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Q

I was dropped from my insurance company. Since then I have been shopping for a new auto insurance while still using my car to go to work. I recently got a quote from a company and went there to pay but they were closed. I then got in a accident on my way home, I was not at fault. What penalties do I face. I live in New Jersey and this is a first offense.


A

In New Jersey, driving without insurance or not being able to show proof of auto insurance when requested is a serious offense. A citation for this violation of the New Jersey law may result in fines, community service, license suspension and surcharges.

Though you were just in between insurance policies it is important not to drive the car to work or to get a policy if you do not have insurance on your. Instead of driving to the insurance office you should try purchasing a policy online so that you can print out proof of insurance at your home and are not tempted to drive without having your vehicle properly insured.

The New Jersey insurance regulatory body (DOBI) states that it is important to realize that you are breaking the law if you drive uninsured. The penalties for driving uninsured are getting more severe — in addition to risking economic loss by not having insurance protection, you risk fines, suspension of driver's license or registration and even time in jail. In the future, your car could be impounded if you are caught behind the wheel without coverage.

Typically a first time infraction of NJSA 39:6B-2 includes a fine of at least $300 and a loss of license for a period of time and perhaps community service as well. There are court costs and surcharges that are required to be paid as well as the penalties listed above.

The normal surcharge amount for operating an uninsured vehicle is $250.If you do not pay your surcharges; MVC will suspend your driving privileges indefinitely and take action in the State Superior Court. This may include securing a lien against your property, garnishing your wages or other similar actions.

NJ has a type of "no pay, no play" law. New Jersey's law specifies that uninsured and drunk drivers, as well as motorists who intentionally commit other crimes may not file lawsuits for economic or non-economic damages.

The DOBI notes that if you do not have any liability coverage, you are responsible for paying for the pain, suffering and other personal hardships and some economic damages, such as lost wages, that you cause. Your assets will be at risk, including the risk of having money deducted from your wages if a judgment is entered against you. And, if you lack coverage and someone hits you, you cannot sue.

So if you were injured in this accident, though you were not at fault, because you were uninsured you cannot make a claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for economic or non-economic losses.


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