Dealing with a vehicle accident can be stressful and complicated even when you are fully covered. The situation can be painful and financially ruining when you have a crash with no insurance. You may have a momentary misjudgement and feel that it is a calculated risk for whatever reason. However, excuses will not help in avoiding a fine, penalty and perhaps jail sentence. Most importantly, you will have a hard time explaining it to people who suffered due to a collision you caused.
Do you need insurance to drive a car? The answer is indisputably yes no matter where you live in the US, unless you already meet financial responsibility requirements, allowed by one or two states. Therefore, you should make sure that you have coverage before getting behind the steering wheel.
Vehicle Accident without Insurance not at Fault
It doesn’t matter that you were totally innocent in the incident. A police officer has to book you if you fail to provide proof. You will still get a fine, the car may be impounded and you may also be required to appear in court for driving without coverage.
Whether you can recover the loses as a result of a crash that was someone else’s fault depends on several conditions. If you are lucky and damages are negligible, the other person may just meet them out of pocket to avoid involving his/her carrier but there is a slim chance of this to happen.
If you live in a no fault state you may not be able to claim for your injuries and suffering from third parties anyway as rules prevent you from making claims, unless you qualify certain conditions or damages are substantial. In no fault systems, you are supposed to have own Personal Injury Protection for traffic related medical bills.
You may not be able to make a claim in some tort states too if they have “no pay no play” rules. They prevent motorists who don’t have at least liability car insurance to make a claim on third parties. If there isn’t “no pay no play” restrictions you may be able to get compensation from responsible driver’s carrier, providing they have a liability policy. Otherwise, you will have to sue them in court that could be very costly and long process.
At Fault Car Accident without Insurance
You are probably in deep trouble if you were involved in a traffic incident while you don’t have coverage and you are responsible. How deep troubles depend on how bad the damages and injuries you caused and laws.
You are very lucky if you live in a no fault state, the losses are small and the other parties have coverage. They may be able to claim the loses from their company and leave you alone.
However, you cannot probably escape that easy when you live in a tort state where responsible parties pay for the damages. Even if the other people are insured and paid by their providers it may not be over as the company may decide to sue you for the settlement.
Even no fault rules cannot save you when the injuries are serious or more than say $20,000 because they would be allowed to sue you then. And in a tort system, the third party insurance company would most likely sue you for whatever you have got. If you don’t have any property, they may have to take the losses slowly out of wages, even it takes until the end.
Furthermore, who is going to pay for your own damages? You can end up in deep financial troubles while you are trying to avoid small monthly premium installments.
Motorists may be able to deal with fines, license suspensions or vehicle impoundments. However, not many people have enough money to spend on possible damages and injuries they may cause to other people. Remember that causing an accident and not having a policy to compensate people’s injuries and repairs can weigh heavily on anyone’s conscious too. Here is how buying a policy helps you.
Other Consequences of Driving Uninsured
– You Cannot Avoid a Ticket
If a police officer turns up at the scene you cannot avoid getting a ticket, no matter you were guilty or innocent for the crash. If you are liable you will probably receive a ticket for reckless driving. Authorities require vehicle owners to be financially responsible for their actions and make sure they can handle the damages they cause, at least up to a minimum limit.
If you fail to show proof you will get a ticket. In some states, you may be able to get away with a small fine if this is the first time you got caught. In a few others, you may be referred to traffic courts regardless and the judge may sentence to pay more and court costs.
– Your Drivers License May Be Suspended
In addition, most of them would suspend the license after the second offence. But some like California may suspend it after the first offence. Duration of the suspicion will depend on the rules and records. Losing it can make life difficult and affect jobs. If this is the case, you may want to talk to a lawyer and see if you would be allowed to commute to work in order to keep the job.
– Your Car Can Be Impounded
Some states impound vehicles. This can happen when driving someone else’s uninsured car too. So, you should always check the its status regardless of owning it or not. You may have to pay a fee and show that you bought a policy before they release the auto. The duration of impoundment will depend on various factors like regulations and number of similar incident in the record.
– You May Have Your Day in Court and Time in Jail
A judge decides what to do with you if you are taken to court. You may face substantial fines or sent to jail based on the circumstances of the accident and rules. First time offenders may be let off with a warning but multiple offenders may spend time in jail. Then, you will stay away from the family and risk losing your job. In most cases, judges may prefer large fines to jail sentence.
– Finding Coverage after Getting Caught
Carriers will see tickets or convictions in records. Most companies will probably refuse to provide quotes. And the ones that will be interested will want a lot of money. Most don’t like law breaking people. Some may not even tolerate a lapse, let alone getting in a collision.
You may think that you will not get in a crash because you are experienced, going only a short distance or whatever other excuses you may have. You might not have even thought about what happens? In such cases, you can get into so much trouble. If you are struggling to pay for the premium you should try to find cheap liability auto insurance before giving it up altogether. Often motorists find cheaper quotes by searching through many companies in their region.