It’s the Land of Enchantment, and New Mexico is waiting for you. Visit the White Sands National Park, come for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta or just take a statewide tour of the food New Mexico is famous for.
If you’re planning to stay any length of time in the Land of Enchantment, you’re going to need to be sure you’re driving legally. New Mexico car insurance is required for all drivers, so let’s explore what you need to drive freely in the state.
New Mexico Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
If you want to visit New Mexico, your state’s car insurance is just fine. But if you’re looking to stay for a while, you’re going to need to register your car in the state.
In order to legally obtain New Mexico license plates for your vehicle, you’ll need to meet the following minimum insurance requirements:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Property damage coverage: $10,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: $10,000 per accident.
In New Mexico, it’s okay for you to reject insurance against uninsured motorists. You must do so in writing, though, so talk to your insurance agent about the forms you’ll need to submit.
What is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in New Mexico?
If you’re trying to register a vehicle in New Mexico, you’ll be pleased to know that the average cost of New Mexico car insurance is around 7% less than the national average.
A driver with decent credit and an average driving history can expect to pay about $1,331 per year for full coverage. If you’re opting for just the minimum insurance, you’ll pay around $488.
Remember that your insurance premium costs will vary based on a number of factors. Insurers will look at your:
- Marital status
- Driving record
- Credit history
- Lapses in insurance
- Vehicle’s make and model
- Zip code
Be sure to ask your insurance agent about discounts you may be eligible for. Your associations with employers or other organizations can significantly bring your cost of insurance down.
Why is Car Insurance So Cheap in New Mexico?
New Mexico car insurance is a little cheaper than the national average. That’s due to a few factors. First, despite the nightlife in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and other cities, New Mexico is largely rural. Fewer drivers on the road mean less probability that you’ll be in an accident.
Additionally, the Land of Opportunity is an at-fault state. The driver who is responsible for an accident will contact their insurance company and will be responsible for all bills. At-fault states tend to have lower insurance premiums than no-fault states.
Despite the low insurance premiums in the Land of Opportunity, there is something that will keep you from getting the lowest rates in the nation: uninsured drivers. It’s estimated that over 20% of New Mexico drivers are uninsured. As long as New Mexico car insurance companies are paying out so much for uninsured drivers, premiums will remain at around the national average.
Lapses in New Mexico Car Insurance
It’s important to carry car insurance on your vehicle. However, New Mexico law is fairly lax when it comes to the penalties if you can’t prove you’re insured.
If you’re stopped by law enforcement and can’t prove you have insurance, your case will likely be dismissed. You just have to prove on your court date that you have current insurance and there will be no penalty.
If you’re caught a second, third, or subsequent time, your penalties will be a little harsher. You’ll face up to six months of jail time but your fine will be no more than $1,000. Again, you can usually get your case dismissed in court if you can provide current proof of insurance.
Best Auto Insurance in New Mexico
New Mexico drivers were asked which insurance companies best met their needs. The following five companies consistently ranked at the top of the list for customer service and cost:
- Farm Bureau
- State Farm
Be sure to shop around for the best rate based on your credit score, driving history, and insurance needs.
Driving in New Mexico
Traveling or moving to New Mexico? Here are a few things you should know about driving in the state.
- In Raton, women may not ride a horse down public streets wearing a kimono.
- In Las Cruces, leave your lunch at home as you’re not legally allowed to carry a lunchbox down Main Street.
- Want to change the New Mexico driving laws? We hope your IQ is up to par with others in the state–“idiots” are not allowed to vote.
Conclusion: Car Insurance in New Mexico
Whether you’re moving to the Land of Opportunity or are just shopping for new insurance, you’ll need to be sure your car is covered. Shop around for the best rates in the state, and make sure you’re driving legally with at least the minimum New Mexico car insurance coverage.