Alaska is the largest state in the union, but that doesn't mean Alaskans take more road trips. In fact, Alaskans drive fewer miles per person than the residents of any other state, partly because some places aren't accessible by roads. The state is so sparsely populated that some jurisdictions don't even require vehicle registration or insurance. But for everyone else, it's important to understand insurance requirements before hitting the road.
Alaska Vehicle Insurance Requirements
If you live in or near one of Alaska's more heavily populated areas, you'll need to carry at least a minimal amount of insurance on any registered motor vehicles. However, about 13 percent of Alaska drivers in these areas still drive without insurance. Alaska differs from other states in size, population and attitude. It also takes a different approach to insurance, so it's important to learn the rules.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Alaska?
If you live in an area where your car must be registered, it must also be insured. An auto stored in a garage or on private property does not have to be insured until it is licensed and registered.
When Do You Have to Show Proof of Insurance?
Alaska law requires proof of insurance to register a vehicle with the DMV. You must also hand over proof of motor vehicle liability coverage if a police officer asks for it. State law requires you to carry proof of insurance in your vehicle whenever you're using it.
Drivers involved in an accident in Alaska must show proof of liability insurance if the crashed caused injury, death or property damage greater than $500. The investigating police officer at the scene will supply a proof of insurance form, which can be picked up at the DMV as well.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Alaska
The minimum amounts for liability auto insurance coverage required in Alaska:
- $50,000 for injury
- $100,000 per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Even in areas that don't normally require insurance, drivers who accumulate tickets of six points or more in five years must carry liability insurance. Here's the current list of exempted regions in Alaska where insurance is not required.
High-Risk Insurance in Alaska
If you're a high-risk driver who has trouble getting insurance from traditional companies, you may be able to get coverage through the Alaska Automobile Insurance Plan. With this plan, the risk is shared among multiple insurance companies licensed to sell coverage in Alaska.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Alaska?
Drivers who claim to have proper insurance (but don't) may have their license suspended for 90 days up to a year. In some Alaska cities, including Anchorage and Juneau, police may impound a vehicle that's driven without insurance.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need?
The best insurance isn't always the cheapest insurance. Depending on what you can afford, you may want more than the minimum insurance required by the state. Collision insurance, for example, covers crash damages to your car, while comprehensive coverage covers your car for theft, fire, blizzards, natural disasters and colliding with an animal, such as a deer or moose.
Alaska Lack Vehicle Insurance? 19.6% National Average: 12.6 %
The state requirements for insurance were also set many years ago, and consumer and insurance groups says that it's safer to get a 100/300 liability policy — that is, a policy that pays $100,000 per injury and $300,000 per accident.
For more on the insurance that's right for you, see the MoneyGeek guidebook on car insurance.
Teen Drivers in Alaska
Teen drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident, so Alaska requires they get their license through a parent-supervised driving program. The program has different stages and protections to reduce the risk to your young driver.
Cars driven by teens must carry the same minimum coverage required for everyone else, but the premiums will be more expensive. You might consider cutting those costs by opting for a higher deductible and letting your teen drive a large-frame sedan with advance crash protection. Just be prepared for a steep price tag if your teen is ever in an accident.
Alaska Car Premiums: The Impact of a Teen Driver
Median annual price jump for families who add a teen driver to their policy:$1,534 increase This is a difference of 121%.
Average annual premium increase if your teen gets a speeding ticket while driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit:
Discounts for Teens in Alaska
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$410 saved
Compare Auto Quotes from Alaska Providers
Policy costs vary more than you may think, so do some comparison shopping. Check out the annual average premiums for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Alaska:
Alaska Premiums: Mustang vs. Minivan
Insurers consider sports cars a more risky choice for teens than sedans and minivans. Why? Studies show sports cars are associated with speeding. Here's how it can affect your premium.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Alaska
College students attending school outside Alaska are responsible for meeting the insurance requirements in their new state. In Alaska, students who turn 21 have 90 days to apply for an adult license.
Always notify the insurance company if your car will be used in another state for more than 30 days. Also, don't let your new friends borrow your car. Loaning it out to college friends can be risky since the vehicle owner (you or your parents) will be held responsible in the event of a crash.
Do College Students Have Lower Premiums in AK?
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$626 decrease This is a decrease of 20%.
How a College Student Affects Your Alaska Rates
Each year, take a look at your policy before it renews to see whether you could get a better deal. Compare, for example, the average premiums for a married couple and a 19-year-old college student in Alaska.
Alaska College Drivers: Distance Discount
You may see a slight reduction in your family's premium if your student lives 150 or more miles away from home.
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
- $3,752 at home
- $3,260 at school
- $492 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $3,017 at home
- $2,662 at school
- $355 in savings
College Students in Alaska: Mustangs vs. Minivans
A college student driving a minivan will cost less to insure than one driving a sports car — a reflection of the lower risk to insurers.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$4,670
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$2,367
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Alaska
Alaska has nearly 23,000 active-duty military personnel living in the state. Enlisted military personnel and veterans living in Alaska should first check to see if their locality requires auto insurance, as some regions of the sparsely populated state do not. Discounts can be found at insurance companies where coverage is required, typically in urban areas of Alaska. As always, comparison shopping for insurance in Alaska should yield the best savings.
As an added benefit, military members who live in Alaska but are stationed out-of-state can still renew their vehicle registration wherever they are based, online or by mail, so long as the car or truck is already registered in their name.
Alaska Service Members:
How the Vehicle You Choose Affects Your Premium
Rollover crashes are more common among SUVs and pickup trucks, research shows, but an older model SUV still affects your premium less than a recent model sports car.
Military Drivers: A Comparison of Premium Ranges by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age-Based Perks for Alaska
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Average Rates Available to Alaska Military Personnel
Premium rates are all over the map, so it pays to do some comparison shopping. Here are the average annual rates you can get in Alaska.
Seniors in Alaska
Alaska offers insurance discounts to drivers 55 and older who complete an approved driver safety course. Discounts are also available for low-mileage drivers. Discounts vary among insurance companies, so shop around.
Seniors 65 and up must still carry auto insurance, but may be exempt from Alaska DMV fees and vehicle taxes. Download the exemption form here.
Undocumented Workers in Alaska
Drivers licenses may be available to immigrants in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program involves young immigrants who have lived in the United States continuously since 2007 and came here before age 16, among other things. This enables these DREAMers (as DACA recipients are called) to obtain the documents necessary for a work permit and driver's license.
Changes in Ridesharing Insurance in Alaska
Ridesharing companies such as Uber have seen starts and stops in Alaska and are currently on hold. Uber recently suspended service until it settles with Alaska on unpaid workers compensation insurance. Alaska has ruled that rideshare drivers are employees, not independent contractors, so companies like Uber must pay insurance for workers compensation coverage, among other things.
Vehicle insurance is another issue. Under pressure from various states, transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber are usually paying for some type of liability insurance, but the driver and his passengers may not be fully covered. Most TNCs don't pay for collision and comprehensive insurance, for example, and your personal auto policy probably won't cover "driving for hire." If you're a ridesharing driver or passenger, check with your insurance company to see what you need to be fully covered.
Car Accidents in Alaska: How to File a Claim
Law enforcement officers in Alaska investigate any auto accident involving injury, death or property damage greater than $500. If you've been in a minor crash with property damage but no injuries:
- Get insurance and contract details from the other driver, if possible
- Collect names and contact from witnesses
- Take notes and photos of the crash site
- File this form with the DMV and your insurance company within 10 days
- If the property damage looks like it is more than $2,000, call the police or the Alaska State Troopers right away
If you've been in a major accident involving injuries:
- Call the police or Alaska State Troopers
- Aid drivers or passengers who are injured as best you can
- Move your car to the side of the road and put up flares to warn other drivers
- File the Alaska Motor Vehicle Crash Form with the DMV and your insurance company within 10 days
Driver Safety: How Does Alaska Rank?
"We're working toward a zero incident state where even one fatality is one too many," says Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow. "We do have fewer people on the roads so there will be fewer crashes. It is a rural, wilderness state."
In risky corridors, the department has improved highway signs and beefed up enforcement, Woodrow says. "Since then, we've seen a drop of almost half in highway fatalities on those roads," he says.
Woodrow adds that Alaska, unlike other states, has a patchwork of regulations regarding car insurance. "We do have rural areas with different license requirements and auto insurance requirements, or in some areas, where no insurance is necessary," he says. In some areas, he says, you can only use a driver's license in your hometown and not the rest of the state highway system.
Alaska Driver Safety Ranking
The driver safety table shows the different safety factors that contribute to your state's overall safety rank (in the green box). The overall safety ranking and the National Ranking column scores in each category (including crash fatality rates) are from safest to most dangerous, with 1st being the safest and 51st the least safe.
How did we create the safety rankings?
We created a traffic safety ranking of all US states plus the District of Columbia by combining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We looked at fatality rates by distance traveled as well as by population and gave more weight to behaviors that were riskier and preventable (i.e., drunk driving, not using a seat belt), as well as to accidents that involved more than one party (i.e., multi-vehicle).
|Driver Safety Profile||Number of Fatalities||Fatality Rate
The fatality rate is the rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled, except for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality measures, which are per measured per a population of 100,000.
Rankings are in order of safest to least safe. A state with the lowest fatality rate would be the safest, and thus ranked #1.
|Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities||15||3.16||23rd|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||12||2.48||17th|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||2||0.41||21st|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||18||3.71||14th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||51||10.52||26th|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Alaska: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
The Last Frontier state requires all motor vehicle passengers to wear seat belts. There's also a statewide ban on texting while driving, but there's no such prohibition against talking on a cell phone. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety gives Alaska a yellow "caution" rating for its traffic safety laws. It urges the state to adopt other key laws such as an open container law and one requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
Safe Driving Laws - Alaska
|Mandatory seat belts||Required of all vehicle occupants.|
|Child passenger safety||Children 4 and younger must sit in a federally-approved car seat.|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||The legal limit for a DUI is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration.|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||Required for 12 months after a DUI conviction.|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||Texting is illegal. There are no other laws against using cell phones.|
|Protections for young drivers||Graduated license system based on age.|
|Motorcycle helmet law||Partial||Drivers under 18 must wear a helmet, and all passengers must wear one, too.|
|Bicycle helmet law||No statewide law.|
Car Insurance Resources for Alaska Residents
Consumer guide to auto insurance published by the Alaska Division of Insurance.
Downloadable copies of the state's various driver registration forms.
Regularly updated state government website outlining minimum coverage amounts.
State website with current list of Alaska jurisdictions where vehicle registration and auto insurance is not required.
Information on renewing a driver's license for Alaska residents attending an out-of-state college.
Consumer information on Alaska driver safety laws.