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What are the penalties for driving without insurance? I know someone that got pulled over for the 3rd time in 10 yrs and he didn't have insurance. What will happen?

Driving without insurance is a bad idea and penalties in many states tend to grow more severe if you’re caught driving uninsured multiple times because you’ve now shown a pattern of disregarding the state’s motor vehicle financial responsibility laws.

We can’t tell you what exactly will happen to your friend for driving uninsured for a third time since the penalties for driving without insurance vary greatly from state to state (check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out exactly your state laws and punishments), but we can give you general information. 

Many states impose fines (from light to heavy) for those who drive without auto insurance or continue to drive even if they know they have a lapse in their car insurance coverage. Jail time is also a possibility in several states.

In some states, you will also be penalized by having your license suspended, your vehicle's registration suspended, and even your car impounded on the spot if you’re found be driving without insurance. A few states will even seize your vehicle if you’ve been caught multiple times without car insurance.

Here are a couple of examples of penalties for driving without insurance:

In Ohio, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles states that if you’re caught driving without financial responsibility (insurance) the court will hand down fines, and then the administrative penalties can include:

  • Suspension of driver's license for a minimum of 90 days and up to 2 years,
  • Suspension of your license plates and vehicle registration
  • Reinstatement fees ranging from $150 to $650
  • Requirement to file a SR-22. 
  • Third and subsequent convictions of driving without insurance can result in vehicle forfeiture and a five-year suspension of vehicle registrations. 

Delaware has some of the highest fines for driving without insurance.  Their Division of Motor Vehicles state that if you are convicted of driving without auto insurance, you’ll be fined at least $1,500 for a first offense and $3,000 for each subsequent offense occurring within three-years of a former offense.  Your license will also be suspended for six months.

If your state’s punishment includes a suspended license or registration, then typically you’ll have to pay hundreds of dollars in reinstatement fees once your suspension is over.  And if you’re caught driving during the suspension, then you’ll visit the courthouse again and receive even more fines and possible jail time in most states.

The consequences can be far more serious if you’re involved in an accident while driving without auto insurance or other financial responsibility coverage.  The penalties can be much more severe if you cause property damage or bodily injury to others and are found uninsured.

For example, if you are involved in a crash without insurance in Ohio you may have a security suspension of your license for two years or more and a judgment suspension for an indefinite period until damages are paid.

And, Illinois law was toughened up in recent years for those who injure someone while driving without insurance -- it’s considered a Class A misdemeanor that comes with a fine amount of $2,500 and the court can hand out jail time.

If you don’t injure anyone, but are caught operating an uninsured vehicle in Illinois you will get a fine of $500 to $1,000, plus a three-month driver’s license suspension.  Your registration is also suspended until proof of insurance is shown and a reinstatement fee is paid.  

One of the main reasons that car insurance is required is so that motorists have the means to pay for damages they cause to others.  So, if you’re driving without insurance and in an accident, you’ll have to compensate the people you harmed by paying out-of-pocket for any injuries or damages to property that you caused.  

In many states, if you do not repay the person, or their insurer if that is who is pursuing you for payment, then your license can be suspended indefinitely. If a person is severely injured in the accident, you may be looked at for hundreds of thousands worth of medical bills, and that puts your assets and future earnings at risk.

If you’ve been cited for driving without insurance, then you’ll likely be required to comply with the financial responsibility laws by filing a certificate of future financial responsibility (such as the SR-22, FR-44, or SR16) to get your license back.  This means getting a car insurance policy – even if you don’t own a car.

A lapse in car insurance can cause your rates to be higher when you first obtain a policy, but by paying on time and keeping continuous coverage in as little as six-months you should be able to find more affordable car insurance coverage.

State laws are such that if you have a registered car you need to maintain financial responsibility on it.  Be smart and keep your car insured -- don’t risk suspensions, fines and jail time plus put your own assets at risk.  If you’re uninsured, shop now for a car insurance quote.  


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40 Responses to "What are the penalties for driving without insurance? I know someone that got pulled over for the 3rd time in 10 yrs and he didn't have insurance. What will happen?"
  1. Kamie

    I haven't had insurance for three months and this has happened to me before. How much will it cost to get it back and will someone want to insure me?

  2. Visitor

    To the guy who was going 90 in a 65 with no insurance -- SERIOUSLY how stupid are you? If you are going to drive without insurance at least use common sense!

  3. Visitor

    I understand why everyone should have Insurance, but come on seriously, seriously $440 dollars a month on insurance just because I'm 20. Yeah right, that alone is like 1/3 of my monthly salary. That's even more than my rent now do you see why we're not all fortunate enough to have insurance?

  4. Visitor

    I was pulled over Saturday going 90 when it was 65 and with no insurance. What would be my fine or punishment be? Does any one know?

  5. Anonymous

    You guys are lucky being in the states. You can just rock no insurance. In Canada the fine for driving without insurance is anywhere from 5,000 - 50,000. Also, i dont know how anyone would go to jail for 8 years for tickets and no insurance. First of all just blend in and youll never get stopped. second if you do and its a cop in your town who is planning to stop you again. Just buy cars that cost 400-1000 each time and keep switching it up.

  6. Anonymous

    Great site...good information

  7. Anonymous

    Every country has imposed different penalties for the offences of car driving. I have read some penalties about car driving from http://uk.carinsurance.com

  8. Anonymous

    Screw insurance. I'd rather not pay someone $400/mo for auto insurance and then pay the damages if I get sued. I'll come out ahead because I'm not paying for OTHER people's mistakes.

  9. Anonymous

    You are too busy helping d bags like you. You should never be driving with out insurance and i just happned to be on one car accident yesterday lucky me I will go after the individual if it is gonna cost me every money i have. The b was texting too, so how about that mr. expert? it is ppl like you who make it hard for the rest of us!!

  10. Anonymous

    no state specific penalties

  11. Anonymous

    I would have to say that insurance shouldnt be required, or should be significantly cheaper. If I wanted to get insurance, Id have to give a third of my monthly earnings to the insurance company (400) and I have a car that cost me less than a thousand dollars. Simply ridiculous.

  12. Anonymous

    insurance is for wussys

  13. Anonymous

    doosh bag

  14. Anonymous

    Ha ha, no fines where I come

  15. Anonymous

    Uninsured motorists are simply idiots. My wife was just walking across the street and struck by one. In my opinion there should be automatic jail time for any uninsured motorist that cause an accident cause legally he shouldnt be on the road in the first place.(at least in WA state.)

  16. Anonymous

    how about penalties for california

  17. Anonymous

    I love this sight

  18. Anonymous

    This really hepls me with the paper i am writing about having insurance. THX

  19. Anonymous

    The insurance companies in AMERICA are the biggest ripoffs in any profession...

  20. Anonymous

    had no insuranace and the car was not mine