You're putting yourself at risk in more ways than one if you drive without insurance. The lapse in your coverage after driving without insurance will cost you, on average, several hundreds dollars more when you finally get a new policy in place. Additionally, the penalties for driving uninsured vary by state, and more importantly, if you get in an accident, you're on the hook to pay for the damages.
For example, in California, if you drive uninsured and get in an accident, you could lose your license for up to four years, whether or not the accident was your fault. After a year, you may be able to get your license back if you get insurance, provide proof to the motor vehicle department and pay a reinstatement fee. Bear in mind you will also be required to file an SR-22 form to show proof of financial responsibility. You are also responsible for all the costs associated with the accident. Even if the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage and his insurer compensates him, his insurance company will likely sue you to recover its costs. This means you could lose your assets and home if the cost of the damage exceeds the amount of money you can pay.
Even if you are lucky enough to avoid an accident while driving without car insurance, in many states your registration and license will be revoked if you are cited, you have to pay a fine and your car may be impounded. Rather than driving without insurance, consider buying the cheapest car insurance you can get. This would be the minimum liability insurance requirement in your state to drive legally. In some states, minimum coverage costs less than $400 a year.
Here are state car insurance laws pertaining to uninsured motorists penalties and fines:
|State||Fine amount||Jail time||Registration suspension||License suspension||Confiscate plates||Impound car||Points||SR-22|
|Alabama||Up to $500||Yes|
|Alaska||$500 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes, if in accident|
|California||$100 to $200||Yes|
|Colorado||$500 minimum||Community Service||Yes||Four points|
|Connecticut||$100 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes|
|Delaware||$1,500 to $2,000||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|D.C.||Up to $500 fine||90 days||Yes||Yes|
|Georgia||$200 to $1,000||1 year||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Illinois||$500 to $1,000||Yes||Yes|
|Indiana||Up to $1,000||Yes||Yes|
|Kansas||$300 to $1,000||6 months||Yes||Yes|
|Kentucky||$500 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes|
|Maine||$100 to $500||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Maryland||Up to $1,000||6 months||Yes||Yes||Five points|
|Michigan||$200 to $500||1 year||Yes|
|Minnesota||$200 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Missouri||$300||15 days||Yes||Yes||Four points|
|Montana||$250 to $500||10 days|
|Nebraska||Up to $1,000||6 months||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Nevada||$600 to $1,000||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|New Hampshire||Insurance not normally required||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|New Jersey||$300 to $1,000||Community Service||Yes|
|New Mexico||Up to $300||Yes||Yes|
|New York||$150 to $1,500||15 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|North Carolina||Up to $1,000||Yes||Yes||Yes||Three points|
|North Dakota||$150 minimum||Yes||Yes**||Yes|
|Oklahoma||Up to $250||30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Oregon||$130 to $1,000||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rhode Island||$100 to $500||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|South Carolina||$445 currently||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|South Dakota||$500||30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Texas||$175 to $350||Yes|
|Vermont||$47 to $622||Two points|
|Washington||Up to $250||Yes|
|West Virginia||$200 to $5,000||15 days to 1 year||Yes||Yes|
|Wisconsin||Up to $500||Yes||Yes|
|Wyoming||Up to $750||6 months||Yes||Yes|
- * Class A infraction that allows fines up to $10,000
- ** Required to obtain duplicate license with notation of "proof of liability insurance"
- Note: Maximum penalties current as of January 2014 and based on research and information given by state governments.
- If your license or registration is suspended, be prepared to pay a reinstatement fee of anywhere from $25 to $250.