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Getting auto insurance might not be fun, but if you’re driving a vehicle in Alaska, it’s the law. More specifically, the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles requires all drivers to have a minimum of $50,000/$100,000 in insurance for bodily injury or death, in addition to a minimum of $25,000 for property damage.

As in other states, Alaskan drivers are required to carry proof of insurance with them at all times while driving. Failure to do so can result in suspension of your driver’s license, as well as getting your vehicle impounded. Given the consequences, it’s not worth it to risk driving in Alaska without insurance.

Just because insurance is mandatory doesn’t mean you should go out and sign up for the first policy you find, though. Auto insurance prices can vary – in some cases quite a bit. If you’re on a budget, you don’t want to pay more for insurance than you have to. To make the task of finding affordable auto insurance less painful, we’ve compiled a list of the cheapest companies in the state.

  • United Services
  • USAA
  • 21st Century
  • State Farm

United Services winds up having the cheapest rates for Alaska, charging only $435 per year on average. USAA is next, also offering a bargain at $485 per year. GEICO and 21st Century come in at 3rd and 4th respectively, with GEICO offering average rates of $545 and 21st Century at $667. The jump from $545 to $667 may seem steep, but it’s actually still a very reasonable price. State Farm comes in just slightly more expensive, averaging $681.

To put this rates into perspective, the average price for auto insurance in Alaska is $773 per year. By contrast, the most expensive insurance company in the state, Teachers Insurance Company, charges an average rate of $1,339 per year.

All About Location

In order to truly find the cheapest auto insurance in Alaska, you have to take location into account. Different companies sometimes charge different premiums depending on the city. Some cities definitely tend to charge higher auto insurance rates than others, and it’s not always in direct proportion to the overall cost of living in each place. These are Alaska’s main cities and towns, ranked from ones offering the cheapest auto insurance to the most expensive:

Juneau, AK:Nome, AK:Kenai, AK:Wasilla, AK:Fairbanks, AK:Bethel, AK:Anchorage, AK:Kiplinger

  • Juneau, AK: Alaska’s capital also has its cheapest auto insurance.
  • Nome, AK: Known as gold rush town in the early 1900’s, you don’t have to strike it rich to get auto insurance here.
  • Kenai, AK: With a population of just over 7,000, there shouldn’t be too many traffic jams here.
  • Wasilla, AK: Home of former VP nominee Sarah Palin, many of this town’s residents commute to Anchorage for work, making auto insurance especially important here.
  • Fairbanks, AK: Auto insurance starts to get a little pricier here, in one of Alaska’s northernmost major cities.
  • Bethel, AK: Home to the only detention center in the southwestern part of the state, Bethel is roughly 400 miles from Anchorage.
  • Anchorage, AK: The most populous city in Alaska, as well as the most expensive place to buy auto insurance. Don’t get too mad about the auto insurance rates, though; Kiplinger has named Anchorage the most tax-friendly city in the US.

Whether you’re in Anchorage or Juneau, it’s a good idea to shop around when looking for auto insurance. Find an insurance policy that’s right for you, and make sure it’s available at a reasonable price. If there’s any state where having a vehicle is an absolute requirement, it’s probably Alaska with its sparse population and massive distances between cities. Still, there’s plenty of good affordable auto insurance options available, which means you don’t have to settle for overpaying.