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In New Mexico, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout is the state fish, but you don’t have to pay cutthroat prices for car insurance. Use our guide to reel in the best and most affordable coverages in New Mexico before you head out for your next adventure. Here’s a rundown of the rates you can lure in around the Land of Enchantment.
The Best Car Insurance in New Mexico:
- Best for Military Families: USAA
- Cheapest in New Mexico: State Farm
- Best for Excellent Drivers: Root
- Best for Claims: Progressive
- Best for Discounts: Farmers
New Mexico Car Insurance Overview
- The number of vehicles per household average is 2.
- Minimum state insurance requirements:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
- $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
- $25,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $10,000 property damage liability per accident
- The average rate for drivers with a clean driving record is $937.
New Mexico Car Insurance Law Explained
New Mexico drivers are expected to operate motor vehicles with at least the state minimum coverage on their vehicles. But don’t have to carry the state’s minimum coverage. Instead of holding an insurance policy, you also can opt to deposit $60,000 cash or post a bond for that same amount.
New Mexico Traffic Laws You Should Know
You must be 18 to drive in New Mexico. Drivers younger than 18 can go through a graduated licensed system starting at age 15 and 6 months with a driver’s permit and an approved driver education course. Drivers and all passengers are required to wear a safety belt. Children under 12 must be in a safety or booster seat appropriate for size and weight.
Motorists must dim headlights within a block of oncoming traffic and within 200 feet when approaching another vehicle from behind.
Don’t use parking lights unless your vehicle is parked. It’s illegal to drive with only parking lights.
New Mexico doesn’t have statewide rules about using cellphones while driving, but some cities require using them with a hands-free device. The maximum speed in a school zone is 15 mph unless posted signs say otherwise.
New Mexico Car Insurance Rates Per Vehicle
The Ford F-150 pickup truck is New Mexico’s most popular vehicle. The type of vehicle impacts auto insurance rates. That’s because auto insurance providers often develop vehicle safety ratings by collecting data from customer claims and analyzing auto industry safety reports. Insurance carriers offer lower rates for vehicles that fare better than average.
Chevy pickups have the highest theft rate in New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque, according to USA Today. Besides theft, vehicles more susceptible to damage and occupant injury may have higher rates. Vehicles with lower theft rates and risk typically have lower insurance rates.
Car Insurance Rates by Insurance Credit Score
Your insurance credit score is a factor when calculating your auto insurance rates. In most states, insurance companies can use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums. Know that credit score and credit-based insurance scores aren’t the same things.
A credit score is a number used by lenders to indicate how likely you are to be late repaying a loan or line of credit. It is produced by evaluating the information in your credit report at a credit reporting agency.
An insurance score or credit-based score is used by lenders to predict risk or the likeliness of an insurance loss. Research suggests there is a correlation between credit characteristics and insurance losses. An insurance carrier can determine a credit-based score by using the zip code, driver’s age, make, model and age of the vehicle, plus annual driven miles. FICO, which issues credit-based scores, reports that 95% of auto insurers and 85% of homeowner insurers use credit-based scores in states where it is a legal underwriting or risk classification factor.
Always remember to ask whether a credit-based protection score was used to determine the rate and hazard class decided for an insurance premium when the first statement is issued.
Here’s how FICO breaks down consumers’ risk to determine a credit-based score:
- Payment history (40%): How payments have been made in the past
- Outstanding debt (30%): Consumers’ debt load
- Credit history length (15%): Age of lines of credit
- Pursuit of new credit (10%): Recent credit applications
- Credit mix (5%): Types of credit such as credit cards, mortgage and auto loans
A credit-based protection score cannot use certain data such as a consumer’s race, religion, gender, marital status, age, salary, occupation or work history.
Improving your credit-based score is like improving your FICO rating: make timely payments, stay current and catch up on any late payments.
You can get a free credit from the 3 credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, every year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to check each of your reports and correct any mistakes by contacting these bureaus individually.
Insurance for Drivers with a Clean Record
Being a good driver means more than knowing where the clutch or brakes are. It means having a good attitude and being respectful of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and other vehicles on the road. It also requires being aware of other vehicles and driving defensively to avoid potential hazards before they happen.
A driving record fraught with tickets and accidents could mean paying considerably more for insurance coverage. On the other hand, drivers with clean records free of speeding offenses, DUI charges and at-fault accidents pay a lot less.
State minimum insurance in New Mexico means having at least a 25/50/10 coverage level. Standard coverage is considered liability only, and covers only the damage a driver causes in an accident — not the driver’s vehicle. Full coverage can include uninsured/underinsured motorist liability coverage as well as comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive and collision coverage are optional and important components of insurance coverage. Collision pays for expenses related to repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident. Comprehensive covers your vehicle for non-collision related damages such as fire damage, vehicle theft, weather-related claims and damage caused by animals.
Full coverage can also include rental reimbursement coverage, which covers the cost of a rental vehicle after an accident. It also can include roadside assistance for towing and other roadside service expenses. Full coverage is also required if a vehicle is financed. People who own their vehicles can decide to carry only liability or add more coverage. If the vehicle is worth less than $4,000, liability-only might be a good investment. Full coverage with collision and comprehensive coverage is recommended for vehicles worth more than $4,000.
You won’t receive any compensation if the vehicle is severely damaged, totaled or stolen if you don’t have these coverages.
Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions
Even good drivers with clean records make mistakes. When they do, citations are sometimes issued. Some common traffic violations can be considered criminal misdemeanors or felonies and can result in penalties, jail time or both.
Common violations include speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or an at-fault accident. Those violations can result in hefty fines and dramatically drive up insurance rates.
Best Car Insurance Providers in New Mexico
We’ve taken a look at insurance ratings, customer satisfaction from Consumer Reports national survey and J.D. Power’s regional evaluation. Here’s how New Mexico’s insurance carriers stack up.
1. Best Overall: USAA
USAA is the best insurance company in New Mexico — but it’s only available to military families. It’s ranked highest for claims and overall experience in J.D. Power’s regional evaluation.
Consumer Reports gives USAA a 95 on a 100-point scale and excellent ratings in all categories, and USAA also has the strongest financial strength ratings from AM Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
2. Cheapest Car Insurance in New Mexico: State Farm
State Farm offers the cheapest car insurance in New Mexico at $34 per month and $402 per year for minimum coverage. GEICO and Progressive ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
GEICO offers minimum coverage for $43 a month and $516 per year. Progressive trails with $47 per month and $567 annually.
3. Best Coverage for Multiple Cars: State Farm
State Farm is highly-rated among auto insurance providers for standard and supplemental coverage and State Farm’s multiple car coverage stands out with a 20% discount for insuring multiple vehicles.
State Farm offers up to a 25% discount for earning good grades and up to a 17% discount for holding multiple policies. Some of these discounts are common insurance carrier offerings but State Farm’s discounts are higher than most.
4. Best for Military Personnel: USAA
USAA is the only auto insurance carrier that’s exclusively available to military members and their families and offers the best rates for those who qualify. Its unique characteristics make it incomparable to other companies.
Highly ranked for customer satisfaction, USAA holds the strongest financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
The insurer’s full coverage offers rental reimbursement and standard coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. USAA also offers accident forgiveness, roadside assistance and payment flexibility. Customers can pay premiums for the year, set 6-month or monthly payment schedules.
5. Best for Excellent Drivers: Root
Root is a unique new car insurance provider that offers policies based on your driving habits. You’ll install an app on your phone that monitors your speed, how often you make sudden turns and stops and mileage.
Then, the app creates a custom quote for you based on how well you drive.
Root doesn’t offer policies to everyone — the company avoids reckless drivers and those who have a long history of driving infractions so the company can keep premiums low. You may be able to save more when you switch to Root.
Drivers Also Should Know
State minimum coverage in New Mexico is extremely important.
You’ll need to have the minimum liability insurance, otherwise, you’re subject to a suspended vehicle registration. Registration may be denied or delayed until insurance is obtained. New Mexico law states that an owner of an uninsured vehicle must return the vehicle registration and the license plate to the MVD within 10 days of receiving the state’s Notice of Suspension of Registration letter. You can be fined and even arrested if you violate these terms.
As you explore insurance rates in New Mexico, remember every car insurance quote is tailored to fit your unique circumstances. That means you can end up with a different quote from each company. So shop around to be sure you’re getting the best rate before you ultimately choose your insurer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of discounts are usually available?
The most common discounts available are multi-policy and auto-pay, but every company is different. Other discounts that are widely available are loyalty, good student and anti-theft device discounts. See our top providers with the best discounts and get a unique quote.
How do I bundle my car insurance with another policy, and should I?
Is there any way I can lower my insurance premiums?
You can often get a lower premium by maintaining coverage without any gaps in coverage. You can also lower your premium with discounts. Bundling your products is another way to lower your car insurance premiums. Get a customized quote to see if you can lower your premiums.
*Quotes were obtained using the following profile: base 2015 Toyota Camry, male, 40-years-old. Policies reflect state minimum coverage options. We make every effort to provide the most accurate quotes based on the profile above. Due to the many combined variables involved in insurance quotes, the only way to get an accurate quote is to enter your own information through our partners' secure websites.