What are the penalties for driving with no car insurance?
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Driving with no car insurance can have serious consequences. All states have car insurance laws which require drivers to carry minimum levels of auto insurance coverage and failure to comply with these laws can have serious consequences such as:
Although most drivers think of a ticket or fine when driving a car with no insurance the real exposure is how much personal liability you can be exposed to in the event of an accident. Car insurance is not just coverage for your own vehicle but also bodily injury and property damage for others. With the high cost of medical care, punitive damages, loss of wages and many more claims the financial exposure even in a minor accident can be substantial. Without car insurance you can be personally liable for all expenses and many drivers have even had to file bankruptcy due to causing an accident with no insurance.
You also want to note that just complying with state minimum auto insurance laws does not prevent you from personal liability. In fact, you are never really protected from personal liability from an accident however with the right insurance coverage you can have adequate protection from personal liability in most cases. State minimum car insurance laws only require liability insurance and very rarely are the limits ever high enough to cover anything more than some minor injuries or vehicle replacement. Any type of serious injury can quickly cause expenses to surpass your policy limits.
Almost all car insurance companies offer much higher levels of coverage than minimum mandtaory levels and most drivers consider these higher limits which usually exceed at least $100,000 in coverage and policy coverage including liability, collision and comprehensive coverage.
Drivers License Suspension
If you are found to be driving with no car insurance some states will automatically suspend your license until you show proof of insurance. For drivers involved in a car accident with no insurance its very possible your drivers license may be suspended for 6 or 12 months automatically regardless if you go out and buy auto insurance coverage.
If you happen to leave your wallet at home or simply fail to have proof of insurance (such as a car insurance ID card) in your vehicle when stopped by law enforcement this will usually result in a ticket. Drivers then will have an option to show proof they had insurance at the time of ticketing to avoid any major fine, vehicle registration or drivers license suspension. What’s important here is that you only have a limited window of time to comply so always mail in your proof of insurance as soon as possible and read the details of the ticket. Failure to send in proof of insurance can result in the same penalties as operating a vehicle with no insurance regardless if you had coverage at the time of ticketing or not.
Vehicle Registration Suspension
Some states will also suspend your vehicle registration making it illegal to operate your vehicle until proof of insurance is shown.
Driving with no insurance means you are operating the vehicle illegally and posing a great safety risk to other drivers on the road. This is a very serious offense and if you are convicted of driving with no car insurance it will make getting auto insurance very difficult as this type of moving violation will make you fall in the category of high risk drivers. Even if your budget can’t afford the best coverage always at least comply with auto insurance laws.
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