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Your car insurance is really six separate policies—some are required, others optional—carefully weigh your risks when buying protection for you and your family.
Carole Walker, RMIIA

Uninsured Motorists: New Mexico

The Insurance Research Council estimates uninsured motorist rates based on how frequently insurance companies process car-crash claims involving an uninsured motorist. The latest claims data (2009) indicates the rate is 26%. Prior to the implementation of the Insurance Identification Database, New Mexico had the second highest uninsured motorist rate in the United States, estimated at 30% according to the Insurance Research Council. The Council's 2004 claims data indicated New Mexico's uninsured motorist rate dipped to 24% after implementation of the database program, though it now appears to be higher.

Administrators of New Mexico's Insurance Identification Database program estimate the uninsured motorist rate is 10% based on the number of registered vehicles compared to their records of how many are reported insured. Because it is difficult to track uninsured motorists, estimates can vary widely depending on methodology.

Also visit: New Mexico Auto Insurance Requirements | Uninsured Motorists Basics

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in New Mexico

Auto insurance is required in New Mexico. You need proof of insurance when registering your vehicle. New Mexico compares its database of registered vehicles with a list of insured vehicles provided by all the insurance companies in New Mexico. If the state finds a vehicle which is registered but uninsured, it sends the policyholder a notice. If you are caught driving without proof of insurance, you face a $100 fine.

New Mexico's Insurance Identification Database (IIDB)

The Law
Effective December 2, 2002, this law is intended to ensure that New Mexico motorists comply with mandatory auto insurance laws and reduce the number of uninsured drivers in New Mexico.

Effect on Vehicle Drivers/Owners

Q. I received a notice that my registration was suspended... Why?

A. The New Mexico Insurance Identification Database identified your vehicle as not having insurance through a New Mexico licensed insurance company. You were sent a prior notice, thirty (30) days before you received the Notice of Suspension of Registration, advising you of this fact and requesting you to work with your insurance agent or company to provide the IIDB with the needed proof of insurance. You may not show as insured on the IIDB for a number of reasons, such as, the vehicle does not have insurance coverage, the vehicle is insured by an insurance company not licensed to do business in the State of New Mexico, the insurance company has not properly reported insurance coverage for the vehicle, or the vehicle identification number (VIN) may be incorrect on the Motor Vehicle Division's records.

Q. How can I clear a registration suspension?

A. Obtain adequate insurance and have your insurance agent update your insurance information on the IIDB website www.driveinsured.com or contact the IIDB Call Center toll free 866-891-0665 for more information. After proof of insurance has been received by the IIDB, your vehicle registration should be eligible for reinstatement the following business day. In order to reinstate your vehicle registration you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $25.00 plus transaction and administrative fees of $3.50.

Q. When I provide proof of insurance, when will my registration be reinstated?

A. After proof of insurance has been received by the IIDB, your vehicle registration should be eligible for reinstatement the following business day at an MVD Customer Service Center. In order to reinstate your vehicle registration you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $25.00 plus transaction and administrative fees of $3.50.

Q. I have automobile insurance and received this letter by mistake. What do I need to do?

A. Check the vehicle identification number (VIN) on your automobile. (It is usually located on the driver's side dashboard.) Compare the VIN on your automobile to your vehicle registration and insurance policy.

If you check the information and everything is correct, you must contact your insurance company or agent and have them provide information about your insurance coverage to the New Mexico Insurance Identification database (IIDB) as soon as possible to determine why you received the letter.

If the VIN on the vehicle does not match your insurance policy, notify your insurance agent for a correction.

If the vehicle VIN is different than the VIN on the letter or your registration, contact the nearest Motor Vehicle Division office to have your registration information verified and corrected.

Q. Why isn't my insurance on file? I provided it at the time I registered my vehicle.

A. With the development and implementation of the New Mexico Insurance Identification Database, the State no longer relies upon insurance information it may have collected at the time of vehicle registration. Your insurance company must report insurance coverage for your vehicle to be shown as insured on the IIDB, once reported your vehicle's insurance status should be updated the following business day.

Q. What happens if I don't get insurance?

A. Vehicles that do not have the minimum liability insurance are subject to having that vehicle registration suspended. Effective December 2, 2002 registration of your vehicle(s) may be denied or delayed until insurance is obtained. Further, pursuant to § 66-5-230 of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act, an owner of an uninsured vehicle must return the vehicle registration and the license plate evidencing such registration to the Motor Vehicle Division within ten (10) days of receipt of the Notice of Suspension of Registration letter or be subject to the penalties prescribed by law, including criminal penalties.

Q. I don't have auto insurance. What do I need to do?

A. You must obtain automobile liability insurance from an insurance company that is licensed to do business in the State of New Mexico. Once you obtain insurance, your insurance company will notify the IIDB of your coverage.

Q. My vehicle is registered in New Mexico, but I am living out of state because I'm in the military, working out of state, or away attending school. Do I still need to buy insurance for New Mexico?

A. Yes. Please contact the IIDB Call Center at their toll free number (866-891-0665) and review the situation. You may be asked for additional information. Make sure that when you drive the vehicle in New Mexico, you have proof of automobile liability insurance in your possession. If you drive the vehicle and it is not insured, you are subject to vehicle registration suspension and a citation for no proof of insurance.

Q. Will my out-of-state insurance be acceptable in New Mexico?

A. Out-of-state insurance is acceptable in New Mexico only if it meets New Mexico's minimum liability requirements.

You must submit to the IIDB Call Center a signed, completed Affidavit of Out of State insurance. You will be asked to provide proof of insurance and also proof that you are temporarily residing out of state through a recent utility bill, lease agreement or similar proof of out of state residence. You will then be reflected on the database as insured for the term of your policy. You will need to submit Affidavit of Out of State insurance annually as long as your vehicle registration remains in New Mexico.

Q. My vehicle is being restored or in storage and I cancelled my insurance. What do I need to do so my registration is not suspended?

A. If you cancel your insurance for the period of time your vehicle is not being driven, you must submit to the IIDB a signed, completed Affidavit of Non-Use of this vehicle. Your registration will be reflected as unknown for insurance status purposes, but you will incur no penalty as long as you do not drive; the vehicle on New Mexico roads. Prior to driving this vehicle on New Mexico's roads you must obtain adequate insurance and have your insurance agent update your insurance information on the program website www.driveinsured.com or contact the IIDB Call Center at the toll free number 866-891-0665 for more information. Once your insurance information has been updated, your vehicle should be in the IIDB and eligible for registration renewal the following business day.

If you take no action on the warning letter you receive from the IIDB and your vehicle registration is suspended, you must now purchase insurance, have it reported to the IIDB, and you will then be required to pay a vehicle registration reinstatement fee of $25.00 plus transaction and administrative fees of $3.50.

Q. I no longer own the vehicle. Do I need to contact anyone to let them know?

A. Yes. Please contact the nearest Motor Vehicle Division office. You may be asked for additional information.

About the Database

The designated vendor for design of the database is Explore Information Service. Explore operates out of Red Wing, Minnesota. The database collects information from insurance company records on your vehicle identification number (VIN), make and year of your vehicle, and the name, date of birth, driver's license number and address of each named insured or owner listed on your vehicle's insurance policy. This information allows for a match to the state's own vehicle registration records.

Insurance Companies and the Insurance Database

Insurance companies must report new policyholders to the Motor Vehicle Division at least monthly, by the seventh working day of each month. Some companies voluntarily provide the information on an earlier basis.

Insurance Company Reporting Information and User's Guide

What if I need, or know someone who needs, bi-lingual information?
Several insurance agencies offer bi-lingual services and will be able to assist speakers of other languages. Call your agent or your company's customer service department for information. IIDB also offers Spanish/Español information on their website.

Additional Information