Driving anywhere is a risky proposition, which is why drivers should never do so without valid car insurance. With the highest number of uninsured drivers on the road, New Mexico is an especially risky place to drive without insurance. In fact, it's in drivers' best interests to buy policies that include decent uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as well. The state requires all drivers to be able to show proof of financial responsibility, which is usually done with liability car insurance. It's smart to obey the law, but there are other good reasons to maintain valid insurance too.
If a driver chooses to use insurance that barely meets the legal requirements of the state of New Mexico, he is rolling the dice. The minimum requirements often miss the mark when it comes to total damages and injuries after an accident. Drivers are often left holding large bills even after their insurance claims are filed. This is why many smart drivers buy more extensive coverage. By understanding who is operating motor vehicles in the Land of Enchantment, drivers are more likely to see the benefits of buying better car insurance policies.
Who Drives in New Mexico?
A quick glance at a map reveals that New Mexico is a fairly large state. However, significant expanses of it are mountains and desert, so they are largely uninhabited. Despite its large geographical size, the state of New Mexico had an estimated population of just 2,085,538 people in 2012. That estimate comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Federal Highway Administration keeps track of driving statistics and reports that there were 1,418,641 licensed drivers in the state as of November 2012, so 68 percent of all residents have driver's licenses.
When an insurance company calculates premiums, it isn't allowed to consider drivers' gender. Drivers are fairly evenly split along gender lines in the state, though. 711,481 people, or 50.15 percent of all licensed drivers, are women. 707,160 people, or 49.85 percent of all licensed drivers, are men. These facts don't matter to insurance providers, but drivers' ages definitely do. Older drivers usually have more experience and are therefore less risky to insure. Young drivers are much riskier to insure. In New Mexico in November 2012, 15,540 people, or 1.1 percent of all drivers, were aged 19 and below. Drivers between the ages of 25 and 29 made up the largest group, which consisted of 68,905 people, or 4.9 percent of all licensed drivers.
Car Insurance Requirements in New Mexico
While it's true that most drivers in New Mexico satisfy the state's financial responsibility requirements by purchasing liability coverage, it's technically not the only way to do so. Drivers may also file surety bonds or cash deposits totaling $60,000 with the state treasurer. That's a large amount of money, of course, so few people choose to do so. It's cheaper to just buy car insurance.
Drivers who choose to use liability insurance in order to drive legally must buy policies that meet certain minimum requirements. These requirements include:
- At least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person
- At least $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for two or more people
- At least $10,000 in property damage coverage
Due to the fact that there are so many uninsured drivers on the road in the Land of Enchantment, underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is strongly recommended.
Drivers who are stopped by the police and unable to show proof of coverage can go to the police station with proof the same day to avoid consequences. If they really don't have coverage, they generally face misdemeanor charges that often result in registration suspensions and fines of at least $300.
The state maintains what is called the New Mexico Insurance Identification Database, or IIDB, which keeps track of insurance coverage. The state is notified whenever a driver's insurance status changes, and the driver must then provide proof of coverage or some other form of financial responsibility. The simplest way to avoid these problems is by collecting plenty of auto insurance quotes and getting the best policy possible.