Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
Just as every state varies on its liability insurance or other financial responsibility requirements for drivers, every state also varies on its penalties for driving without meeting those requirements.
However, one thing’s for certain: Driving without insurance or proof that you’ve met your state’s financial responsibility requirements brings steep and pricey repercussions.
Common Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
As stated above, penalties for driving without insurance vary from state to state; however, a few of the most common penalties include:
- Having your driver’s license suspended.
- Having your vehicle registration suspended.
- Receiving a traffic ticket for a no insurance violation. This is in addition to the traffic ticket(s) you receive for the original reason you were pulled over. Depending on the officer and where you receive the ticket, you might be able to have the ticket dismissed if you can show proof of insurance within a certain time period following the date of the citation; however, this generally only applies if you really did have coverage at the time of the traffic stop and just happened―for whatever reason―to not have your insurance card with you.
- Meeting SR-22 requirements. Some states might only impose this if you cause an accident while driving without insurance; others may impose it simply for driving uninsured.
- Hefty fines. In addition to meeting other requirements, you’ll have to pay to have your license and registration reinstated. Plus, you’ll have to cover the traffic ticket fines.
Keep in mind, these are just a few of the most common penalties. Check with your state’s DMV for specific details.
Tips for Keeping Your Car Insurance Policy Current
You can avoid the hassle and financial burden of being caught without insurance if you avoid allowing your car insurance policy to lapse. The most obvious way to do this is to pay your premium on time.
However, some tips to keep in mind include:
- If you pay your premiums annually, rather than monthly, you don’t have to worry about making payments for an entire year.
- If your provider allows them, automatic debit card, credit card, or electronic funds transfers (EFTs) are great options if you’re afraid you won’t remember to make your payment each month.
No matter how you choose to pay your premiums, be sure to understand your car insurance provider’s policy on late payments. Some companies offer a grace period (which could range from 24 hours to 30 days), and others stop your coverage as soon as your payment becomes late.
Canceling Your Auto Insurance Policy
If you want to cancel your auto insurance―due to selling your car, having a seasonal vehicle, or switching providers―then cancel it. And, be sure to tell the DMV.
The worst thing you can do is just stop making payments and hope your provider takes the hint. Some states require insurance companies to notify the DMV when a policyholder no longer has coverage with them, and if this happens before you notify the DMV yourself, all the penalties of having no insurance for a registered vehicle could come crashing down on you.