What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without Insurance?

a driver cruises off into the sunset

Not all states are created equal when it comes to car insurance laws, but no matter where you live, driving without auto insurance or proof of financial responsibility is against the law. Driving without insurance from Florida to Washington means you’ll almost always be facing serious penalties if you’re caught driving without proper coverage.

What happens if you get caught driving without insurance?

Getting caught driving without car insurance can hold some hefty consequences. Penalties vary by state, but can include:

  • Your driver’s license and vehicle registration could be suspended: This would mean you couldn’t legally drive until the suspension is lifted. If this happened, how would you get to work or visit friends? How quickly would Uber and Lyft rides add up? Reinstatement fees vary from place to place, so you should consult your state’s DMV for a more accurate estimate.
  • You could be required to certify your insurance with an SR-22: This would mean you might have to submit proof to the state that you’ve met certain insurance requirements. While there’s no single set cost associated with an SR-22 certification:
    • There is often a fee associated with the SR-22 certification.
    • You’ll be seen as a high-risk driver and likely experience an increase in your car insurance premium.
    • In some states, you will be ineligible for a payment plan, meaning you’ll have to pay your premium in full.
    • You may find that your insurance company will not renew your insurance if it does not write SR-22 policies.
    • You may not be accepted by all insurance companies.
  • You could have to pay for a traffic ticket for a no insurance violation: This would be in addition to the ticket costs for the reason you were initially pulled over.
  • You could spend time in jail, have your license plate confiscated, or your vehicle impounded: The exact consequences depend on where you live, if it’s a repeat offense, or if you cause a wreck, reports the Consumer Federation of America.

In most states, like North Carolina, insurers are required to notify the state’s DMV if a driver’s liability coverage lapses or is canceled for any reason. In such situations, the driver is typically given a short window (10 days in North Carolina) to address the issue or face penalties. This means you don’t even have to get caught driving a vehicle uninsured to get in some level of trouble.

What if you get into a car accident as an uninsured driver?

On top of the costs and legal penalties we mentioned above, you must also consider car accident expenses if you’re involved in a wreck as an uninsured driver. Could you pay out of pocket for damages you cause to others in an auto accident? If you drive uninsured and cause bodily injury or property damage to another person, you would be liable for those bills.

Not to mention you’ll have no auto insurance coverage for your own injuries or property damage. Without insurance, your finances could suffer a serious blow because the cost of a car accident is much higher than many people realize.

What happens if I don’t have auto insurance and someone else causes the accident?

Generally, the at-fault party and/or his or her insurer will be responsible for paying the damages caused. However, depending on the state you live in, there could be limits on your right to sue or recover from the at-fault driver. Some states, like Louisiana, have “no pay, no play” laws, meaning uninsured drivers are prohibited from collecting certain damages from an insured at-fault driver. So, even if you plan to drive carefully and never cause a crash, you’re still potentially putting yourself at great risk.

Get covered with Direct Auto!

The best way to avoid the legal penalties and numerous fines for not having car insurance is by driving insured. See what insurance requirements look like where you live as well as the consequences of driving without insurance by selecting a state below.

If you have any additional questions, we’re happy to help! Give us a call, visit our website, or stop by a nearby location for a free quote today.

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