A Complete Guide to Alaska Car Accident Laws

From filing a report to claiming damages, here’s what you should know about Alaska’s car accident laws.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
If you’re in a car accident in Alaska, you’ll have to report the incident to the police or DMV—but you can claim damages through your insurance or personal injury lawsuit depending on your level of fault.
Car accidents are stressful, and it’s hard to think of everything you need to do when you’re sitting on the shoulder with a smashed car. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with your state’s car accident laws before you need to. 
Here to take you through Alaska’s car accident laws is the
Jerry
, the
car insurance
comparison app. We’ll cover accident reporting, financial responsibility, personal injury lawsuits, and comparative fault to make sure that you’re prepared for every outcome of a car accident in the Last Frontier. We'll also talk about how to find savings on your
Alaska car insurance cost
.
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What to do after a crash: Alaska car accident reporting laws

The first thing you need to do following any car accident is to ensure you and any others in your vehicle are safe. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic. Check for injuries, then call 911 if anyone is hurt. 
When you get your bearings, it’s also important to document the accident in any way possible, like taking photos and noting any road conditions or speed limit signs that may have contributed to the wreck. You should also exchange information with the other party or any witnesses. This includes the following details:
  • Name, address, and contact information
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Car insurance information
Then what? In Alaska, if a law enforcement officer doesn’t immediately investigate the accident, you must fill out a report of the crash and submit it within 10 days if the accident falls into one of the following categories:
  • Resulted in bodily injury 
  • Caused the death of a person
  • Caused property damage to an apparent extent of $2,000 or more
Let’s look closer at the ins and outs of reporting an accident to the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. 

Types of accident report forms

There are
two forms
you can submit after an accident: the Accident Self-Report form (DPS Form 12-209) and the Certificate of Insurance form (DMV Form 466). You’ll choose the Accident Self-Report form if law enforcement did not respond to the accident or the responding officer instructed you to self-report the crash.
If the responding officer instructed you to show proof of insurance at the scene of the accident after investigating and you were then given a case number, you’ll need to fill out and submit the Certificate of Insurance form. 

How to submit accident report forms

When you figure out which forms you need to submit to the DMV, you’ll need to first collect all the information needed to fill them out. Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Your Driver’s License number 
  • Your insurance information (company, address, phone number, and policy number)
  • Your vehicle information (year, make, model, license plate number and state, and VIN)
  • The vehicle owner’s information, if you aren’t the owner
  • The other driver’s information (name, address, license number, owner information, insurance information, and vehicle details)
You can fill out the forms electronically on the PDF or by hand. When reporting the details of the accident, use clear and concise sentences to describe what happened in your own words. Then you’ll sign the document before submitting it. 
Before you submit the form, you may want to make a copy for your records—you can’t get them back after submitting. If you filled out the form electronically, email your completed document to doa.dmv.ads@alaska.gov. If you printed a physical copy to fill out, mail it to the following address:
State of Alaska
Division of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Driver Services
3901 Old Seward Hwy, Ste 101
Anchorage, AK 99503-6089

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Alaska’s insurance laws

Almost all states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance coverage. How much does Alaska require? And what happens if you’re caught without it?
In Alaska, drivers must have a liability insurance policy in compliance with the state’s minimum requirements. According to
Alaska car insurance laws
, you must have 50/100/25 liability coverage, or:
If you’re caught driving without the minimum coverage—or you can’t provide proof of coverage in an accident or traffic stop—you’ll likely get hit with a $500 fine or even a license suspension anywhere from 90 days to one year. 
Despite these requirements, not every Alaskan driver carries car insurance. A 2019 study by the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
found that around 16.1% of Alaska drivers don’t have car insurance
If you’re in the 83.9% of drivers who do have insurance, you might run into issues claiming damages in an accident with an uninsured driver. All insurance companies in Alaska are required to provide
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of it. 

Claiming damages after an accident: Alaska’s personal injury laws

In some cases, you may want to take more action than just filing an insurance claim after an accident—you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages. According to
Alaska Statutes section 09.10.070
, anyone who has been injured in an accident can claim both economic and non-economic damages associated with the accident. This includes: 
  • Economic damages: medical bills, lost wages, lost employment or business opportunities, loss of use of property, and burial expenses
  • Non-economic damages: pain and suffering, mental suffering, inconvenience, and humiliation
The same law also sets a statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits and personal injury claims. Regardless of the type of claim, you have two years to file a lawsuit—which starts on the date of the injury or accident. If you file after this period, the court will likely refuse it. 

Damage caps on non-economic claims

While economic losses are usually pretty straightforward to determine, non-economic losses—like pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc.—are less clear when assigning a monetary value. That’s why Alaska caps non-economic damages at the following amounts: 
  • “$400,000 or the injured person's life expectancy in years multiplied by $8,000, whichever is greater;” or,
  • “$1,000,000 or the person's life expectancy in years multiplied by $25,000, whichever is greater, when the damages are awarded for severe permanent physical impairment or severe disfigurement.”

Who’s to blame: Alaska’s pure comparative negligence law

After any car accident, one of the biggest questions to determine is who’s at fault. If Jill is speeding and hits Sam’s car, but Sam was texting while driving, who’s to blame? And who gets to collect the damages?
In Alaska, what’s known as pure comparative negligence applies, which means each driver collects compensation in proportion to their level of fault—unless they’re found to be 100% at fault. 
Using the example above, both Jill and Sam committed traffic violations, so neither of them will be 100% at fault. If Sam is found to be 30% at fault and Jill is 70% at fault, Sam will only be responsible for 30% of Jill’s damages. However, Jill or her insurance company will have to take care of 70% of Sam’s vehicle repairs or medical bills
Alaska is only one of 12 states that follow the pure comparative negligence rule, otherwise known as pure comparative fault. Bear in mind, however, that the rules are likely to change if you’re in an accident in another state. 

How to save money on car insurance in Alaska

If you’re found at fault in a car accident in Alaska,
your insurance premium could increase
by an average of 51%. But finding a more affordable rate doesn’t have to be impossible—especially with the help of
Jerry
, the
#1-rated insurance shopping app
With Jerry, you can find savings on whatever coverage you need in as little as 45 seconds. Shopping with Jerry won’t require any long wait times, math problems, or endless forms. Just download the app, answer some quick questions, and review your quotes from top providers. 
When you make your pick, Jerry’s top-notch team will handle the switch for you. The average Jerry user saves over $800 on their annual car insurance costs!
Jerry
makes choosing new insurance as easy as grocery shopping. Even though I had a car accident within the past 2 years, Jerry found me a great deal with Nationwide–I went from paying $340 to $90 a month!”—Pan N.
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