car insurance)
  4. Picture of proof of insurance on your smartphone

Anytime you are pulled over by the police, you must provide proof of registration, insurance, and a driver’s license.

If you violate car insurance laws, Alabama has the right to suspend your vehicle registration. You will be notified if authorities are suspending your registration. Below are reasons authorities may suspend your vehicle registration according to the Alabama Department of Revenue.

  • “The Department did not receive a timely response to a questionnaire that was sent to verify the MLI coverage on the vehicle.”
  • “The insurer identified in the response to the questionnaire has failed to confirm or has denied coverage on the vehicle for the insurance verification date as requested.”

Our point of showing you this information is this — purchase car insurance so you NEVER need to know the penalties firsthand for driving without insurance.

– Teen Driver Laws in Alabama

We have good news for teen drivers. In Alabama, teens can get a learner’s permit as young as 15 years old. While teens still have to wait until they are 16 years old to apply for a restricted license, they can get a year of driving experience before they drive solo. Teens must also fulfill the requirements listed below before receiving a license or restricted license.

Requirements for Getting a License in Alabama
Mandatory Holding Period6 months
Minimum Supervised Driving Time50 hours (none with driver education)
Minimum Age16 years old

There are also rules in place for young drivers with restricted licenses.

Restrictions for Restricted Licenses in Alabama
Nighttime restrictionsMidnight to 6 a.m.
Passenger restrictions (family members excepted unless noted otherwise)no more than 1 passenger
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted
Nighttime restrictions17 and licensed for 6 months (minimum age: 17)
Passenger restrictions17 and licensed for 6 months (minimum age: 17)

– Older Driver License Renewal Procedures in Alabama

Alabama law requires older drivers to renew their licenses every four years, the same as the general population. While four years passes sooner than one would suspect, there are perks for older drivers renewing their licenses.

Proof of adequate vision is NOT required at the time of renewal, and older drivers (and general population) are allowed to renew their licenses online every other renewal.

The alternating, online renewal system means you can go up to eight years without having to make a trip to the DMV!

– New Residents in Alabama

You need car insurance if you are moving to the state of Alabama and own a vehicle. Because Alabama ranks 6th in the nation for its number of uninsured motorists, there is now an Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Act that requires everyone to have liability insurance. You may remember that Alabama requires vehicle owners to have the following liability insurance:

  • $25,000 to cover death or bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 to cover death or bodily injury per accident (also called total bodily injury)
  • $25,000 to cover property damage per accident

You will also need to contact your current provider, as your provider may need to change rates and coverages to meet Alabama’s requirements of minimum liability coverage. Additionally, you will need to notify your provider to make sure your provider has your new address and can give you updated insurance ID cards.

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– Alabama Rules of the Road

Be warned: not knowing the rules of the road may result in violations that will quickly add points to your driving record. To help you avoid points on your record, we’ve collected some must-know laws for the state of Alabama.

– Fault vs. No-Fault

As we mentioned before, Alabama is an at-fault state. This means that if you are at-fault in an accident, you may be held liable for injury and property damage costs.

The at-fault driver will have to pay all medical expenses, damages, and other costs that occurred from the accident.

This means that if you don’t have insurance OR the right coverage, your resources will quickly be drained. The last thing you want is to go bankrupt due to an accident.

– Keep Right and Move Over Laws

Here’s how to keep right in the state of Alabama. If you are driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you, you must keep to the right lane. Seems simple, right? But hang on a second, because there are certain circumstances where you are allowed to pass on the right.

JUSTIA U.S. Law explains these circumstances as the following:

  • If the vehicle you are passing is making or about to make a left turn
  • If the roadway is wide enough for two or more lines of vehicles moving in the same direction as the vehicle you are passing.

Take note, though, that you may only pass on the right if you can do so safely and without driving off the roadway. As well, a new anti-road rage act prohibits drivers from driving on the left side of the road unless they are passing another vehicle.

Officers are now allowed to ticket drivers who stay in the left lane for more than a mile and a half without passing other vehicles.

Alabama residents are also required to move over one or more lanes for stopped vehicles.

These vehicles include:

  • Police and emergency vehicles
  • Car crashes with flashing  lights
  • Utility service vehicle with rotating or flashing lights
  • Garbage vehicles when actively on duty

The last thing you want is to hit a parked car, so make sure to move over.

– Alabama Speed Limits

Below are the speed limits across the state of Alabama. Make sure to also pay attention to speed limit signs while driving, as the speed limits posted below are the maximum speeds in Alabama (speed limits vary on roadways).

Alabama Speed Limits
Type of RoadwaySpeed Limit
Rural Interstates70 mph
Urban Interstates65 mph
Other Limited Access Roads65 mph
Other Roads65 mph

– Alabama Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

Do you know Alabama’s seat belt laws? Different states have different laws, and knowing Alabama’s laws will help you avoid a fine.

Safety Belt Laws in Alabama
Effective SinceJune 18, 1991
Primary EnforcementYes; effective since December 9, 1999
Age/Seats Applicable15+ years old in front seat
1st Offense Max Fine$25 plus fees

Alabama passed a new seat belt law (effective September 1, 2019) that requires back-seat passengers to also buckle up.

Alabama is one of the best states at buckling up. Help Alabama’s high ratings stay by buckling your seat belt every time you are in a vehicle.

In addition to keeping you safe, Alabama has laws protecting children in the car. Being familiar with Alabama’s car seat laws will help you keep your little ones safe in the car.

Alabama Car Seat Requirements
Type of Car Seat RequiredAge
Rear-Facing Child RestraintYounger than one year old or less than 20 pounds
Forward-Facing Child RestraintOne to four years old or 20 - 40 pounds
Child Booster SeatFive (but under six years old)
Adult Belt PermissibleSix through 14 years

The fine for breaking car seat laws is the same as seat belt laws — $25 plus fees.

As for riding in cargo areas (such as pickup trucks), there are no laws in Alabama restricting this. Make sure to use common sense when riding in a cargo area to ensure your own and other’s safety.

– Ridesharing in Alabama

You may be familiar with ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. If you want to rideshare, you must purchase ridesharing insurance from one of the following providers in Alabama:

  • Farmers
  • Geico
  • State Farm
  • USAA

These insurers offer ridesharing insurance, but each one has different coverages and requirements, so make sure to choose one that best fits your needs. Most ridesharing companies will also require you to undergo vehicle safety checks to make sure your car is safe for passengers.

– Automation on the Road in Alabama

What is automation? IIHS defines it as the following:

“Automation is the use of a machine or technology to perform a task or function that was previously carried out by a human. One example is adaptive cruise control, which maintains a set speed.”

In Alabama, automated vehicle drivers have to follow the laws listed below.

Automation Vehicle Laws in Alabama
Driving AllowedDeployment
Operator License RequiredYes
Operator Required to be in the VehicleDepends on level of vehicle automation
Liability Insurance RequiredYes

– DUI Laws in Alabama

28.3 percent of all driving fatalities are alcohol-related in Alabama. Drunk driving often has tragic endings, which is why Alabama has strict laws to discourage drivers from driving while drunk. Death is too high a cost for just one more drink.

DUI Law in Alabama 
Name for OffenseDriving under the influence (DUI)
BAC Limit0.08
High BAC Limit0.15
Criminal Status1st to 3rd offenses are misdemeanors; 4th+ in 5 years is a class C felony
Look Back Period5 years

There are varying degrees of charges based on the number of offenses. Below, you will see the penalties for first time and consecutive offenses.

DUI - 1st Offense
License RevokedMandatory 90 days
Jail TimeUp to one year in a municipal or county jail (no time minimum)
Fine$500 to $2,000
+$100 for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund
OtherMandatory DUI school
DUI - 2nd Offense
License Revoked1 year
Jail Time48 consecutive hours at least (up to 1 year) OR no less than 20 days of community service
Fine$1,000 to $5,000
+$100 for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund
DUI - 3rd Offense
License Revoked3 years
Jail Time60 days to 1 year in a municipal or county jail
Fine$2,000 to $10,000
+$100 for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund
DUI - 4th Offense
License Revoked5 years
Jail Time1 to 10 years
Fine$4,000 to $10,000

A 5th offense is treated the same as the 4th offense in Alabama. These laws may seem harsh, but in 2017, 268 people died in Alabama from alcohol-related accidents. Alabama intends for these penalties to keep people from having one too many drinks before driving.

As for marijuana-impaired driving in the state of Alabama, there are no specific laws in place. This does NOT mean you can get away with using marijuana and driving.

Law enforcement can still charge you with impaired driving, even though there isn’t a specific law in Alabama against marijuana-impaired driving.

So what is the point of showing you all these laws about impaired driving? Hopefully, it will make you think twice about the costs of driving impaired and encourage others to do the same.

– Distracted Driving Laws in Alabama

All it takes is a few seconds with your eyes off the road for an accident to happen. Driving distracted is JUST as dangerous as driving while impaired. Below are Alabama’s laws about cellphone use while driving.

Laws on Cellphones while Driving in Alabama
Hand-held ban16-year-old drivers; 17-year-old drivers who have held an intermediate license for fewer than 6 months
Text banAll drivers

That text can wait! Alabama prohibits texting for ALL drivers.

Alabama Can’t-Miss Facts

Now that you have a good understanding of the laws in Alabama, let’s dive into Alabama’s can’t-miss facts.

You now know the rules of the road, but do you know the risks of owning and operating a vehicle in Alabama?

It can be difficult to know all the risks associated while driving vehicles. While insurance is important, it is also important to know what to keep your eyes out for on the road. The last thing you want is to be in an accident.

We have laid out all the facts you need to know about risk factors in Alabama, from vehicle theft to crash reports, so that you can be aware of what’s happening on your home road.

– Vehicle Theft in Alabama

The table below will let you know if your vehicle is on Alabama’s most-stolen list. If your car is stolen, a comprehensive coverage plan will usually cover your costs.

Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in Alabama  
Vehicle Make and ModelVehicle YearTotal Thefts
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)2005499
Ford Pickup (Full Size)2006357
Toyota Camry2014205
Nissan Altima2014191
Chevrolet Impala2004191
Honda Accord1998180
GMC Pickup (Full Size)1999152
Dodge Pickup (Full Size)1998138
Ford Mustang2002122
Ford Explorer2002119

Clearly, Chevrolet and Ford Pickups are the most popular stolen vehicles. Where you live is also important. Below, the FBI’s data on the 10 worst cities for vehicle theft.

Top Ten Worst Cities in Alabama for Vehicle TheftTotal Thefts
Phenix City270

If you live in Birmingham, you might want to keep a closer eye on your vehicle. Is your city not on the list above? Keep reading to see if it makes the list for best cities with a lack of vehicle theft.

Top Ten Cities in Alabama with the LEAST Vehicle TheftTotal Thefts
Pine Hill0

That’s right! The numbers are not typos — the average number of thefts in these cities is ZERO.

– Alabama’s Crash Report

Let’s move on from vehicle thefts to a more alarming subject — risky and harmful behavior in Alabama. In 2017, there were 948 traffic fatalities in the state of Alabama.

According to data collected by the NHTSA, three of Alabama’s cities made it onto the list of traffic fatalities by cities.

Fatality Rates by City 2016     
CityTotal KilledPedestrians KilledPercent of Total Killed2016 City PopulationFatality Rate Per 100,000 Population

Believe it or not, more fatal accidents happen on rural roads than on urban roads. While plenty of accidents happen in the city, the speeds reached in a city are usually less than on a rural road. So make sure to keep a wary eye out when driving in ALL areas.

Alabama Traffic Fatalities by Road Type2008200920102011201220132014201520162017

While road type plays a significant role in accidents, vehicle type is also important.

Alabama Traffic Deaths by Person Type
Passenger Car Occupants357337355416395
Light Pickup Truck Occupants151150156169145
Light Utility Truck Occupants137116111166143
Van Occupants2015232427
Light Truck (Other) Occupants10391
Large Truck Occupants2515163520
Bus Occupants30100
Other/Unknown Occupants121510259
Bicyclists and Other Cyclists69937
Other/Unknown Non-occupants22143
State Total8538208501,083948

Vehicle occupants are not the only fatalities in Alabama.

Pedestrians and cyclists are also victims of vehicle fatalities. If you are near a roadway, keep a cautious eye out!

We have covered the where and who that are involved in fatal accidents. But what type of accidents cause fatalities?

Alabama Fatalities by Crash Type
Crash Type20132014201520162017
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)8538208501,083948
- (1) Single Vehicle512508482639564
- (2) Involving a Large Truck1098410114499
- (3) Involving Speeding253237236329257
- (4) Involving a Rollover278249269331290
- (5) Involving a Roadway Departure580492540663605
- (6) Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)123125158208145

Speeding is a major cause of accidents in Alabama, especially when you consider that speeding and taking turns too fast can cause rollovers. Stay with us, because we are going to look next at fatalities in the top-10 counties in Alabama.

10 Counties in Alabama with the Most Traffic Fatalities
Jefferson County9277809083
Mobile County6576727775
Madison County3333244537
Tuscaloosa County2738415037
Baldwin County3827323726
Talladega County2715193026
Etowah County1315143125
Cullman County1419252524
Shelby County1620192624
Blount County13651723
Top 10 County Total377361368465380
State Total (Includes All Counties)8538208501,083948

– Speeding-Related Fatalities in Alabama

Because speeding is one of the major culprits of fatal accidents, the NHTSA reported on fatalities involving speeding by county.

County Name2013 Deaths2014 Deaths2015 Deaths2016 Deaths2017 Deaths
Autauga County41235
Baldwin County657107
Barbour County31013
Bibb County10040
Blount County33194
Bullock County51213
Butler County13425
Calhoun County41592
Chambers County51451
Cherokee County86341
Chilton County55953
Choctaw County13223
Clarke County25221
Clay County10120
Cleburne County31040
Coffee County14142
Colbert County445411
Conecuh County12324
Coosa County26062
Covington County07102
Crenshaw County00202
Cullman County7661210
Dale County33240
Dallas County13252
Dekalb County115599
Elmore County712994
Escambia County47726
Etowah County44186
Fayette County00103
Franklin County03212
Geneva County11401
Greene County52502
Hale County43022
Henry County02023
Houston County453103
Jackson County33484
Jefferson County2112172012
Lamar County10211
Lauderdale County42343
Lawrence County20054
Lee County23227
Limestone County5312143
Lowndes County34017
Macon County65182
Madison County1832149
Marengo County03041
Marion County41201
Marshall County34774
Mobile County1522161914
Monroe County10352
Montgomery County42262
Morgan County62325
Perry County12111
Pickens County30330
Pike County22114
Randolph County32111
Russell County14625
Shelby County52275
St. Clair County26624
Sumter County01333
Talladega County107101110
Tallapoosa County23171
Tuscaloosa County311131411
Walker County76447
Washington County12134
Wilcox County25312
Winston County20464

– Drunk Driving Fatalities in Alabama

What is the other major culprit in fatal accidents? Drunk driving. Below are the number of fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers by county.

County Name2013 Deaths2014 Deaths2015 Deaths2016 Deaths2017 Deaths
Autauga County61343
Baldwin County9101097
Barbour County22213
Bibb County20132
Blount County33144
Bullock County43441
Butler County12236
Calhoun County23563
Chambers County51371
Cherokee County40250
Chilton County54332
Choctaw County31144
Clarke County33211
Clay County10101
Cleburne County31130
Coffee County13284
Colbert County42228
Conecuh County04231
Coosa County04121
Covington County14014
Crenshaw County11131
Cullman County25788
Dale County94433
Dallas County58464
Dekalb County83387
Elmore County48593
Escambia County46635
Etowah County46434
Fayette County13002
Franklin County01100
Geneva County12403
Greene County22213
Hale County30033
Henry County00010
Houston County54191
Jackson County22334
Jefferson County2724212726
Lamar County20010
Lauderdale County35573
Lawrence County24123
Lee County23266
Limestone County54755
Lowndes County42125
Macon County54266
Madison County111051416
Marengo County26113
Marion County21101
Marshall County42365
Mobile County2324232321
Monroe County12312
Montgomery County12111185
Morgan County42534
Perry County10122
Pickens County42120
Pike County02724
Randolph County22021
Russell County16343
Shelby County27674
St. Clair County43154
Sumter County23314
Talladega County844118
Tallapoosa County21351
Tuscaloosa County71319108
Walker County56556
Washington County04211
Wilcox County44312
Winston County10103

Jefferson and Mobile counties once again ranked in the top number of fatalities for both speeding and drunk driving fatalities. Another sobering side of drunk driving is alcohol-impaired deaths among teenage drivers.

Teenage drivers often lack experience, and adding alcohol into the mix often makes for a deadly concoction.

Drunk driving at any age is dangerous, but we want to draw focus onto the lives that are too often cut tragically short. The national average for underage drunk driving deaths is 1.2 per 100,000 population.

Alabama’s fatality rate for underage drunk driving is 2.7 deaths per 100,000, which is well above the national average!

This discouraging number is among the HIGHEST in the U.S. Let’s look closer at underage drunk driving in Alabama.

Underage Drinking & Driving in Alabama (2016)  
Number of Under 18 DWI Arrests:Total Per One Million People (DUI Under 18 Arrests):Rank:

The good thing about these numbers is that Alabama ranks 48th in the U.S. This means Alabama has a LOW number of arrests compared to other states — meaning Alabama doesn’t have as many underage drunk drivers on its streets. Unfortunately, the underage drunk drivers who do drive contribute to one of the highest fatality rates in the U.S.

After covering all these accidents, we want to move on to a less depressing topic. Next up, we look at how long it takes for help to arrive after a crash.

– EMS Response Time in Alabama

If you or someone you know is in an accident, you want help to arrive as FAST as possible.

Location of IncidentTime of Crash to EMS NotificationEMS Notification to EMS ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalTime of Crash to Hospital ArrivalTotal Fatalities in Crashes
Rural9.45 min13.32 min35.28 min56.82 min715
Urban6.25 min6.83 min27.03 min39.50 min264

As you can see from the table, help arrives faster if you live in an urban area. Don’t let this discourage you from living rurally, though, as you will still arrive at the hospital in under an hour in a rural area!

– Transportation in Alabama

When you drive down your neighborhood, do you ever take note of how many cars are sitting in your neighbors’ driveways? Usually, we can tell if someone is visiting by that extra car parked outside the house.

In Alabama, the average amount of cars owned is two.

Ever wondered what others’ commute times in Alabama are compared to yours? In Alabama, the average commute time is 23.9 minutes, which is less than the national average.

Next up, the most common methods of commuting in Alabama. 

Driving alone is by far the most common method of commuting in Alabama.

– Top Alabama Cities for Traffic Congestion

Great news! NONE of Alabama’s cities made it onto INRIX’s list of worst cities for traffic. While this doesn’t mean you won’t sit in traffic, at least you can feel better about the fact that other states have it way worse than Alabama.

According to the Business Council of Alabama, drivers in Birmingham spend 34 hours yearly in traffic, and drivers in Huntsville spend 23 hours yearly.

Now that you have read through this comprehensive guide, you are ready to hit the roads in Alabama! Start comparing car insurance today by entering your zip code below in our FREE online tool!



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