It is a large financial and legal risk to drive with no auto insurance, as it is not optional. There have been on-going arguments for and against it but it hasn’t been optional for a long time now and it isn’t likely to change any time soon. So, check what happens and learn how easy it is to get a policy at a reasonable cost.
48 states legally require the mandatory liability and regulate noncompliance too. Only two of them allow having no policy, but both have other requirements you need to satisfy that it may be easier to just buy cheap liability only car insurance. It certainly has its uses other than showing a proof to authorities, like compensating third parties for the damages you caused.
The largest risk such people take is the financial burdens when they get into an accident. You shouldn’t only concentrate on the premium cost but think what happens if you cause a traffic crash. Not only you will need to pay when you get caught but also pay for the damages you may cause and suffer on your own.
Penalties for Driving without Insurance
Each of them has different rules, except New Hampshire, which is the only one that doesn’t insist on coverage. Virginia allows a $500 fee instead.
They vary greatly on punishments, how they police and what they do with the vehicles. Here is a list of them.
Penalties used by states for driving uninsured include:
- Around $500 fines are a common place across the country and maximum in West Virginia of $5000.
- Suspension of vehicle registration and driver’s license privileges.
- Fees for reinstatement of both.
- Vehicle impoundment with daily storage and release fees.
- Imprisonment up to 1 year (Michigan & Massachussets) with other maximums in others.
- Probation upon conviction of misdemeanor.
- Community service or restitution with volunteer hours.
- SR-22, proof of financial responsibility for a period between 1-5 years.
- Surrender of the vehicle’s plates.
Usually subsequent offenses get dealt with a heavier hand.
Idaho with a $75 fine has the least expensive although the license is suspended until you can provide proof. Tennessee, Nebraska and North Carolina have the second lowest with only $100. Although Alaska does not have any charges it does impose a suspension of not less than 90 days.
Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and West Virginia’s ability to imprison motorists for up to 1 year, even on first offenses is probably the harshest, especially since they all include fines and license suspensions as well. Whereas, the largest monetary discouragement on a first offense is Delaware’s minimum $1,500 to $2,000 fine.
Accident Costs without Auto Insurance
There are a couple of ways to look at the issue.
Firstly, what if you were hit by an uninsured driver? In no-fault states, own carrier would pay for your expenses. However in ‘tort’ or at fault states you may need to sue for damages to recoup all the costs of the accident. If the other motorists did not have a policy, you can sue. Unfortunately, if they cannot afford a basic policy, they also may not be in a position to pay any damages you were awarded at a trial and you may spend years trying to recoup the award.
Secondly, what happens if you are uninsured? In a no-fault system, you may only be subject to discipline. However in an at fault system, you will be liable for your own legal defense as well as any awards against you in a civil lawsuit. You could be liable for up to $100,000 in the worst-case scenario for settlement awards with the potential of your wages being garnished until it is paid off. Your assets could also be seized including vehicles, investments and home.
Statistically, you are likely to have 3 – 4 large incidents in a lifetime and 1 in 8 motorists are not covered. Based on that information, you may be involved in an accident that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars if you were not properly protected. This suggests that you may face more severe financial and psychological consequences than being fined.
Just having the minimum vehicle insurance may not be enough to meet the average settlement for third party claims. So, don’t just think about the immediate consequences of getting caught but think what happens if you cause a crash.
Let us provide you with multiple quotes from different carriers to show you just how inexpensive it can be for the large relief offered. Remember that most people don’t just buy it to be legal but they know how much peace of mind it can offer.