Car Insurance in New Mexico

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Although New Mexico doesn’t have a lot of drivers, it does have some famous ones. The Land of Enchantment is the original home of auto racing’s legendary Unser family, including Al Unser – a four-time winner of the Indy 500. Counting the Unsers, there are roughly 1.5 million licensed drivers in the state, and they’ve registered about 1.7 million vehicles. Those New Mexico motorists then drive their vehicles some 30 billion miles each year. It all adds up to a lot of opportunities for accidents and auto thefts to arise. That’s part of the reason why car insurance is so important in New Mexico.

Let’s look at some numbers: According to the FBI, New Mexico reports nearly 12,000 motor vehicle thefts annually. This works out to a rate of more than 560 thefts per 100,000 people, since the state has an overall population of 2 million. In other words, New Mexico’s rate is more than twice as high compared to its next-door neighbor Arizona. About 45,000 crashes per year take place in New Mexico as well. Of these incidents, almost 400 result in fatalities and more than 1,000 cause serious injuries. The rest (approximately 70%) have no injuries, but do have at least $500 in property damage.

Yet the state actually has very reasonable auto insurance pricing despite those risk factors. When we recently analyzed representative coverage costs across the country, relying on standardized driver profiles, the sample rates for the nation as a whole were 5% more expensive than those for New Mexico.

One advantage for New Mexico drivers is that the state combines a relatively low population density with a relatively strong commitment to keeping the roads in shape. Per a recent study from WalletHub, New Mexico ranks No. 3 in the country for the best traffic and driving infrastructure. 

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in New Mexico

The rates shown here are based on a study performed by Quadrant Information services on behalf of U.S. News. The study examined rates from nine largest car insurance companies in the United States, using certain driver profiles. Your rates will differ.

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance in New Mexico

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Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

To get the state-wide study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 25, 35 and 60 who drive 12,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s claim to below-average insurance pricing is based on representative quotes provided as part of our recent research. On the strength of that data, the annual average cost of auto insurance in the state came to $1,255. This compares to an average of $1,320 in yearly car insurance expenses for the typical U.S. policy in our study. The representative rates in New Mexico also stood out as lower than for any of the four states on its borders: Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma. 

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The costs in our analysis for New Mexico would have been even lower if it weren’t for three companies in particular. Our model driver profiles returned sample costs of $1,750 annually from Allstate, $1,440 annually from Farmers, and $1,340 from Nationwide. The remaining four companies were below the state’s overall average. The representative premiums from USAA were the lowest in our study, at $1,000 per year. In the real world, though, the USAA is focused primarily on coverage for members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families. The least expensive mainstream insurers were Progressive and State Farm. Their average example prices for auto insurance were $1,060 and $1,070 per annum, respectively. 

New Mexico Car Insurance Rates by Age

Among the most influential factors on insurance coverage come from your personal demographics. Age and gender are particularly important, and they work together to affect how much you pay for auto insurance everywhere. To see how this plays out in New Mexico, we developed a series of standardized driver profiles that were based on men and women at three age levels. The profiles had good driving records and drove 12,000 miles annually. We took into account vehicle types by setting up profiles for the same drivers in a 2015 Honda Civic car, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 crossover, and a 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. Every one of our hypothetical drivers had good credit, too, along with a medium level of insurance coverage. 

Young drivers generally pay the highest rates because it can take years before they increase their skill and maturity levels enough to really be comfortable on the road. Before they build their confidence behind the wheel, they may have trouble when it comes to accidents and hazards that more experienced drivers area able to avoid. The data tells the story.

Drivers between the ages of 20 and 24 have a crash rate of 78 accidents per 1,000 drivers in that age range. But things change drastically at the other end of the spectrum. The crash rate for the drivers who were 65 to 69 years old was 25 accidents per 1,000 people. For the two age cohorts of people aged either 70 to 74 or 75 or older, the accident rates were 24 and 30 per 1,000 people, in that order. The state keeps attracting more and more seniors, too, as over 40% of all new residents each year are coming for retirement. 

As a starting point, costs in our study were lower when we submitted insurance requests for female drivers at all age groups. The differences weren’t very large, however. The representative policy price when our profiles were set for men aged 25 years was $1,455 a year, while only changing the gender to “female” lowered that to $1,375 annually – a difference of less than $6.75 per month. Keeping all other factors steady, raising the ages on the profiles to 35 lead to example quotes of $1,230 per year for men and $1,225 for women. If we modified the profile ages to 60 years old – and again kept all else the same – the annual difference between the two sample rates was $40. The average outlay for auto insurance was projected at $1,145 for the male driver profiles, and the amount dropped to $1,105 annually in our case studies for female drivers. 

Company

25-year-old male

25-year-old female

35-year-old male

35-year-old female

60-year-old male

60-year-old female

Allstate

$1,991.86

$1,886.77

$1,714.09

$1,705.78

$1,642.05

$1,564.36

Farmers

$1,704.18

$1,635.59

$1,400.76

$1,406.72

$1,292.72

$1,190.89

Geico

$1,060.61

$1,046.97

$1,258.46

$1,194.35

$1,130.59

$1,130.59

Nationwide

$1,655.22

$1,509.01

$1,303.94

$1,273.87

$1,188.69

$1,107.25

Progressive

$1,308.07

$1,261.55

$977.60

$1,011.82

$896.60

$887.58

State Farm

$1,254.14

$1,143.96

$1,039.97

$1,039.97

$961.71

$961.71

USAA

$1,207.75

$1,128.99

$928.86

$934.60

$893.95

$894.76

New Mexico Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

To see the effect of credit scores on insurance costs, we created a series of similar driving profiles for men and women who had good, fair, or poor credit. All profiles represented customers who drive 12,000 miles a year, have a clean driving record, and are shopping for medium levels of insurance. Digging deeper, we also ran the same profiles for people at 25, 35, and 60 years of age, and when they’re driving a 2015 Honda Civic, a 2015 Toyota RAV4, and a 2015 Ford F-150.

It turned out that your credit makes a much bigger impact on your premiums than your age does. Including a history of poor credit with our driver examples brought us average study rates of $2,010 a year for automotive insurance. If our hypothetical drivers improved their credit scores to just “fair,” they could save close to $600 annually. The average representative insurance cost for those folks was $1,440 per year. Good credit doesn’t cut costs quite that much, but it's still almost $200 versus driver profiles with fair credit. The typical annual payment for coverage when driver profiles had a good credit history in our study averaged $1,255 for a 12-month period.

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,750.82

$1,897.26

$2,276.64

Farmers

$1,438.48

$1,637.68

$2,475.21

Geico

$1,136.93

$1,281.08

$2,111.84

Nationwide

$1,339.66

$1,538.18

$1,948.79

Progressive

$1,057.20

$1,241.86

$1,630.61

State Farm

$1,066.91

$1,332.61

$2,125.94

USAA

$998.15

$1,145.44

$1,517.17

New Mexico Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

If you get into one accident, does that mean you’ll necessarily get into another? Maybe not, but insurance-company statistics do show that people with worse driving records file more claims – and that drives up policy prices.  Here’s what you should know about the situation in New Mexico: When we set up example profiles for people with spotless driving records, the average cost for a one-year auto insurance policy in our research was $1,255. The data next indicated that one driving ticket would raise that to $1,465.  After an accident, the average price of a representative auto policy in New Mexico was $1,865 a year. Premiums in our study jumped to $2,365 annually if our theoretical drivers were convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). With that scenario, pricing is nearly 90% higher than for profiles created with clean driving histories.  

These study rates are drawn from our curated driver profiles for men and women at ages 25, 35, and 60. Our profile criteria also include good credit scores, medium levels of coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual driving in three vehicles: a 2015 Honda Civic, a 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 pickup.

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DUI

Allstate

$1,750.82

$1,938.10

$2,236.21

$2,359.42

Farmers

$1,438.48

$1,838.30

$2,055.99

$1,988.74

Geico

$1,136.93

$1,136.93

$2,020.47

$4,680.81

Nationwide

$1,339.66

$1,606.26

$2,354.49

$3,107.81

Progressive

$1,057.20

$1,443.88

$1,868.64

$1,269.08

State Farm

$1,066.91

$1,147.91

$1,147.91

$1,147.91

USAA

$998.15

$1,132.00

$1,362.64

$1,989.25

New Mexico Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Of course, not all drivers want the same amount of insurance protection. With that in mind, we also varied our profiles by high, medium, and low coverage levels. What we kept the same were details such as having both a good credit score and an accident-free driving record. Also in place was our 12,000-mile annual driving limit with 2015 model year examples of the Honda Civic, Toyota RAV4, and Ford F-150. In terms of personal characteristics, our sample rates averaged the data from female and male driver profiles represented as 25, 35, and 60 years old.

Our study found that you get what you pay for as far as car insurance goes in New Mexico. So it takes more money to get more coverage. Settling for low levels of protection led to representative policy rates of $1,175 annually in the state. Insurers bumped up their example quotes by $80 a year – 7% – if we widened coverage to medium levels. At that stage, the average outlay per year reached $1,255. The most extensive coverage was naturally the most expensive. Calibrating the study profiles so they represent people looking for the very highest level of protection meant projected annual insurance expenses of $1,350 (on average). It would be like paying an additional $14.60 a month over the profile with low coverage.

Company

Low

Medium

High

Allstate

$1,693.85

$1,750.82

$1,815.77

Farmers

$1,330.46

$1,438.48

$1,547.46

Geico

$1,032.88

$1,136.93

$1,266.93

Nationwide

$1,279.90

$1,339.66

$1,442.69

Progressive

$1,013.91

$1,057.20

$1,112.41

State Farm

$943.17

$1,066.91

$1,188.69

USAA

$917.64

$998.15

$1,065.93

New Mexico Car Insurance Rates by Annual Mileage

It may seem counterintuitive, but annual mileage seems to have a pretty small impact on how much our driver profiles pay for auto insurance in the state. In fact, by increasing annual mileage by 100% – doubling the distance – prices in our analysis go up by only 3%. More specifically, the costs according to our data went from $1,220 per year at the shorter distance (6,000 miles per year) to $1,255 per year at the longer distance (12,000 miles per year). 

Note that these rates are for illustration purposes only. They are based on driver profiles for 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old men and women with a clean driving history and good credit records. To further expand our sample size, profiles were created for a medium level of insurance on a trio of popular vehicles: the 2015 Ford F-150, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Honda Civic. 

Company

6,000 miles annually

12,000 miles annually

Allstate

$1,750.82

$1,750.82

Farmers

$1,438.48

$1,438.48

Geico

$1,060.43

$1,136.93

Nationwide

$1,339.66

$1,339.66

Progressive

$1,057.20

$1,057.20

State Farm

$970.29

$1,066.91

USAA

$926.77

$998.15

New Mexico Car Insurance Rates by City

Insurance rates usually have a certain logic to them. For instance, big cities tend to have higher rates of crime, more traffic, and longer commutes than places with smaller populations, so insurance generally costs more in those cities because of the higher risk of a car being stolen or damaged. That was roughly the case in New Mexico. One of the outcomes of our study was that the city with the largest population in the state – Albuquerque, with close to 560,000 residents – also had the highest sample insurance costs: $1,440 for a 12-month period. Moreover, when we gave one of the smallest cities in the study as the hometown for our profiles, insurers provided the lowest average representative quotes. The price in Alamogordo, with a population of about 30,000 people, was $1,085 for the same duration.  Yet many locations didn’t fit this pattern. Consider Las Cruces (population: 100,000) and Gallup (population: 22,000). Policy projections for driver profiles in the former were $1,140 annually, and the annual cost in the latter was $1,190. 

That outcome is the result of getting quotes for our comprehensive series of custom driver profiles. They allowed us to see statistics for male and female drivers with no accidents on their driving record and no problems on their credit scores. The vehicles used for our research were the 2015 Toyota RAV4, 2015 Ford F-150, and 2015 Honda Civic. In all scenarios, we assumed drivers were covering 12,000 miles annually and had a medium level of insurance coverage. We also broadened our database by developing sample profiles for drivers who were 25, 35, and 60 years old.

City

Average Rate

Albuquerque

$1,440.17

Las Cruces

$1,138.19

Rio Rancho

$1,339.42

Santa Fe

$1,308.71

Roswell

$1,302.26

Farmington

$1,177.33

Hobbs

$1,313.57

Alamogordo

$1,086.56

Carlsbad

$1,308.59

Gallup

$1,189.10

New Mexico Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

New Mexico requires liability insurance. For bodily injuries or death, the mandatory baseline for coverage includes:

  • $25,000 for one person in any one accident
  • $50,000 for two or more people in a single accident, subject to the limit for a single person

To cover property damages, the necessary amount is:

  • $10,000 per one accident

New Mexico also requires that insurers at least offer coverage for accidents caused by uninsured drivers. It’s up to you to turn this down if you don’t want it. 

As an alternative to third-party insurance, you can instead post a surety bond or certificate of deposit in the amount of $60,000. 

Cheapest Car Insurance in New Mexico

Note: Due to USAA's limited membership, we excluded them from this segment evaluation.

Category

Cheapest Company

Drivers with a Military Affiliation

USAA

Single Young Adult Drivers

Geico

Married Adult Drivers

Progressive

Senior Drivers

Progressive

Drivers with Good Credit

Progressive

Drivers with Poor Credit

Progressive

Drivers with a Clean Record

Progressive

Drivers with One Speeding Violation

Geico

Drivers with One Accident

State Farm

Drivers with One DUI

State Farm

Low-mileage Drivers

State Farm

High-mileage Drivers

Progressive

Drivers with Low Coverage

State Farm

Drivers with High Coverage

Progressive

Drivers with Used Cars

Progressive

Drivers with New Cars

Progressive

We established which companies have the lowest average insurance representative rates in New Mexico by comparing prices for a wide span of drivers. Included were sample profiles for women and men, all with clear driving histories. Additionally, we ran the profiles for drivers at three ages – 25, 35, and 60 – and with a medium level of insurance coverage. We held credit scores constant at good in each situation, while limiting miles driven to 12,000 per year. As for what was driven, our vehicle examples were the 2015 Toyota RAV4, 2015 Ford F-150 and 2015 Honda Civic.

USAA was the low-cost leader in our study, with projected average annual insurance rates of $1,000 annually. Progressive ($1,060 a year) and State Farm ($1,070 a year) were the cheapest mainstream insurers. The most expensive? Allstate came back with sample rates 75% higher than USAA’s – $1,750 per year.

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in New Mexico

The reason insurance rates vary between customers is the same for any state: Policy prices are carefully calibrated to take into account each driver’s unique situation. First, insurance companies gather all of your personal information from your application. Next, this data is plugged into their detailed statistical models for predicting how much money they’re likely to pay for claims. Your cost is derived from that amount plus a little extra for profit, overhead, and similar business expenses.

We’ve already talked about a few of the factors that affect premiums, such as:

  • age
  • gender
  • coverage amount
  • credit score
  • driving record
  • location
  • annual driving mileage

In addition, marital status plays a part. The kind of vehicle you drive is an obvious but crucial consideration. Cars and SUVs that are more expensive to replace or repair – and sporty vehicles that are often driven dangerously – will cost more to insure than their mainstream counterparts.

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in New Mexico

Sure, insurance companies say they determine their rates with mathematical precision. Yet this isn’t the kind of math where two plus two always equals four. The insurers have their own unique equations for figuring costs. For them, adding up your exact same risk factors can lead to very different sums for policy prices. The difference is so substantial that the first thing we recommend to save on insurance is cross-shopping multiple companies. To give you an idea of the potential savings, remember our data. Average sample prices in our New Mexico study were 75% higher at the most expensive company than at the cheapest. 

Justin A. Morris / Getty Images

As you shop around, be sure to ask about discounts to get the lowest possible rates. A few of the common money-savers are applied automatically. These are the discounts for factors that directly affect your likelihood of filing a claim, like having a good credit score and a clean driving record, or being a certain age or gender. 

Some insurers also will fine-tune your policy to match your real-world driving habits. They do this by sending you a tracking device that you plug right into your car. Potential savings are based on your actual behavior on the road, so you’ll pay less for insurance as long as you drive more safely than the company’s typical customers.

Further discounts can include:

  • Bundling other insurance policies, such as home and life, with the same company that covers your car
  • Paying your premium online instead of with a check, and making payments twice a year instead of monthly
  • Passing a qualified driving skills class, although the cost of the class has to be less than the discount to truly save money

It’s also worthwhile to ask if any affinity groups you belong to have partnerships with insurance companies. Alumni associations, credit unions, and veterans’ organizations occasionally work with insurers to let members take advantage of group discounts. 

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Important Laws Around Auto Insurance in New Mexico

New Mexico is an at-fault state that grants damages in auto accidents following the principles of comparative negligence. Translating that into English, it means that the person at fault in an accident – or her or his insurance company – has to pay up. However, that amount is reduced if other driver(s) were also at fault. Take a case where you get into an accident and sue the other driver for $1,000 in damages. If the court finds that you were 30% responsible for the crash, you can only recover $700 – the original $1,000 reduced by 30%. Also, if you are more than 50% responsible, you may not be able to recover any damages.

 Digital insurance cards are not explicitly mentioned in New Mexico’s state laws. Anecdotal evidence indicates some law-enforcement personnel will accept virtual proof of insurance in the state, but your best bet is to carry the real thing. 

New Mexico Driving Laws and Punishments

New Mexico prohibits you from driving while using your handheld phone to read or send texts – unless you’re contacting first responders in an emergency. Separately, you can’t use your handheld phone for any reason if you’re driving a commercial vehicle, like a bus. The punishment for a first violation of either law is a $25 fine, and subsequent convictions will cost you $50 each. Using a phone hands-free is legal. 

Jaromir Chalabala / EyeEm / Getty Images

State law also bans driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or any drug. This refers to both having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or being “incapable of safely driving a vehicle.” After a first conviction, a driver faces up to 90 days in prison, a fine of not more than $500, or both – plus at least 24 hours of community service and completion of a qualified driver-rehabilitation program. Nor is that the end of it. Drivers are also required to have an interlock device on their vehicles for a year with a first conviction.

Drivers can be convicted of an aggravated charge for:

  • A BAC of .16 or higher
  • Refusal to undergo chemical testing for DUI
  • Causing injury to other(s) while driving under the influence

At that point, the minimum penalty includes at least 48 hours of imprisonment. DUI becomes a felony upon a fourth conviction in the state, with the punishment starting at six to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5,000. With the fourth DUI, you will also lose your license permanently, though you can petition the court once every five years to get it reinstated. The highest listed penalty, for an eighth or subsequent conviction, is up to a 12-year jail term (with 10 of those years mandatory) and a fine as high as $10,000.

New Mexico Car Insurance FAQs

Is car insurance required in New Mexico?

Yes, New Mexico requires auto insurance. If you can afford it, you can post a surety bond or certificate of deposit for $60,000 instead.

Which cars are required to be insured in New Mexico?

All vehicles registered in New Mexico must be insured.

When should I get car insurance in New Mexico?

You should insure your vehicle before you register it, since proof of insurance is required for the registration process.

What happens if my car is not properly insured in New Mexico?

Driving without insurance is considered a misdemeanor in New Mexico punishable by a fine of up to $300 and/or 90 days in prison. 

Is New Mexico a no-fault state?

No, New Mexico is an at-fault state that relies on the theory of comparative negligence to handle damages from auto accidents. Under these guidelines, the amount of damages you can recover in an accident will be decreased by however much you were responsible for the crash yourself. 

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in New Mexico?

No, you do not need uninsured motorist coverage in New Mexico. Insurance companies have to offer this coverage, but you have the option of turning it down. 

Is liability insurance required in New Mexico?

Yes, liability insurance is required in New Mexico. All drivers must have: 

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability insurance per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability insurance

You can choose to post a surety bond or certificate of deposit – in the amount of $60,000 – instead of acquiring a conventional insurance coverage. 

Does New Mexico accept digital insurance cards?

No, digital insurance cards are not legal replacements for physical cards in New Mexico. That said, local law-enforcement agencies in the state may accept them on an informal basis.