Is my credit score a factor when obtaining car insurance in Alabama?
Yes, auto insurance carriers in Alabama usually reference your credit report when deciding whether to offer coverage and calculating your premium payment.
Does Alabama offer a good-driver discount?
Auto insurance carriers in Alabama offer a wide variety of discounts. While provisions vary by company, a clean driving record or completion of a defensive driving course often qualify you for a good-driver discount. Some other potential breaks on your premium include:
- Passive Restraint
- Anti-Lock Brake
- Anti-Theft Device
- New Car
- Utility Discount
- Farm Vehicle
- Full Pay
- Multiple Policy
- Multiple Car
- Resident Student
- Good Student
- Accident Free
- Home Ownership
- Vehicle Safety
- Affinity (qualifying organization membership)
Does Alabama allow the use of digital insurance cards?
It does! Ask your car insurance company to provide you with a digital proof-of-coverage image, and you’re permitted to show it on your cell phone or other mobile device. No more frantically digging around in the glove compartment for proof of insurance!
What happens if my coverage lapses?
In 2012, when an estimated 900,000 vehicles were uninsured in Alabama, the state decided to crack down on the problem. Stiff penalties were imposed, including a fine of up to $500 and possible registration suspension (along with a $200 reinstatement fee) for first-time offenders. These penalties double upon a second offense. And you don’t even have to be pulled over to get caught with lapsed coverage; the Alabama Department of Revenue runs random computer searches for drivers with canceled or lapsed policies.
What are Alabama’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage limits under the state's driving under the influence (DUI) laws?
It’s illegal to drive in Alabama with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
In late 2011, the State of Alabama decided to much more aggressively punish DUI offenders who register a BAC of 0.15% or greater. These people face minimum penalties of at least double what they would be if the level were below this reading. See the question after next for more information about DUI penalties.
What are the chemical test refusal penalties in Alabama?
Alabama is an “implied consent” state, meaning that the act of accepting a driver’s license offers your legally binding consent to a breath, urine, or blood test at a law enforcement officer’s request. A first refusal triggers a license suspension of up to 90 days, while a second refusal can come with a 1-year suspension. If convicted of violating the implied consent law, you may also face several hundred to a few thousand dollars in fines and possibly even jail time.
What are the consequences of being convicted of a DUI?
DUI convictions in Alabama carry a wide range of administrative and criminal penalties, with a variety of mitigating factors at play. Your number of prior offenses, your BAC, whether or not you caused any property damage or injuries, whether or not you’re of legal drinking age, and other considerations all affect the severity of the consequences.
A typical first-time conviction comes with a 90-day license suspension, mandatory attendance of a DUI course, $500 to $2,000 in fines, a $100 fee to be given to the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund, and up to 1 year in municipal or county jail.
To see the standard penalties for subsequent convictions, visit the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency website.
Does Alabama offer driver improvement courses to reduce my insurance premium?
Yes! The same defensive driving school courses that you may have to attend if you accumulate too many points on your license or to avoid getting points after a moving violation are also a potential source for car insurance discounts. Many carriers in Alabama shave a little off your premium if you complete a state-approved program. Check with your city or municipality to find an approved course.
Is there any way I can reduce the cost of my Alabama car insurance?
Don’t think you’re doomed to forever make steep auto insurance payments! As noted above, your credit score is a significant factor, so in the long term, raising your score is an effective way to get lower rates. For more immediate results, though, ask your carrier about any available discounts, opt for a higher deductible as a trade-off for a lower premium, and pay upfront rather than in monthly installments if you can. And when it’s time for a new policy, comparison shop for the best quote.