Auto insurance is one of those expenses that can lead to a severe case of sticker shock when the bill comes in. If you’ve ever considered not paying your premium, stop right now. Driving without auto insurance has serious consequences, depending on the laws where you drive.
To start with, if you get into an accident, you could be liable for all the damages and medical bills for everyone involved. Read on for some general information about driving without insurance.
In all 50 states, it is illegal to drive without some kind of auto insurance, although the coverage requirements and methods vary. Auto insurance pays for damages if you are in an accident. If you don’t have insurance, the other driver could be out a lot of money for the property damage caused by an uninsured driver. The medical bills alone could place the driver and passengers into a tight financial situation. Driving without insurance is against the law, but it’s also hazardous and irresponsible.
The amount of insurance you need depends on where your car is registered. In many states, you have to show proof of insurance when you register your vehicle. In Florida, for example, you can show that you are financially responsible by self-insuring your vehicles. You need to show the state that you have enough wealth to cover the cost of an accident.
In Ohio, you can purchase a bond to insure your vehicle. Although New Hampshire does not require drivers to buy auto insurance, you are required to cover the costs of an accident if you are at fault.
Can My License Be Suspended?
State laws are widely varied when it comes to penalties for not having insurance. In Florida, not only could your license be suspended, but your car registration may also be canceled. To get them back, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee and obtain non-cancelable insurance coverage.
Most states have a license suspension penalty for not having insurance that could include a revoked driver’s license. That means that you will not only need to pay for any tickets issued by law enforcement as well as the damages incurred, but you may also have to pay hefty fees to reinstate your driver’s license. Second and third offenses are often much more expensive.
Can My Vehicle Get Towed?
If you are caught driving without insurance, you’ll undoubtedly receive a ticket. However, it is up to the officer’s discretion as to whether your vehicle will be impounded and towed. If the officer opts for the latter option, you’ll have the additional penalty of having to pay the fees to get your vehicle out of impound – but only once you can prove that you have insurance. In short, the consequences of not having insurance add up very quickly.
Here’s something that many drivers don’t realize. About half of the states electronically monitor insurance coverage on registered vehicles. If your car is registered, but not insured, even if you aren’t driving it, you could be fined. In Oklahoma, you face a $250 fine plus a potential license suspension.
Will I Go To Jail?
Some states do mandate jail time for not having auto insurance. In Alabama, you can be jailed for up to three months, but not more. In Colorado, you may not face jail time, but you may have to serve 40 hours or more of community service. In Georgia, the penalty is a fine or imprisonment of not more than 12 months (or both.) Many times, imprisonment is at the discretion of the court.
Financial Consequences Of Lapsed Car Insurance
The fines and penalties for not having insurance can add up. In Idaho, the fine is only $75, but in New Jersey and North Dakota, the fines can go up to $5,000. If you are in an accident and don’t have insurance, the penalties may increase.
California assesses a minimum of $360 in fines, plus a mandatory license suspension of one year. The court may impound your vehicle, and you’ll be 100% liable for the other driver’s medical and property damage expenses.
What Happens In An Uninsured Accident
Accidents are often classified by who is at fault. Some states have no-fault accident laws, such as Florida, for example. It doesn’t matter who was responsible for the accident; each driver gets compensation for injuries and property damages from their own insurance company.
In states where fault comes into play, the driver who was most responsible (at fault) for the accident must pay for the damages. Auto insurance covers these expenses. If you don’t have insurance, it depends on where the accident occurred as to who pays the bills.
If the accident is your fault, and you don’t have insurance, you are facing some severe consequences financially. You will have to pay for the other driver’s expenses. You could be sued. Your house, your bank accounts, and any assets you own will be at risk of seizure to pay the bills.
Many states have a law that states that if you don’t have auto insurance and are in an accident that isn’t your fault, you are limited in how much compensation you can receive from the other driver. In Louisiana, you cannot receive any compensation from the other driver if you are uninsured, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Insurance companies often find it difficult to assign fault in an accident. Your insurance company is a valuable asset following an accident because the insurance adjustor or representative is on your side and will work to restore your vehicle and pay any medical bills. Without insurance, you don’t have this advocate. Auto insurance protects you financially and legally.
How To Find Cheap Insurance For Uninsured
Going without auto insurance opens the door to many consequences. Not having insurance will cost you much more than paying for cheap insurance. To find cheap auto insurance in Tampa, you may need to shop around with different companies. Ask for the minimum coverage. Some states have programs for low-income drivers. If you don’t have a lien on your car, you may be able to drop the comprehensive and collision insurance, which pays for damages on your car when you’re in an accident.
Try to get at least three quotes when buying auto insurance to find the best deal. Evaluate the amount of insurance you really need. Ask your insurance agent about discounts. Take a defensive driving course. You may get a discount for paying the entire 6-month premium at once instead of monthly.