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|New Mexico State Statistics Summary||Details|
|Annual Road Miles||Total in State: 27,435 million|
Vehicle Miles Driven: 69,069 million
Total Stolen: 8,526
|Most Popular Vehicle||Ford F-150|
State Rank: 3rd
|Total Driving Deaths (2008-2017)||Speeding: 141|
Drunk Driving: 120
|Annual Premiums||Liability: $488|
|Cheapest Providers||USAA and State Farm|
With a state population of just over two million people, a gorgeous, diverse terrain, and a desert climate, the Land of Enchantment boasts a rich, Spanish history, scenic skylines, a cultural cuisine, and the third-longest river the United States: the Rio Grande.
New Mexico is one of the states in the southwestern region of the US. It is the fifth-largest state with a total area of 121,590 square miles and the fifth-least-densely-populated state. It is ranked as the sixth-most diverse state in America and shares a border with Mexico.
With just over 1.7 million registered cars on the beautiful, winding New Mexico roads, it’s no shocker New Mexico is full of drivers needing car insurance. We know finding the right car insurance policy that fits your needs and your budget can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
In our complete guide to New Mexico car insurance, we’ll show you everything you need to know about rates, coverage, dangers and risks of the road, and much more. After reading this guide, we promise you’ll have all the information you need to make a wise and money-conscious decision when selecting a new insurance company and policy.
So buckle up, sit back, and enjoy the ride as we step into New Mexico car insurance rates and coverage.
Want to get started comparing rates right now? Enter your zip code here in the box above.
New Mexico Car Insurance Coverage & Rates
Let’s get straight to the point.
In the state of New Mexico, every driver must carry a car insurance policy. But what kind of coverage is necessary? Should you have more coverage than what is legally required? How much is a basic car insurance policy going to cost?
Because a car insurance rate is based on many different factors, it can be difficult to pinpoint just one simple answer to these questions.
We don’t want to waste your time, so in these first few sections, we will explain New Mexico’s minimum insurance coverage requirements, the average cost of premiums, and more.
New Mexico’s Car Culture
To help you better understand New Mexico’s state-regulated car insurance policies, we want to go over New Mexico’s car culture.
According to The Hartford, New Mexico is a land of contrasts, says Traci Money, who helps travelers plan road trips and has driven all over New Mexico.
The economic disparities are wide within the state, and tourists abound, so you’re apt to share the road with a range of vehicles, from expensive luxury car brands like Lexus to workhorse pickup trucks and cars that are “taped and wired together and barely on the road,” Money says. In the southern part of the state, where there are more ranches, you see a lot more trucks, she says.
Drivers in New Mexico encounter similar differences in the state of the roads, Money says. In the touristy areas near ski resorts, especially in the north-central part of the state, she’s enjoyed well-maintained roads with modern, clean rest areas.
But the road condition gets worse as you head south from Albuquerque to Alamogordo, where you traverse two-lane roads that pass through isolated areas, she says: “When we went through, they had port-a-pots in a mud hole marked as a rest area.”
In general, New Mexico drivers are fairly polite and understanding toward the many tourists that flock to the state, Money says.
New Mexico Minimum Coverage
Similar to every other state in the U.S., New Mexico requires every driver to carry a minimum liability insurance policy. This policy includes the least amount of car insurance a driver can buy while still complying with New Mexico state law.
But what exactly is the minimum liability insurance coverage?
Liability insurance works like a safety net. You probably won’t go bankrupt if you have it, but you are most likely going to need to pull money out of your pocket to cover extra expenses caused by a car accident — and guess what? New Mexico has a law that says, “if you break it, you buy it.”
New Mexico is one of about 38 states in the U.S. that is considered to be an at-fault car accident state.
In at-fault states, the person who was at fault for causing the accident is also responsible for any resulting harm (from a practical standpoint, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will cover these losses, up to policy limits).
According to NOLO, in New Mexico, a person who suffers any kind of injury or damage due to an auto accident usually can proceed in one of three ways:
- By filing a claim with their insurance company, assuming that the loss is covered under the policy (in this situation, the injured person’s insurance company will likely turn around and pursue a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s carrier)
- By filing a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier
- By filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver
Because New Mexico is an at-fault state, it might be a good idea to consider purchasing more insurance than what is required by law. Once policy limits are exhausted, you are personally on the financial hook, so higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious crash.
The required minimum amounts of coverage in New Mexico are:
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
- $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
- $10,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle.
Note: Remember that liability coverage doesn’t apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage after a New Mexico car accident. You’ll need different (additional) coverage for that if you’re involved in a car accident and no one else’s coverage applies to your losses.
Forms of Financial Responsibility
A form of financial responsibility is just a fancy term for proof of insurance. But why is it so important to have proof of insurance?
If a law enforcement officer pulls you over and asks to see your license, registration and proof of insurance, you are legally obligated to show them. If you cannot provide proof of insurance, you may be facing some serious penalties.
In New Mexico, you’ll also need proof of insurance if or when:
- You’re in an accident
- You apply for a title
- You register a car
The Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act (MFRA) requires motorists to have the ability to settle damages from accidents or buy motor vehicle insurance. Unless the motor vehicle is exempt per MFRA guidelines, drivers must carry the below proof of financial responsibility:
- A current insurance card meeting the state minimum liability coverage requirements
- If a motorist has met the criteria for the insurance set for workmen’s compensation liability — a self-insurance certificate from the Superintendent of Insurance
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) also accepts the following forms of financial responsibility for vehicle registrations:
- A copy of your current auto insurance policy
- A letter from your car insurance company verifying that you have auto insurance coverage
The state doesn’t currently accept electronic forms of proof of insurance. In New Mexico, at a traffic stop, officers can also check the state’s electronic verification system to see if you’re insured.
Premiums as a Percentage of Income
New Mexico’s average per capita income in 2014 was $33,358. When we’re talking about per capita income, we’re talking about the amount of money a person takes home after paying taxes.
In 2014, New Mexico drivers paid an average of $920.42 for a comprehensive car insurance policy. This means that New Mexico drivers spend about 2.76 percent of their income per year on car insurance alone.
From 2012 – 2014, the average cost of car insurance increased by about $22. From 2013 – 2014, the average New Mexico salary increased by almost $2,000. See the table below.
|Full Coverage Average Premiums||$866||$889||$920|
|Percentage of Income||2.66%||2.82%||2.76%|
New Mexico drivers pay less for car insurance than the average American. The average premium for a comprehensive policy in the U.S. is $981.77. The average American makes a higher salary than the average New Mexico resident of $40,859 per year.
From 2012 – 2014, the average cost of annual car insurance premiums in New Mexico rose by nearly $60. Residents of neighboring states Colorado and Utah paid about the same as New Mexicans for their car insurance, though Utahn residents paid annual premiums under $900.
Use this tool below to find out what percentage of your salary goes towards your car insurance premium.
New Mexico Core Coverage
The data from the table below is pulled directly from a reputable and accurate source, the NAIC.
|CORE CAR INSURANCE COVERAGE IN NEW MEXICO||Cost|
Since this data is from 2015, you can expect rates to be higher today.
Liability insurance is often the cheapest kind of insurance you can buy. Collision and comprehensive coverage will cover other property damages. Collision pays for damages if you hit something, and comprehensive covers damage from “acts of God” such as hitting a deer, fire, and hail damage.
Keep in mind that the costs from the NAIC in the table listed above are based on New Mexico’s state minimum.
|ADDITIONAL LIABILITY COVERAGE IN NEW MEXICO - LOSS RATIOS||2013||2014||2015|
|Medical Pay (Med Pay)||75.02%||73.52%||68.39%|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage||74.82%||73.12%||66.18%|
Even though the state of New Mexico does not require drivers to carry additional liability coverage, it is still a good idea to carry additional liability car insurance.
New Mexico is ranked third in the U.S. for uninsured drivers. Approximately 20.8 percent of all New Mexico drivers are uninsured or underinsured.
One in five drivers is uninsured in the state of New Mexico. This means that your chances of being hit by an uninsured driver are roughly 20 percent.
If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, that driver will most likely go bankrupt before they have the chance to pay you back for the damages and medical bills you’ve incurred from the accident. This is where uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage steps in. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, don’t worry, you’re covered.
Loss ratio percentages can tell us about a company’s financial strength. Check out the percentages in the table above. If a loss ratio percentage is too high (over 100 percent), the insurance company hasn’t collected enough premiums to pay for all the losses submitted by policyholders and could mean that a rate increase is on the way.
On the other hand, if the loss ratio percentage is too low (under 50 percent) the company either charged too much premium or got lucky on losses.
What should you pay attention to when you’re looking for a new car insurance company? Make sure the loss ratio percentage is at least between 50 percent and 100 percent.
Add-Ons, Endorsements, & Riders
Are you looking for more ways to ensure your vehicle? You can add any of the following types of coverage to your basic car insurance policy. Click on the links to learn more.
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
- Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance
Add one, or add them all. The choice is up to you.
Male vs. Female Rates
Many different factors can affect your car insurance rate — sometimes you have control over these things, and sometimes you don’t. Did you know gender, age, and marital status are factors that can affect your rate?
We’ve partnered with Quadrant to bring you the data below.
It’s based on coverage the state population has purchased and included rates for high-risk drivers and drivers who choose to buy more than the state minimum, as well as other types of coverage the state doesn’t require.
|Company||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male|
|Farmers Ins Co Of AZ||$2,404.81||$2,396.01||$2,152.83||$2,295.21||$9,750.62||$10,025.51||$2,703.37||$2,790.84|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$1,523.13||$1,523.13||$1,383.93||$1,383.93||$4,131.10||$5,189.28||$1,704.41||$1,881.32|
Most people think women pay more for car insurance than men, but usually, this is not the case. Car insurance companies think women are generally more responsible than men, so women generally pay less for car insurance than men do.
Do you have a couple of young drivers under your roof? Though inexperienced teenage drivers pay the most money for car insurance, their rates will decrease as soon as they turn 25 if they keep a clean record.
According to this data above, a married, 60-year-old woman will get the lowest car insurance rate.
Cheapest Rates by Zip Code
Did you know that where you live can also affect your rate? Find your zip code in the tables below.
|Most Expensive Zip Codes in New Mexico||City||Average by Zip Code||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|87117||KIRTLAND AFB||$4,013.99||Farmers||$5,390.85||GEICO||$5,136.33||USAA||$2,437.87||State Farm||$2,988.08|
|87008||CEDAR CREST||$3,979.47||Farmers||$5,390.85||GEICO||$5,136.33||USAA||$2,577.62||State Farm||$2,772.71|
|87068||BOSQUE FARMS||$3,922.38||Farmers||$5,141.18||GEICO||$5,136.33||USAA||$2,469.42||State Farm||$2,601.49|
The most expensive zip codes are mostly in Albuquerque.
|Least Expensive Zip Codes in New Mexico||City||Average by Zip Codes||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|88330||HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE||$2,963.73||GEICO||$3,887.86||Allstate||$3,886.24||USAA||$1,886.57||State Farm||$1,948.40|
|88337||LA LUZ||$3,082.91||GEICO||$4,266.08||Allstate||$3,886.24||State Farm||$1,989.53||USAA||$2,128.64|
|88012||LAS CRUCES||$3,083.03||Farmers||$4,180.65||GEICO||$3,887.86||State Farm||$2,127.94||USAA||$2,128.64|
|88026||SANTA CLARA||$3,092.44||GEICO||$4,266.08||Farmers||$3,902.96||State Farm||$1,874.34||USAA||$2,137.19|
|88061||SILVER CITY||$3,096.73||GEICO||$4,266.08||Farmers||$3,902.96||State Farm||$1,882.99||USAA||$2,045.78|
|88011||LAS CRUCES||$3,102.08||Farmers||$4,180.65||GEICO||$3,887.86||USAA||$2,128.64||State Farm||$2,223.04|
|87901||TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES||$3,109.65||GEICO||$4,266.08||Allstate||$3,886.24||State Farm||$1,898.83||USAA||$2,137.19|
|88001||LAS CRUCES||$3,113.45||Farmers||$4,208.76||GEICO||$3,887.86||USAA||$2,128.64||State Farm||$2,247.68|
|88005||LAS CRUCES||$3,119.89||Farmers||$4,180.65||GEICO||$3,887.86||USAA||$2,128.64||State Farm||$2,281.06|
|88044||LA MESA||$3,120.13||Farmers||$4,180.65||GEICO||$3,887.86||USAA||$2,128.64||State Farm||$2,367.80|
Cheapest Rates by City
Car insurance companies will also ask you for your city when they are putting a rate quote together. Find your city in the tables below. What is your estimated rate?
|Most Expensive Cities in New Mexico||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Kirtland Air Force Base||$4,013.99||Farmers||$5,390.85||GEICO||$5,136.33||USAA||$2,437.87||State Farm||$2,988.08|
|Cedar Crest||$3,979.48||Farmers||$5,390.85||GEICO||$5,136.33||USAA||$2,577.62||State Farm||$2,772.71|
|Bosque Farms||$3,922.38||Farmers||$5,141.18||GEICO||$5,136.33||USAA||$2,469.42||State Farm||$2,601.49|
|Sandia Knolls||$3,888.99||GEICO||$5,136.33||Farmers||$4,870.65||State Farm||$2,481.79||USAA||$2,577.62|
According to this data, Isleta, New Mexico, has the most expensive rate.
|Least Expensive Cities in New Mexico||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Holloman AFB||$2,963.73||GEICO||$3,887.86||Allstate||$3,886.24||USAA||$1,886.57||State Farm||$1,948.40|
|La Luz||$3,082.91||GEICO||$4,266.08||Allstate||$3,886.24||State Farm||$1,989.53||USAA||$2,128.64|
Best New Mexico Car Insurance Companies
The following information is brought to you by the NAIC, J.D. Power, and the DMV.
With hundreds of car insurance companies out there, it can be difficult to choose just one to trust with your money and your safety.
While some drivers choose a company strictly based on a cheap rate, others might choose a company based on customer service satisfaction or financial strength. Some drivers might even choose a car insurance company because the company is well known.
In this next section, we will discuss financial ratings, customer satisfaction rankings, companies with the most complaints and more. Let’s find the best car insurance companies in New Mexico!
Stay tuned — A.M. Best ratings are up first.
The Largest Companies’ Financial Rating
Similar to loss ratio percentages, A.M. Best ratings show a company’s financial strength. Factors like operating costs and profitability go into determining a company’s A.M. Best rating.
|Company||AM Best Rating||Direct Premiums Written||Loss Ratio Percentage||Market Share|
|State Farm Group||A++||$277,878||58.73%||20.04%|
|Farmers Insurance Group||A||$155,049||60.51%||11.18%|
|Allstate Insurance Group||A+||$97,610||51.94%||7.04%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||A||$69,048||60.23%||4.98%|
|Hartford Fire & Casualty Group||A+||$41,760||77.10%||3.01%|
|Sentry Insurance Group||A+||$32,713||54.68%||2.36%|
|Iowa Farm Bureau Group||A||$30,209||68.10%||2.18%|
If you look at the table above, all of these companies have good loss ratio percentages. All of the percentages stay between the 50 – 100 percent range.
Companies with Best Ratings
When you’re on the phone with your car insurance company after you’ve just been in an accident, the last thing you want to hear on the other end of the line is a rude voice.
J.D. Power knows that customer service satisfaction is important in any industry, but it’s especially important in the car insurance industry. Every year, J.D. Power ranks car insurance companies based on customer service factors.
The 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, now in its 20th year, examines customer satisfaction in five factors (in order of importance): interaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, and claims. The study is based on responses from 42,759 auto insurance customers and was fielded from February – April 2019.
According to this study, except USAA (a company that only services military members and their families), the Hartford was ranked as the number one insurance company for customer service satisfaction in the southwest region of the U.S.
Companies with the Most Complaints in New Mexico
Your company could be ranked as the best company in the world and you’d still receive complaints. Some people just like to complain about everything.
Check out this table below.
|State Farm Group||1||0.44||1482|
|Farmers Insurance Group||1||0.59||7|
|Allstate Insurance Group||1||0.5||163|
|Liberty Mutual Group||1||5.95||222|
|Hartford Fire & Casualty Group||1||4.68||9|
|Sentry Insurance Group||1||6.53||1|
|Iowa Farm Bureau Group||1||0.77||32|
Car insurance companies can’t control how many complaints they receive, but they can control how they choose to handle a complaint.
Keep this in mind when you’re searching for the perfect car insurance company.
Cheapest Companies in New Mexico
Looking for the cheapest New Mexico car insurance premium? These are the cheapest and most expensive companies in New Mexico based on the average cost of premiums.
|Company||Average||Compared to State Average||Percentage Compared to State Average|
|Farmers Ins Co Of AZ||$4,314.90||$851.69||19.74%|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$2,340.03||-$1,123.18||-48.00%|
According to our data, State Farm Mutual Auto and USAA have the cheapest car insurance premium.
Commute Rates by Companies
Did you know that how far and how often you drive every day can affect your rate? See the table below.
|INSURANCE COMPANY||10 MILES COMMUTE/ 6000 ANNUAL MILEAGE||25 MILES COMMUTE/ 12000 ANNUAL MILEAGE|
Farmers, Nationwide, Progressive, and Allstate didn’t change their rates for 10- versus 25-mile commutes. The companies that factored in the distances, such as State Farm, sometimes raised rates by more than $100.
Coverage Level Rates by Companies
If you have more car insurance than what the state of New Mexico legally requires, you might be able to save some money on your policy.
Sometimes, car insurance companies will give you a break on your rate and charge you a couple of hundred dollars more per year for a full coverage car insurance policy. If you’re having a hard time understanding what we’re referring to, look at the table below.
|INSURANCE COMPANY||LOW COVERAGE||MEDIUM COVERAGE||HIGH COVERAGE|
For just $72 more per year, you can go from having low coverage to high coverage with Allstate. As we’ve discussed before, having more car insurance always means you have better car insurance.
Note: Having higher coverage could cost you as little as $10 a month and could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Credit History Rates by Companies
Your credit history can also affect your rate. If you have a poor credit history, you could wind up paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more per year for your car insurance policy, Car insurance companies understand people with low credit scores to be less responsible and less likely to pay back a debt or to pay a bill on time.
If you have a poor credit history, you are considered to be a higher risk for a car insurance company.
Check out the table below.
According to Experian, the average American’s credit score is 675. The average credit score among New Mexico state residents is 659, which means New Mexico has a lower-than-average overall credit score.
If you have poor credit, try calling Progressive — they might give you more of a break on your rate than some of the other major car insurance companies out there.
Driving Record Rates by Companies
The most important factor that affects your car insurance rate is your driving record. If you keep a clean record 100 percent of the time, you’ll save a lot of money on your car insurance premium.
|INSURANCE COMPANY||CLEAN RECORD||WITH 1 ACCIDENT||WITH 1 DUI||WITH 1 SPEEDING VIOLATION|
If you get just one speeding ticket, your rates could rise by hundreds of dollars. If you get a DUI, you might be paying an extra $1,000 for your policy per year.
Number of Insurers in New Mexico
What is the difference between foreign and domestic insurers?
|TYPE OF INSURER||NUMBER|
Domestic insurance companies (and laws) were formed by the state of New Mexico. Foreign insurers were formed outside the state of New Mexico. Foreign insurance laws were formed by the U.S.
As you can see, there are many more foreign insurers than there are domestic.
New Mexico State Laws
State laws can be extremely confusing, especially when there are so many to remember. In this next section, we want to touch on how car insurance laws are formed, driving laws, high-risk insurance, New Mexico car insurance discounts, auto insurance fraud, and more.
Knowing these specific laws can keep you out of trouble and in good standing with your insurance company.
Car Insurance Laws
Car insurance laws are important because they control and mandate how car insurance companies are allowed to regulate rates, how they operate, and how they pay claims. Keep this in mind as we discuss how car insurance laws are formed.
How State Laws for Insurance are Determined
According to the NAIC, state laws have considerable influence on auto insurance. Each state determines the type of tort law and threshold (if any) that applies in the state, the type and amount of liability insurance required, and the system used for approval of insurer rates and forms.
In addition, the states have enacted varying auto seat belt requirements, drunk driving laws, and maximum speed limits.
Here’s what the NAIC has to say about New Mexico determines car insurance laws:
“Regarding New Mexico rate filings, prior approval is required in non-competitive, reverse competitive, and residual markets. Car insurance companies must file at least 30 days before the effective date (60-day deemer).
Car insurance companies must file and use for personal lines, but they don’t have to file for commercial lines. This is effective on October 1, 2007. Regarding form filings, prior approvals must be filed 60 days prior to the effective date.”
Unfortunately for New Mexico drivers, car insurance companies are not obligated to pay to fix a broken windshield unless a deductible is paid first. However, if you break your windshield a lot and you’d like to have it fixed without having to pay a hefty deductible every time you break it, some car insurance companies offer this plan with comprehensive coverage.
Just know that New Mexico state law says insurers may use aftermarket parts if the quality is comparable to the manufacturer’s parts.
Accidents happen, everyone knows that. But if you get into too many accidents or you’re considered to be a high-risk driver, you might need to apply for high-risk insurance or SR22 insurance.
You might need to fill out a high-risk insurance form if any of the following apply to you:
- Conviction of DUI/DWI
- Driving while uninsured
- A traffic violation that results in a fatality or serious injury
- A high number of points on your driving record
- A high-risk car (sports cars, etc.)
- Being over 70 years old
Some insurance companies may refuse to insure you if you are a high-risk driver.
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Insurance Plan (NMMVIP) offers a “high-risk” insurance pool to drivers who can’t qualify for coverage otherwise. The plan assigns drivers to certain insurers and the companies share the risk equally.
To be eligible to join, drivers must have New Mexico licenses and have registered their cars in the state.
They must also have been denied coverage within the past two months in the open marketplace. Premiums tend to cost more than those under traditional insurers.
Are you looking for government assistance to help pay for your car insurance? Unless you live in New Jersy, Hawaii, or California, you are stuck paying for car insurance out of your own pocket — even if you are considered to be a family with low income.
Don’t be discouraged by this. There are always more ways to save. Ask your insurance company if you qualify for any of the following discounts:
- Student discount
- Homeowners discount
- Good driver discount
- Military discount
Do you want to start comparing rates right now? Use our free tool by entering your zip code in the box below.
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Automobile Insurance Fraud in New Mexico
According to the IIHS, insurance fraud can be “hard” or “soft.” Hard fraud occurs when someone deliberately fabricates claims or fakes an accident. Soft insurance fraud, also known as opportunistic fraud, occurs when people pad legitimate claims, for example, or, in the case of business owners, list fewer employees or misrepresent the work they do to pay lower premiums for workers’ compensation.
Watch this video below of drivers and pedestrians attempting to stage an accident.
Car insurance fraud is against the law in the state of New Mexico and is punishable by fines and jail time.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, car insurance fraud costs insurers $16 billion annually. The insurers then transfer these losses onto consumers in the form of higher rates.
The state of New Mexico considers the following actions as forms of insurance fraud:
- Falsifying information on an insurance application
- Filing a false claim
- Making a false document for support of a claim
- Making a false statement for a policy to maintain any kind of compensation
Here are the penalties for committing insurance fraud:
- Victim loss of $250 or less: six months in prison and a $500 fine
- Victim loss of over $250: one year in prison and a $1,000 fine
- Victim loss between $500 – $2,500: 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Victim loss between $2,500 – $20,000: three years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Victim loss over $20,000: nine years in prison and a $10,000 fine
If you or someone you know would like to file a report against insurance fraud, please contact the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance.
You can contact their office by filling out this form, or by visiting their office at the address below:
Office of Superintendent of Insurance
1120 Paseo De Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501
According to their 2016 Annual Report, the Office investigated 747 insurance fraud cases that year and referred 18 for prosecution. They processed and recommended 81.26 percent of insurance fraud complaints for further administrative action or closure within 60 days.
Statute of Limitations
The New Mexico statute of limitations law protects both the driver and the insurance company. If you could file a claim for an accident any time you wanted, car insurance companies would have to charge a lot more for coverage.
On the other hand, New Mexico wants to give injured drivers more than enough time to file a claim with their insurance company. In New Mexico, you have three years to file a personal injury claim and four years to file a property damage claim.
We found a funny New Mexico driving law worth sharing:
According to stupidlaws.com, it’s illegal for couples to have sex in a parked vehicle in New Mexico during their lunch break from work unless the car or van has drawn curtains to stop strangers from peeking in.
Vehicle Licensing Laws
Are you unsure about New Mexico’s vehicle licensing laws? Keep reading to find out more about Real IDs, penalties for driving without insurance, teen driver laws, license renewal procedures and more.
What is a REAL ID?
After October 2020, all New Mexico drivers who want to go through airport security, board a domestic flight, or enter a federal building must carry a REAL ID.
To get a REAL ID license or ID card, you must present original or certified copies of your proof of identity, proof of social security number, and two proofs of address in person.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
By now you should know that driving without insurance in the state of New Mexico is against the law. But what are the penalties for driving without insurance?
First offenders face the following penalties:
- Fine up to $300
- Imprisonment up to 90 days
- License suspension
It doesn’t matter if you’ve gotten caught driving without insurance one time or 100 times, the penalties for driving without insurance are always the same.
If you get pulled over by a law enforcement officer, you need to be able to show registration, proof of insurance and your license.
Acceptable forms of proof of insurance in the state of New Mexico are:
- A current auto insurance card
- A copy of your current auto insurance policy
- A letter from your auto insurance company (on company letterhead) that verifies your auto insurance coverage
Driving without insurance is much more expensive than driving with it. Please don’t break the law — insure yourself and your vehicle.
Teen Driver Laws
In New Mexico, you must be at least 15 years old before getting a driver’s permit. Teenage drivers must also meet the requirements in the table below before applying for a restricted license.
|REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE LICENSE/RESTRICTED LICENSE||DETAILS|
|Mandatory Holding Period||6 months|
|Minimum Supervised Driving Time||50 hours (10 of which must be at night)|
|Minimum Age||15 years, 6 months|
Teenage drivers who have a restricted license in New Mexico must follow these laws below.
|RESTRICTED LICENSE REQUIREMENTS||DETAILS|
|Nighttime Restrictions||Midnight to 5 a.m.|
|Passenger Restrictions (family members excepted unless noted otherwise)||No more than 1 passenger younger than 21|
|When Restrictions can be Lifted||Details|
|Nighttime Restrictions||12 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (minimum age: 16 years, 6 months)|
|Passenger Restrictions||12 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (minimum age: 16 years, 6 months)|
Keep in mind that drivers with learner’s permits or restricted licenses can’t text or use a handheld device.
License Renewal Procedures
New Mexico has some unique laws about license renewal procedures. As a New Mexican driver, if you are under the age of 71, you have the option to renew your license every four or eight years. It’s your choice.
If you are 71 – 78, you must renew your license every four years. If you are 79 and older, you must renew your license once a year.
Proof of adequate vision is required at every in-person renewal for people under the age of 75. If you are 75 years old and older, you must provide proof of vision at every renewal.
If you are under the age of 75, you may renew your license online, but it can only be for every other renewal. You can also renew your license by mail unless a new photo is required. Mail and online renewal are not permitted for people 75 years old and older.
According to the MVD, whether you’re applying for a REAL ID, titling and registering your vehicle, or getting a driver’s license in New Mexico, you must establish proof of New Mexico Residency.
When you visit one of the MVD locations for a new driver’s license, please bring the following documentation on your visit:
- Your current driver’s license
- Original birth certificate (proof of identity)
- Original social security card (proof of identification number) — can also get standard driver’s license
- Two proofs of current physical address
Persons applying for a first-time driver’s license, a license renewal, or a license replacement are issued a temporary license while their regular license is being processed and mailed.
If you have an out-of-state license or a prior New Mexico ID card, it will be hole-punched and may be used in conjunction with the temporary license, for up to 45 days from the date of issue. The temporary license and the hole-punched license or ID card are only valid for identification purposes when presented together.
You must go into an MVD Field Office to get your New Mexico driver’s license. Staff at any Field Office can issue your temporary driver’s license.
Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
According to Driving Laws by NOLO, New Mexico defines negligent or “reckless driving” as driving:
- “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others,” and
- “without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger a person or property.”
The consequences of a reckless driving violation depend on the circumstances. But generally, reckless driving is a misdemeanor and the possible penalties are:
- First offense: five to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $100 in fines.
- Second or subsequent offense: 10 days to six months in jail and/or $50 – $1,000 in fines.
The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division can suspend the license of any motorist convicted of reckless driving for up to 90 days. A reckless driving conviction will also add six demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating seven or more points within a year can lead to license suspension.
New Mexico has another offense called “careless driving” that’s less serious than reckless driving.
A motorist can be convicted of the offense for driving “in a careless, inattentive or imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, weather and road conditions, and all other attendant circumstances.”
The difference between reckless and careless driving is a matter of degree, and the dividing line isn’t always clear. Generally, reckless driving involves the operation of a vehicle that’s obviously dangerous, whereas more subtle instances of bad driving might be in the careless driving category.
Careless driving, like reckless driving, is a misdemeanor. Motorists who are convicted of careless driving face up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum of $300 in fines. A careless driving conviction will add three points to a motorist’s driving record.
Rules of the Road
Since we’ve already discussed some serious driving penalties, it’s time to move on to New Mexico’s rules of the road. Understanding these simple laws can help keep your wallet full and your driving record clean.
In this next section, we’ll cover topics like seat belt and car seat laws, keep right or move over laws, speed limit laws and more.
Fault vs. No-Fault
NOLO says New Mexico follows a traditional fault-based system when it comes to financial responsibility for losses stemming from a car accident: injuries, lost income, vehicle damage, and so on.
This means that the person who was at fault for causing the car accident is also responsible for any resulting harm (from a practical standpoint, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will absorb these losses, up to policy limits).
It’s always better to have more insurance than what is required by the state of New Mexico so that you’re not stuck paying for damages and medical bills out of your own pocket.
Seat Belt & Car Seat Laws
Click it or ticket!
New Mexico wants its drivers to be safe while on the road. Take a look at the following New Mexico seat belt laws.
|INITIAL EFFECTIVE DATE||PRIMARY ENFORCEMENT||SEAT BELT USE||MAXIMUM FINE|
|January 1, 1986||Yes. Effective since January 1, 1986||18+ years in all seats||$25|
Keep in mind that a police officer can pull you over for not wearing a seat belt.
Do you know New Mexico’s child safety laws? Take a look at the table below if you’re unsure about New Mexico car seat laws.
|CAR SEAT TYPE||AGE/WEIGHT|
|Rear-Facing Child Restraint||Younger than 1 year|
|Child Restraint||1 to 4 years or less than 40 pounds|
|Booster Seat||5 to 6 years or less than 60 pounds|
|Adult Seat Belt||7 through 17 years|
According to AAA, New Mexico also restricts riding in the cargo areas of pickup trucks to those aged 18 and older.
Keep Right & Move Over Laws
In New Mexico, you must keep right if you are driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you.
The AAA says state law requires drivers who approach a stationary emergency, recovery, or repair vehicle to slow down and move to the next lane (if they can). Drivers who can’t change lanes must slow down and prepare to stop.
Speed Limit Laws
Take a look at New Mexico’s maximum speed limits listed below.
|Rural interstates (mph)||Urban interstates (mph)||Other limited access roads (mph)||Other roads (mph)|
If you are pulled over for driving over the speed limit, you will most likely be given a traffic ticket and will have to pay a fine. In some cases, you will also receive points on your record.
Your car insurance rate is likely to increase if you have points on your record.
If you want to drive for a company like Uber or Lyft, you’re going to need ridesharing insurance. Insurance companies know that the more you drive, the more likely you are to get into an accident. If you drive every day for your job, you might be considered as a high-risk driver.
Here’s a list of companies that provide ridesharing insurance in New Mexico:
- State Farm
Keep in mind that a company can legally refuse to insure you if you need ridesharing insurance.
Automation on the Road
What is vehicle automation?
The IIHS says in driving, automation involves using radar, camera, and other sensors to perform part or all of the driving task on a sustained basis instead of the driver.
One example is adaptive cruise control, which continually adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a set minimum following distance. Features such as automatic braking, which acts as a backup if the human driver fails to brake, or blindspot detection, which provides additional information to the driver, aren’t considered automation under this definition.
Currently, New Mexico doesn’t have any laws about vehicle automation, but this could change as technology changes down the road.
Safety Laws in New Mexico
So far, we’ve tackled New Mexico car insurance coverage, rates, driving laws, and rules of the road, but now it’s time to talk about New Mexico safety laws.
We don’t expect you to know them all, but these safety laws could help you to avoid an accident and maybe even save a life.
It is illegal to drink and drive in the state of New Mexico. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 alone, 120 people died from alcohol-related crashes in New Mexico.
Let’s take a look at the DUI laws listed in the table below.
|DUI Laws in New Mexico||Details|
|Name for Offense||Driving While Impaired (DWI)|
|High BAC Limit||0.16|
|Criminal Status||1st-3rd not classified, 4th-5th fourth degree felony, 6th+ third degree felony|
|Look Back Period||unlimited/lifetime|
What are the penalties for drunk driving in the state of New Mexico?
|Number of Offense||ALS or Revocation||Imprisonment||Fine||Other|
|First Offense||6 months - 1year (if under 21, 1 year)||no minimum, but up to 90 days; High BAC additional 2 days jail mandatory||No minimum||DWI school, evaluation, IID for 1 year, community service|
|Second Offense||2 year revocation||96 hours - 364 days; High BAC additional 4 days jail mandatory||$500-$1000||evaluation, community service, treatment, IID 2 years; up to 5 years probation|
|Third Offense||3 year revocation||30-364 days; High BAC additional 60 days jail mandatory||$750-$1000||evaluation, treatment, community service, IID for 3 years; up to 5 years probation|
|Fourth Offense||lifetime revocation with 5 year court review||6 months-18 months||up tp $5000||evaluation, treatment, lifetime IID with 5 year review|
|Fifth Offense||Same as fourth||1-2 years||Same as fourth||Same as fourth|
|Sixth Offense||Same as fourth||18-30 months||Same as fourth||Same as fourth|
|Seventh Offense||Same as fourth||2-3 years||Same as fourth||Same as fourth|
Any level of DWI requires you to participate in a None For the Road class. Keep in mind that any DWI conviction will stay on your record for 55 years.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Currently, New Mexico doesn’t have laws against doing marijuana while driving, but this doesn’t mean that a law enforcement officer can’t pull you over for something called “impaired driving.”
The New Mexico MVD states, “Driving under the influence of any drug that makes you drive unsafely is against the law.”
If you choose to drive impaired, you’ll face the same penalties as an alcohol-related DWI: fines, jail time, license suspension, and more.
Distracted Driving Laws
According to the IIHS, it is illegal for all drivers to text and drive in the state of New Mexico. See the table below.
|Hand-held ban||Young drivers all cellphone ban||Texting ban||Enforcement|
|no||learner's permit and intermediate license holders||all drivers||primary|
New Mexico has a Distracted Driving Awareness month in April to help drivers remember how dangerous it is to use a cell phone while driving.
Primary enforcement means that a law enforcement officer can pull you over if they suspect you are texting and driving.
Driving in New Mexico
New Mexico has many winding roads, a mountainous terrain, rivers, and a desert landscape. Even though it’s beautiful, there are many bumps and bruises on the roads that can cause accidents.
In this next section, we want to talk about the risks of the road, traffic fatality rates, factors that cause traffic fatalities, vehicle theft, and traffic congestion.
The following information is brought to you from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the FBI, Inrix, and Data USA.
Vehicle Theft in New Mexico
Is your vehicle at risk of being stolen? See if it’s on this list below that highlights the top 10 makes and models of vehicles stolen in New Mexico.
|RANK||MAKE AND MODEL||MOST POPULAR VEHICLE YEAR||NUMBER OF THEFTS|
|2||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||557|
|4||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2006||483|
|5||Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||2003||269|
|6||GMC Pickup (Full Size)||2006||180|
|7||Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||1994||149|
|9||Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size)||1998||101|
This data above is from 2016, so the specific year of the vehicle is the most-popular stolen vehicle from the year 2016.
This list below is from the FBI. It shows cities that had the most vehicle theft in New Mexico in 2017.
|Taos Ski Valley||0|
|Truth or Consequences||9|
Road Fatalities in New Mexico
No one wants to talk about road fatalities, but it’s important to know where they happen, what causes them to happen, and how we can prevent them from happening.
Don’t go away. We will answer these questions soon, but first, let’s take a look at the most dangerous highway in New Mexico.
Most Fatal Highway in New Mexico
According to Geotab.com, the part of I-40 that runs through east and west through New Mexico sees more than 34 fatal crashes per year. I-40 is the fifth-most dangerous highway in the U.S. with a fatal crash rate of 1.4.
To determine the most dangerous highway in each U.S. state, Geotab calculated a Fatal Crash Rate based on the annual number of road fatalities and fatal crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, adjusted for the average daily traffic counts provided by the Federal Highway Administration.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition & Light Condition
Did fatal crashes happen because of certain weather or light conditions? Let’s take a look at the table below.
|WEATHER CONDITION||DAYLIGHT||DARK, BUT LIGHTED||DARK||DAWN OR DUSK||OTHER / UNKNOWN||TOTAL|
Although many of these crashes happened in broad daylight or in the dark, the weather conditions didn’t seem to affect the fatal crash rate in New Mexico.
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
Here’s a list of fatal crashes by counties in New Mexico from 2013 – 2017.
Per 100,000 Population
|Dona Ana County||14||19||18||24||29||6.56||8.91||8.44||11.22||13.45|
|Los Alamos County||0||2||0||0||0||0||11.29||0||0||0|
|Rio Arriba County||13||8||12||11||8||32.5||20.17||30.54||28.09||20.43|
|San Juan County||27||39||31||32||34||20.88||30.24||24.2||25.04||26.79|
|San Miguel County||7||3||4||7||3||24.35||10.56||14.21||25.04||10.81|
|Santa Fe County||9||19||14||23||16||6.14||12.93||9.51||15.55||10.76|
Bernalillo is the most populated county and also had the most accidents in New Mexico.
Traffic Fatalities: Rural vs. Urban
Usually, more fatalities happen in rural areas than in urban areas. This could be because there aren’t as many emergency service locations in rural areas as there are in urban areas.
Here’s some data showing crash rates from 2008 – 2017 on urban and rural roads.
|TYPE OF ROAD||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
This statistic proves to be true in the state of New Mexico.
Fatalities by Person Type
Did vehicle or person type have anything to do with the fatal crash rate in New Mexico?
|Light Truck - Pickup||55||65||50||73||62|
|Light Truck - Utility||46||38||45||72||59|
|Light Truck - Van||5||20||5||6||9|
|Light Truck - Other||2||2||3||2||1|
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||4||5||7||4||2|
As you can see, most of the fatal crashes involved occupants of passenger cars.
Fatalities by Crash Type
What crash types resulted in a fatality the most frequently?
|Total Fatalities (All Crashes)||311||386||298||405||379|
|Involving a Large Truck||54||72||46||40||70|
|Involving a Rollover||128||129||115||169||118|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||137||182||150||207||176|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||63||54||66||75||94|
Single-vehicle crashes and crashes involving a roadway departure were the most popular types of crashes to end in a fatality.
Five-Year Trend For the Top 10 Counties
Below is the five-year fatality trend for the top 10 largest counties in New Mexico.
|NEW MEXICO COUNTIES BY 2017 RANKING||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
|San Juan County||27||39||31||32||34|
|Dona Ana County||14||19||18||24||29|
|Santa Fe County||9||19||14||23||16|
|Top Ten Counties||202||279||209||277||274|
|All Other Counties||109||107||89||128||105|
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
Speeding causes many unnecessary traffic fatalities.
Per 100,000 Population
|Dona Ana County||5||9||12||5||7||2.34||4.22||5.63||2.34||3.25|
|Los Alamos County||0||2||0||0||0||0||11.29||0||0||0|
|Rio Arriba County||7||3||10||4||2||17.5||7.56||25.45||10.22||5.11|
|San Juan County||9||13||8||14||12||6.96||10.08||6.24||10.96||9.45|
|San Miguel County||1||2||1||2||0||3.48||7.04||3.55||7.15||0|
|Santa Fe County||4||5||1||4||3||2.73||3.4||0.68||2.7||2.02|
If you look closely, you can see that the numbers slowly increase from 2013 – 2017.
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+) by County
In 2017, there were 120 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in New Mexico.
|2014||2015||2016||2017||Fatalities Per 100,000 Population|
|Dona Ana County||6||7||6||6||8||2.81||3.28||2.81||2.81||3.71|
|Los Alamos County||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Rio Arriba County||4||1||5||6||4||10||2.52||12.73||15.32||10.21|
|San Juan County||13||13||9||14||11||10.05||10.08||7.02||10.96||8.67|
|San Miguel County||2||2||0||3||1||6.96||7.04||0||10.73||3.6|
|Santa Fe County||3||6||1||9||6||2.05||4.08||0.68||6.08||4.03|
It’s illegal to drink and drive in the state of New Mexico. Every time you drink and drive, you risk your life as well as someone else’s.
Teen Drinking & Driving
Teenage drivers don’t have a lot of experience behind the wheel, but when you add that lack of experience with a little bit of alcohol, you’re in for a deadly concoction.
New Mexico is ranked 15th in the U.S. for under-18 DUI arrests.
|DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)||DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People||Rank|
Responsibility.org says that in 26 states and D.C., under-21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population were at or below the national average of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
The state of New Mexico has a rate of 2.6 under-21 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 population. It has the second-highest rate for under-21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the U.S.
EMS Response Time
When you are involved in a serious accident, an EMS response team must arrive at the crash as soon as possible. Sometimes seconds can mean all the difference between life and death.
|TYPE OF ROAD||TIME OF CRASH TO EMS|
|EMS NOTIFICATION TO|
|EMS ARRIVAL AT SCENE|
TO HOSPITAL ARRIVAL
|TIME OF CRASH TO HOSPITAL|
|TOTAL FATAL CRASHES|
|Rural||7.71 mins||18.57 mins||51.72 mins||55.67 mins||169|
|Urban||5.92 mins||7.12 mins||26.68 mins||37.96 mins||166|
Normally, it takes a longer amount of time for a team to arrive at a crash site in a rural area than in an Urban area because there are fewer EMS service locations in and around rural areas.
Don’t be discouraged — it takes an average of 55 minutes from the time an ambulance reaches a crash site in a rural area to the time it arrives at a hospital.
While car insurance companies base their premiums on several different personal factors unique to the driver who is purchasing insurance, premiums can also be based on averages.
These averages might include how many vehicles a household owns in the state of New Mexico, what type of transportation is often used the most, and the average amount of time a person spends driving to work or driving in traffic.
Have you ever wondered how many vehicles the average family owns in New Mexico?
According to Data USA, the average New Mexico household owned two cars in 2017.
Average families in New Mexico usually own fewer vehicles than the average family in the U.S.
How much time on average does a New Mexican spend driving to work every day?
Data USA also says that by using averages, employees in New Mexico have a shorter commute time (21.1 minutes) than the normal U.S. worker (25.5 minutes). Additionally, 1.77 percent of the workforce in New Mexico have “super commutes” in excess of 90 minutes.
In 2017, the most common method of travel for workers in New Mexico was to drive alone (79.4 percent), followed by those who carpooled (10.6 percent) and those who worked at home (5.09 percent).
Traffic Congestion in New Mexico
Good news for New Mexico drivers! According to Inrix, none of New Mexico’s cities made it on the most traffic-congested cities in America list. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t ever get stuck in a traffic jam in New Mexico.
Congratulations — you’ve officially made it through our complete guide to New Mexico car insurance. Did we miss anything? What part of this guide was the most helpful to you?
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