Do You Need Insurance to Drive?

Automobile ownership comes with responsibilities. One of them is to make sure your car and any driver you allow is insured at least for Liability. Every state in the US enforces a certain level of minimum coverage to protect third parties against injuries and losses a vehicle may cause. So, you need to be insured before you can drive any car on public roads, regardless of owning it or not.

At least in some states, it is arguable that you can keep a vehicle on a private property, and even take it for a spin and these requirements won’t apply as long as you don’t leave the boundaries of your property and there aren’t public access to it or public roads in it. However, you would legally be responsible if you cause harm to any third parties even within your own grounds. It is best not to rely on this as every state has a different rule and often they can take actions even within the private grounds.

Many questions on this subject and various scenarios with different combinations of operators and keepers are explained below.

In today’s world, injuries and damages anyone can cause with a motor vehicle can be substantial. It is unlikely that most people will have enough money readily available to compensate for those losses. The only way of making sure that they are paid for is to have an auto insurance policy in place.

State authorities strictly enforce the laws to make sure that people have at least state required liability coverage. That is why they make it a legal condition to have it if you want to operate a vehicle. This is something that cannot be left to choice as many innocent people can get hurt and may need to be compensated.

Certainly, there are consequences ranging from fines, to license suspensions that may work out cheaper to pay the premium and have at least Liability car insurance. Keep in mind that they are only part of the troubles. You may have to spend a lot more money for things like legal defence and inconvenience of losing the use of your vehicle or license suspension. The overall ramifications can take its toll.

If you are already included in another person’s policy you don’t legally need anything else to operate the insured vehicle. If you are living in the same house with the owner, you are probably automatically included as well. Most policies include occasional operators (who are neither of the above), unless there is a special exclusion. You should check this especially if you are a teenager because some companies may specifically exclude anyone under 21 or 25.

In any case, policies and rules vary so much that it is always best to check terms and conditions or ask the agent to explain the exact position. This may be the safest option.

Owners have to make sure that anyone who uses their vehicle is insured because they are responsible for the accidents caused by their car even though someone else was driving. Claimants can sue the registered keeper for their losses. Only exception to responsibility is when it was taken without consent or stolen.

It may be possible to insure a car you don’t own if you want to drive it and it hasn’t got coverage. You can buy non owners coverage and use it when you operate someone else’s or a hire car. You have to make sure that you have at least Liability vehicle insurance arranged either by its registered keeper or you.

Usually, insurance goes with the car. However, the liability can go with you to protect an automobile that isn’t yours. If they don’t have coverage yours kicks in automatically. If the title holder already has a policy and it includes you as well then, your coverage comes into effect after the primary limits are exhausted or you are personally sued.

When you only buy the Liability only automobile insurance you don’t have any protection for your own ride. You may not realize it at the start but you can add Comprehensive and Collision at a reasonable extra premium. So, why not get quotes for both options and see the premium difference? It won’t take long before you know the score.

Perhaps it helps you to know that most motorists (about 72%) prefer to buy full coverage if they can afford it. Insurers’ approach may have something to do with this because most of them offer very attractive packages at reasonable prices, which make pretty comprehensive policies fairly cheap.

And a few companies choose to keep their prices high for the minimum state required policy for several reasons. First of all, they try to discourage people from buying just the minimum they can get away with. And secondly, they don’t have to hard sell them since they are compulsory.