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What are state minimums for car insurance in New Mexico?


Things to remember...

  • The fine for driving without car insurance in New Mexico is no more than $300
  • Failure to give up your license and registration when caught without insurance is as much as $1,000
  • If you cannot afford to pay the fine for driving without insurance in New Mexico, you can ask for an alternative jail sentence of up to 90 days

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New Mexico drivers must have a car insurance policy. Drivers must carry at least the minimum amount of insurance required by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department or you risk fines, penalties, and other consequences for not abiding by the law.

Car insurance is required because so many drivers are involved in accidents on the road, and recovery doesn’t come cheap. The cost of an accident is typically so expensive it can cause a family living a comfortable lifestyle to face serious financial difficulties.

If you are the cause of an accident, you’re required to pay for the other driver’s car repairs, your own car repairs, your own medical bills, and the medical bills of the other driver. If that driver or one of his or her passengers is seriously injured, they might have serious medical bills, they might be out of work, or they might not survive.

This means you’re now responsible for paying for lost wages, future medical bills, and even funeral and burial expenses. If the other driver or their family decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you could be in serious financial trouble.

New Mexico lawmakers do not want to see this occur to any driver in New Mexico, which is why they make it a requirement to carry insurance. The financial protection insurance provides drivers can protect your financial future.

Make sure you have the best rate for the coverage you need with our free quote tool above! 

If you’re worried you cannot afford car insurance, it’s helpful to know you have the right to compare prices with different companies and ask for discounts that make your premiums more affordable.

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What is the minimum amount of insurance I’m required to carry in New Mexico?

All New Mexico drivers need to carry liability insurance. It must total $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for your bodily injury and death coverage, and it must include $10,000 worth of property damage protection. This is it. The state only requires you carry this amount of insurance.

There isn’t a requirement for uninsured motorist coverage in New Mexico like there is in many other states. It is recommended you carry uninsured motorist coverage, but it’s not a state law.

One thing all New Mexico drivers must understand is you might only need this insurance coverage from a legal standpoint, but you might not qualify for a policy that covers only the minimum.

If you own the title to your car, it’s your choice what kind of coverage you purchase. You might choose just the minimum if your car is older and not worth very much. If it’s a newer car you paid cash for or paid off quickly, you might choose full coverage if the value of the car is high.

If you lease your car or it’s financed through a bank or another lender, you are not permitted via lender requirements to carry only the minimum. You must carry full coverage throughout the duration of your leased vehicle contract.

If you finance your car, you must carry full coverage until you pay off the lender and own your car. If you fail to pay for full coverage, your lender is legally permitted to purchase a policy and bill you for it.

Are there punishments for driving without insurance in New Mexico?

There are several fines, penalties, and consequences for New Mexico drivers who fail to purchase an insurance policy. If you are caught driving without insurance, you must pay a fine up to $300.

If you cannot afford to pay the fine, you can choose the alternative option of spending up to 90 days in prison.

In some cases, you might be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and still be charged the fine if the court deems this appropriate. This punishment is typically issued if you’ve been caught driving without insurance more than once.

When caught, your license and registration are automatically suspended. Officers who either pull you over or respond to an accident in which you are involved have the right to confiscate your license and your registration at the scene.

If you fail to give up one or both, you face an additional fine of up to $1,000 and/or as many as six months in jail.

You must be able to prove to the state you have an insurance policy that meets at least the minimum requirements if you’d like to reinstate your license and your registration.

Without proof of insurance, you do not get your license or registration back. If you let it lapse after you get both back, you face the same fines and penalties a second time.

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Important Things to Know About Car Insurance in New Mexico

Car insurance in New Mexico is a requirement, but does it apply to those who are just visiting? Anyone who is only in the state on vacation or to drive through is not required to abide by New Mexico insurance laws.

They are, however, required to abide by insurance laws in the state where they live.

If they do not, they face penalties and fines in their own state if they are pulled over in New Mexico.

If you are a new resident living in New Mexico, you have only 30 days to change your car insurance policy. It must meet the state requirements for minimum coverage. Failing to do this might result in a warning, in fines, and you could face other penalties.

Tips for Making Insurance More Affordable

It’s always best to check your credit report and fix any mistakes on it before you shop for insurance.

Car insurance agencies use your credit score to determine your rates. It’s more affordable if you have a high credit score. You should also take the time to ask for discounts to help lower the cost of your premiums.

Some of the most common discounts in New Mexico are multi-car discounts, discounts for low-mileage drivers who are either retired or work from home, and even discounts for being active-duty in the United States Military.

These can make your car insurance more affordable, even though all insurance is more affordable than being involved in an accident without insurance. Don’t miss out on our free insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your ZIP code and start comparing rates now!


  1. http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/vehicle-insurance.aspx
  2. http://www.rmiia.org/auto/steering_through_your_auto_policy/Auto_Insurance_New_Mexico_Requirements.asp
  3. http://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-much-coverage-does-a-leased-car-need-cm219840
  4. http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf
  5. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/where-can-i-get-my-credit-score-en-316/

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