Alabama, the beautiful “Heart of Dixie”, holds treasures of all kinds. From Tennessee River canyons in the north to the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico in the south, this state has something to offer every traveler. Famous for its southern hospitality, Alabama boasts historical museums, space exploration facilities, fine dining, world famous BBQ and a rich music scene. Taking a road trip through America’s “Yellowhammer State” can be an unforgettable adventure. And now, CheapCarInsurance.com has taken time to put together this information-packed list to help you be better protected in your travels.
Car Insurance Quotes for Alabama
Jefferson County Car Insurance
In the heart of Alabama is its most densely populated county, Jefferson. Once known as the "Pittsburgh of the South" for its foothold in the steel industry, the county lies in a valley within the tail ends of the Appalachian foothills. Its seat is Birmingham, a city created after the Civil War by merging three small farm towns.
Named for Thomas Jefferson, the county is the birthplace of many notable people including author and comedian Fannie Flagg, county singers Tammy Wynette and Emmylou Harris and more recently, two American Idol finalists. Popular tourist attractions include the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, McWane Science Center and Vulcan Park and Museum.
Mobile County Car Insurance
The site of Alabama's only saltwater port, Mobile County is located on the Mississippi border at the Gulf of Mexico, home to an estimated 413,000 residents. Mobile is its seat and largest city.
Mobile is the location of the nation's oldest celebration of Carnival, a festive season that takes place just before Lent and includes parades, balls and public street parties. It was first celebrated here in 1703. The Mobile Carnival Museum depicts the celebration's long history. Battleship Memorial Park features the World War II battleship, the USS Alabama and submarine USS Drum.
Madison County Car Insurance
Centered around the city of Huntsville at Tennessee border, Madison County is home to an estimated 335,000. Named for the fourth U.S. President James Madison, the county is known as the birthplace of Alabama.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is "Earth's Largest Space Museum," home of the U.S. Space Camp and the Aviation Challenge. The Apollo 16 capsule is on display, along with its recovery parachute. Other visitor draws include the 112-acre Botanical Garden and Monte Sano State Park, located on the top and slopes of Monte Sano Mountain.
Montgomery County Car Insurance
Encompassing the state capital, Montgomery County, is home to a number of higher education institutions, including Alabama State University, Huntingdon College and Auburn University Montgomery.
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, one of the 10th largest in the world, takes place at Montgomery's Carolyn Blount Theatre, having begun in 1985. It includes 400 performances each year and draws an estimated 400,000 visitors. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church was designated as a historic landmark in 1974, its name altered to honor Martin Luther King, who helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the building's basement.
Shelby County Car Insurance
Among the 100 highest income counties in the U.S., Shelby County encompasses a small portion of Birmingham and its southern suburbs. Its seat is Columbiana, a town only 25 miles southeast of Birmingham.
The county is a collection of distinctive small communities within an easy commute of Alabama's largest city. Unique attractions in Shelby County include the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum, which features a mine replica. The American Village in Montevallo is a recreation of a Colonial Village with performers dressed in period attire.
Tuscaloosa County Car Insurance
A large county in west central Alabama, Tuscaloosa County is about an hour west of Birmingham, home of the University of Alabama and its Crimson Tide football team. The county seat, Tuscaloosa, was the state capital until 1845.
Just north of the county seat is Lake Tuscaloosa, a reservoir created in 1970 that remains a popular spot for recreation. The Black Warrior River also flows through the county including downtown Tuscaloosa. It is made navigable, and the Port of Tuscaloosa made possible, by a series of locks and dams on the river. In Tuscaloosa, the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Visitor Center and Factory allows visitors to tour the plant floor, where robots assemble the various car components.
Baldwin County Car Insurance
One of only two Alabama counties that stretches to the Gulf of Mexico, Baldwin County is just east of Mobile. Its county seat is Bay Minette, a town of about 9,000. Its largest city is Daphne, located on Interstate 10 about 10 miles east of Mobile.
Home to pristine beaches, Baldwin County is a popular spot for tourism, particularly in the resort city of Gulf Shores, located about 33 miles west of Pensacola, Fla. Saltwater fishing, boating, dolphin-watching and dinner cruises are popular among visitors. The Hangout Music Festival takes place over three days each May. Popular attractions include the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and the Waterville USA theme park.
Lee County Car Insurance
Northeast of Columbus, Lee County is named for Gen. Robert E. Lee and home to an estimated 153,000. Its largest city, Auburn, is the site of Auburn University, one of Alabama's largest universities with more than 28,000 students.
The county seat of Opelika was named the No. 1 area for golf in the U.S. By Golf Digest in 2005, largely due to the Robert Trent Jones Grand National course. Chewacla State Park includes a large lake, bike trails, campgrounds and cabins. The Southeastern Raptor Center shows feature owls, eagles, hawks and other birds of prey.
Morgan County Car Insurance
In northern central Alabama, Morgan County lies just south of Huntsville, its northern border formed by Wheeler Lake and the Tennessee River. The county seat, Decatur, is located along the banks of the lake and is known as the River City.
Once a popular stop for both land travelers and boat traffic, Morgan County's economy is now heavily based in manufacturing and high tech industries. The Port of Decatur is still a busy hub along the river. It is also now the home of "Meow Mix" pet food, which is made and shipped from a 200,000-square-foot facility. The Alabama Jubilee is the oldest hot air balloon race south of the Kentucky Derby's Great Balloon Race, which began 5 years before.
Calhoun County Car Insurance
About an hour's drive northeast of Birmingham, Calhoun County is home to an estimated 119,000 residents. The county seat and largest city is Anniston, a focus of turmoil during the Civil Rights Movement and now the site of the Freedom Riders National Monument.
The Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail is popular with mountain bikers and hikers of all levels and is a regular destination for its scenic beauty and roller-coaster-like trails. The Berman Museum of World History features an eclectic collection that includes personal items of Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler. An office supply store boasts the "world's largest office chair," that is a popular photo opp with passers-by.
Car insurance quotes are for one car and one driver who has state minimum coverage with $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. The hypothetical driver is 40 years old, female, married, employed, a college graduate, and has good credit. She has no moving violations, claims, or lapse in coverage. The vehicles are assumed to be garaged on premises, used primarily for commuting, and driven 16,000 miles per year. Car insurance quotes include commonly available discounts and are estimates and not guaranteed.
Average Car Insurance Premiums
Alabama car insurance premiums have been consistently below the national average for nearly two decades. NAIC.org points out that the state’s premiums as a percentage of income recently fell below the national average, but as of 2013 it had inched back above the national average.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records Alabama as having been consistently below the national average in drunk driving fatalities up until 2013 when it was equal to the national average. In 2014, it ticked up slightly higher than the national average.
Teen Drinking and Driving
Alabama ranks high on its percentage of teen drinking and driving. It easily out ranks the national average, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Vehicular Theft in Alabama
Alabama’s vehicle theft rate dropped dramatically between 2011 and 2012, but has remained above that low through 2014. The FBI indicates that Alabama is below the national average.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
Just like Alabama’s mighty Mississippi River, state insurance laws are always on the move. To help you navigate through the winding regulations, here’s a few key points to keep in mind.
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Alabama
- The Minimum Liability Insurance of Alabama policy states that liability coverage is required for all vehicles operated in Alabama.
- Liability Coverage minimums:
- $25,000 for death or bodily injury, per person.
- $50,000 for death or bodily injury, if multiple individuals are involved.
- $25,000 for property damage.
- Failure to insure a vehicle can result in a $500 fine for the first offense and a $1,000 fine for the second or subsequent offenses.
- Also, Alabama’s DMV makes it clear that if the vehicle is registered without insurance, fees can reach an additional $400 with a mandatory four-month registration suspension.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
- The Alabama Department of Public Safety requires every driver who operates a vehicle on public roadways to be licensed.
- New drivers or residents with a license that has been expired for 3 years or more must pass the drivers examination. An out of state driver with a license not expired over one year may obtain an Alabama license without taking the road test.
- New drivers must be 16 years of age or older to obtain a regular Alabama drivers license.
- If under age 19, drivers must provide proof of secondary school graduation or current enrollment.
- Vision Screening. The vision test determines an applicant’s ability to clearly see, and if the applicant normally wears corrective lenses then the lenses should be worn for the test.
Failure to pass the test will result in a mandatory eye examination by an eye specialist to determine the need for corrective lenses. Either lenses will be issued and the applicant can report back to the screening administrator, or the exam will indicate no lenses are necessary and the applicant can take the remainder of the exam.
- Written Test. The written test evaluates the applicant’s knowledge of the Alabama Driver License Manual. Upon successful completion of this test, a regular driver license applicant will receive his/her picture license in the mail within 30 days. An applicant for a learner’s license will be issued a restricted picture license upon completion of the exam.
A learners license may be obtained by applicants ages 15 and 16; however, multiple restrictions apply, including the mandatory presence of a licensed occupant 21 years of age or older. The “Y” restriction license is valid for four years, at which time an applicant 16 years of age or older may complete the road test to obtain a regular drivers license.
- Road Test. The applicant must provide his/her own vehicle for the test, and the vehicle must be insured and registered. It must be in safe and proper working order and be adequately equipped. For a list of vehicle requirements for the road test, visit Alabama’s DPS website. A licensed driver must drive the vehicle to the test site, and, if the applicant fails, a licensed driver must be present to drive the vehicle away.
The road test evaluates the applicants ability to observe, to conrol the vehicle, to make a quick stop, to signal and turn, to backing, to knowledge of and obedience to traffic signs and signals and to make a successful three point turn. The test administrator may terminate the test and fail the applicant immediately if the applicant fails to obey a traffic law, refuses to cooperate with the administrator, is involved in an accident that the applicant could have avoided and/or the applicant makes any dangerous action.
- Fees. Every applicant must provide a testing fee of $5.00 and a license fee of $23.50.
- BAC limit: .08 Alabama DPS has instituted mandatory imprisonment/community service for any and all subsequent DUI/DWI violations. Following are the violations pertinent to each offense:
- First Offense:
- Minimum $500 and maximum $2,000 fine. Also, an additional $100 fine for the Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (IDTF) is required. (The IDTF fee applies in every subsequent offense as well.)
- Mandatory 90 day license suspension along with completion of DUI school.
- Possible imprisonment up to one year.
- Second Offense:
- Minimum $1,000 and maximum $5,000 fine.
- Minimum 20 days community service with up to 1 year of imprisonment possible.
- 1 year license suspension.
- Third Offense within 5 Years:
- Minimum $2,000 and maximum $10,000 fine.
- Minimum 60 days imprisonment without the possibility of suspension or probation. Maximum 1 year imprisonment.
- 3 year license suspension.
- Fourth or Subsequent Offenses within 5 Years – Class C Felony:
- Minimum $4,000 and maximum $10,000 fine.
- Minimum 1 year and maximum 10 years imprisonment.
- 5 year license suspension.
Texting & Driving Laws
Distraction.gov reports that Alabama recently banned all handheld and hands-free devices for novice drivers. The state has also banned all texting for all drivers.
Every state’s laws do a great job at keeping drivers on their toes. A good law to keep in mind states that windshield wipers are mandatory on all vehicles. A little less well-known law states that it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle. Good to know!