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.
  • Increased future insurance premiums

Keep in mind, these are just a few of the most common penalties for driving without current car insurance. Check with your state’s DMV for specific details.

The Cost of an Accident for an Uninsured Driver

While the legal penalties are very serious when it comes to driving without car insurance you face even greater risk when you've been in an accident. 

If you cause damage or injury to yourself you obviously face the cost of dealing with those, and they can be high. However, if you were to cause injuries or property damage to another person(s), you could be held liable for those costs. The other driver can sue you for damages. 

If you don't have the amount of money to cover their costs, your assets could be taken, e.g., your home. 

The risk of driving without insurance is far too great. While the costs of premiums may seem high, consider the hit your finances could take if something happened while you were uninsured. 

Tips for Keeping Your Car Insurance Policy Current

You can avoid the hassle and financial burden of being caught without auto 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.

Some tips to ensure prompt payment include: 

  • Paying premiums annually. If you pay your car insurance premiums annually, rather than monthly, you don’t have to worry about making payments for an entire year.
  • Utilizing automatic payment options. If your provider allows them, automatic debit card, credit card, or electronic funds transfers (EFTs) are great options. They eliminate the possibility of forgetting to make payments.  

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.

You need to be deliberate in your cancellation. If you discontinue payment but don't actually cancel your policy, you may face harsh consequences.

For example, some states require insurance companies to notify the DMV when a policyholder no longer has coverage with them. If this happens before you notify the DMV yourself, you could face all the penalties of having no insurance for a registered vehicle.

Remember, insurance is necessary and is typically required by law. Make sure you always have proof of insurance when you drive. And if you have to cancel your policy for some reason, make sure you take the appropriate steps to do so and set up a new policy right away if you plan to drive. 

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