Driving with no car insurance is an offense that carries penalties in every state. These penalties include fines, surcharges, and even jail time. Also, the penalties for driving uninsured vary from state to state.
“The rule of law requires that all automobile drivers must maintain an active insurance policy. This rule is in recognition of the risks and dangers that are inherent to the activity of driving. If everybody drove on the public roads without maintaining their insurance policy, then the bonds of trust that make our society function would break down,” says David Reischer, attorney at LegalAdvice.com Corp.
This guide will help you determine what penalties you could face if you get caught driving without car insurance in your state.
- In many states, if you’re caught driving without car insurance your registration and license will be revoked.
- You will be considered a high-risk driver after a violation for driving without insurance.
- Rather than driving without insurance, try to fulfill your state’s minimum liability insurance requirement to drive legally.
- You can save money on your car insurance as a high-risk driver by comparing insurance quotes from different companies.
What happens if you drive without insurance?
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, 10% more when you finally get a new policy in place.
But the no insurance penalty is much higher in some states. For instance, in California, the average driver faces a 36% hike, and in Massachusetts and North Carolina, you’ll see increases of about 30%, CarInsurance.com rate data show.
What happens if you’re uninsured and you get in an accident?
Additionally, the penalties for no insurance vary by state. More importantly, if you get in an accident, you’re on the hook to pay for the damages.
For example, if you drive uninsured and get in an accident in California, 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 additionally 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.
What is the penalty for driving without insurance?
Even if you avoid an accident while driving without car insurance, your registration and license will be revoked in many states if you’re cited. You have to pay a fine, and your car may be impounded. Rather than driving without insurance, consider buying your state’s minimum liability car insurance.
David Reischer, attorney at LegalAdvice.com, says penalties against uninsured drivers are often too lenient. Uninsured drivers who injure people in accidents leave the injured party with no recourse except to sue the uninsured driver.
“This is simply unfair to all the other drivers that play by the rules and maintain their automobile insurance policy to compensate an injured party. Any person that cannot afford automobile insurance should simply not be driving on the public roads,” Reischer says.
People injured in accidents involving uninsured drivers could face significant costs from injuries and vehicle replacement costs.
“The rule of law requires that all automobile drivers must maintain an active insurance policy. This rule is in recognition of the risks and dangers that are inherent to the activity of driving. If everybody drove on the public roads without maintaining their insurance policy, then the bonds of trust that make our society function would break down,” Reischer says.
Here are state car insurance laws pertaining to uninsured motorists’ penalties and fines:
|State||Fine Amount||Jail Time||Registration Suspension||License Suspension|
|Alabama||$500 to $1,000||_||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||_|
|Alaska||$500 to $1,000||90 days to 1 year||_||Yes||_||_||_||Yes, if in accident|
|Arizona||$500 for first violation||_||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||_|
|Arkansas||$50 to $250 for first offense||Up to a year on third offense||Yes||_||Yes||_||_||_|
|California||$100 to $200||_||Yes||Yes||_||Yes||_||_|
|Colorado||$500 minimum||Community Service||_||Yes||_||_||Four points||_|
|Connecticut||$100 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_|
|Delaware||$1,500 to $3,000||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||_|
|D.C.||Up to $500 fine||90 days||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||_|
|Florida||$500 reinstatement fees||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||Yes|
|Georgia||$200 to $1,000||1 year||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
|Hawaii||$500||Yes (not more than 30 days)||Yes||Yes (after multiple offense)||Yes||Yes||_||Yes|
|Idaho||$75 to $1,000||Yes (not more than 6 months)||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
|Indiana||Up to $1,000||_||_||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
$250 mandatory fine or community service
|Kansas||$300 to $1,000||6 months||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||_|
|Kentucky||$500 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||_|
|Louisiana||$500 to $1,000||–||Yes||Yes (if you cause an accident)||Yes||Yes||_||_|
|Maine||$100 to $500||_||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
|Maryland||$150 to $2,500||–||Yes||_||Yes||_||–||_|
|Minnesota||$200 to $1,000||90 days||Yes||Yes||Yes||–||_||_|
|Montana||$250 to $500||10 days||_||Yes||_||_||5 Points||_|
|Nebraska||$50 reinstatement fees||–||Yes||Yes||–||_||_||–|
|Nevada||$250 to $1,000||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||Yes|
|New Hampshire||Insurance not normally required||_||–||–||_||_||_||Yes|
|New Jersey||$300 to $1,000||Community Service||_||Yes||_||–||_||_|
|New Mexico||Up to $300||_||Yes||_||Yes||_||_||_|
|New York||Up to $1,500 plus a $750 reinstatement fee||–||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_|
|North Carolina||$50 to $150||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||–||_|
|North Dakota||$150 minimum||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||Yes|
|Ohio||$100 to $600||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||Yes|
|Oklahoma||Up to $250||30 days in some cases||Yes||Yes||–||Yes||_||_|
|Oregon||$130 to $1,000||_||Yes||Yes||_||Yes||_||Yes|
|Rhode Island||$100 to $500||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||–||_||–|
|South Carolina||$600 uninsured motorist fee||_||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||Yes|
|South Dakota||$100||30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes||_||_||Yes|
|Texas||$260 to $470||_||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
|Vermont||Up to $500||_||_||Yes||_||_||Two points||_|
|Virginia||$200||_||Yes||Yes||Yes (if you haven’t paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee)||_||_||Yes (if you haven’t paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee)|
|Wisconsin||Up to $500||_||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
|Wyoming||$250 to $750||–||Yes||Yes||_||_||_||Yes|
How much do insurance rates increase after driving without insurance?
Once you decide to shop for car insurance, you’ll be considered a high-risk driver. You’ll pay more for coverage. Here’s how much rates rise, on average, after a conviction for driving without insurance. Bear in mind that even though you’ll pay more overall, you can still save money as a high-risk driver by comparing car insurance quotes.
|State||Rate With Insurance||Rate After Driving w/out Insurance Violation||$ Increase||% Increase|
Rates are averaged for 10 ZIP codes in each state from up to six major insurers for full coverage with a $500 deductible.
How to find the best auto insurance if you are uninsured
Driving without auto insurance can be risky. And if you have been driving without car insurance, you should purchase a policy that will cover your car in case of an accident.
However, some people may not qualify for low rates because they are considered higher-risk drivers by insurers due to their lack of coverage. However, you can get affordable rates if you shop around and compare car insurance quotes.
Another option is to explore regional insurers in your state. They might offer reasonable car insurance rates by states overlooking things you were responsible for in the past.
– Michelle Megna contributed to this story