DRIVING IN ALABAMA
Drivers must carry with them at all times a valid Driver’s License from their home country with a valid International Driver’s License/Permit, a valid Driver’s License from another US state, or a valid Alabama Driver’s License.
Driver’s Licenses from other states, other country driver’s licenses, and International Driver’s Licenses are valid for use within the State of Alabama – see point 6 on the list of “An Alabama License is not required for these people” found at the bottom of page 5 (page 7 of 88 in the pdf) of the Alabama Driver’s Manual.
While it is possible to drive on a valid foreign or out-of-state license, it is strongly advised that you obtain an Alabama State license if you plan to operate a vehicle in Alabama. This will help to avoid problems if you are stopped for a traffic violation or at any other time when you need to present a driver’s license. In addition, if you purchase a vehicle, you will need an Alabama license to be able to register your vehicle with the state and obtain a license plate. Also, if you do not have a US driver’s license, many car insurance companies will not insure your vehicle, or will insure you through a “high risk” pool at much higher rates.
Alabama Driving Regulations: All drivers, regardless of where they received their license, must obey the driving laws of the State of Alabama while driving in Alabama. The Alabama Driver’s Manual is available here.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND TRAFFIC STOPS
The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Tuscaloosa Police Department, Northport Police Department, and The University of Alabama Police Department have a public service announcement regarding proper response to a traffic stop. The video was developed in response to questions posed to law enforcement by civilians wanting to know the proper procedure for responding to officers when they are pulled over for a traffic violation.Review UAPD Traffic Safety Brochure
CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
PLEASE NOTE: IT IS ILLEGAL TO DRIVE IN ALABAMA WITHOUT AUTO INSURANCE.
Alabama Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles
If you choose to purchase traditional liability coverage from an insurance carrier rather than obtain a Motor Vehicle Liability Bond or Certificate of Cash Bond, your policy must include:
- $25,000 injury liability for one person
- $50,000 for all injuries in one accident
- $25,000 property damage in one accident
Purchasing basic liability coverage ensures you’re meeting the state’s minimum financial responsibility requirements, but you should consider insurance coverage that includes more protection for yourself, your passengers, and your car, including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (which protects you in case someone hits you and does not have auto insurance).
Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility
You must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times when driving. There are several ways you can show proof that you’re meeting the state’s financial responsibility requirements:
- An insurance card, premium receipt, binder, declarations page, or a certificate of liability policy from your provider.
- A copy of your liability insurance policy.
- A copy of the proof of vehicle purchase and the old insurance card for the vehicle your purchase replaced (only valid for 60 days after purchasing the new vehicle).
- A copy of the rental agreement if you’re renting the vehicle.
- A copy of your Motor Vehicle Liability Bond.
- A copy of your Certificate of Cash Bond.
Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
The Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) can suspend your vehicle’s tag registration if you fail to maintain financial responsibility. The steps to reinstate the registration depend on the offense number:
- First Offense: You must obtain and provide proof of liability insurance and pay a reinstatement fee of $100.
- Second Offense: Your registration will stay suspended for four months, you must obtain and provide proof of liability insurance, and you must pay a reinstatement fee of $200.
Need more information about the state’s financial responsibility requirements, penalties for no proof of insurance, and how to reinstate your vehicle registration? Contact the MVD at (334) 242-3000 or http://www.ador.state.al.us/motorvehicle/index.html
Car Insurance for International Students
There are many companies which provide insurance coverage. Please see some of the following options:
- Allstate Insurance
- Farmer’s Insurance
- Geico Insurance
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Nationwide Insurance
- Progressive Insurance