Driving without Insurance: Penalties

You’re looking at your budget and trying to find somewhere to save money, and you notice your car insurance premiums. You might ask yourself, “Do I really need car insurance? I’m a safe driver, and don’t get into accidents. Is driving without insurance illegal?” In almost every state, the answers to both questions are an emphatic yes. Even if your state does not require auto insurance, there can still be substantial financial penalties for driving without it.

Can you drive without insurance?

When you get behind the wheel, you expect your fellow drivers to obey the traffic laws. You also assume that if a driver causes an accident, their car insurance will pay for the damage. Getting behind the wheel without auto insurance puts other people at risk, even if you consider yourself a safe driver. You can also open yourself up to financial consequences, including in states where car insurance isn’t required by law.

Car insurance can help you pay for damage to another person’s vehicle or property when you are at fault for a covered accident. It can also help you pay their medical bills if they’re injured. Depending on your policy coverage, insurance can help you pay for your medical bills as well, regardless of who is at fault. Liability insurance also helps pay for property damage if you collide with public or private property like a lamp post or neighbor's fence.

What are the consequences of driving without insurance?

Driving without car insurance can bring many consequences. If you cause an accident, the full cost of damages can come out of your pocket. That includes potential legal fees if your victim files a lawsuit against you. If you live in one of the 48 states that require auto insurance, you could face legal consequences ranging from a fine to months in jail, all depending on the severity of your case and the number of offenses against you.  

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How does not having insurance impact you in different real-life scenarios?

Being pulled over by a police officer:

This answer depends on whether you live in a state requiring a minimum auto insurance policy. If you do live in one of these states, you will most likely be issued a ticket and a court date where you will be subject to your state’s punishments. If you have multiple driving-without-insurance infractions against you, your penalty may possibly be worse. You’ll also be subject to punishment for the original reason you were pulled over.

If you live in one of the states that doesn’t require auto insurance, you could still be subject to consequences. Virginia does not require auto insurance, but they do require all uninsured drivers to pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee, and if you don’t pay the fee, you could be subject to license suspension and fines.  

Getting into an accident

If you’re at fault for an accident, you may be responsible to pay for the damages to the other vehicle or property involved. You’ll also be subject to your state's legal requirements and punishments for driving without insurance. If you cannot afford to pay for the damages, the victim could choose to file a lawsuit against you. If they win, you could be required to pay not only the damages from the accident, but also their legal fees along with your own.  

Many states will suspend your license if you are involved in an accident without insurance. Reinstating this license can come with more fees. You could also be required to file an SR-22 form for a certain number of years.

What do I do if I am currently driving without insurance?

Purchase a policy ASAP. Every day you drive uninsured, you’re exposing yourself to these consequences including an increase in insurance premiums. Driving while uninsured might seem like a money-saving tactic, but it could be a huge cost in the long run.  

If you are looking for insurance options, reach out to one of our qualified Spanish bilingual insurance agents at 1-855-478-3705. Also visit our website to learn more about how we can help you find the right auto insurance policy that suits your budget.

Once you have an insurance policy, keep proof of insurance with you whenever you drive to avoid any consequences. For most states, it’s the law. Keep your updated proof of insurance card in the car’s glove compartment and update it yearly.  

Whatever your insurance needs are, Infinity Insurance Agency, Inc. is here to help you find the right auto insurance solutions for your budget!  

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