The Consequences of Driving Without Insurance
Car insurance is mandatory for nearly every driver in the United States—and for good reason. While insurance premiums may seem daunting, they’re far less costly than paying for an accident out of pocket. A good auto insurance policy has your back when it comes to damages, repairs, and medical bills. Insurance is a legal requirement in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Neglecting your insurance or letting your coverage lapse will result in steep fines and other legal consequences. That’s why you must stay diligent about renewing and paying for your insurance policy. The consequences of driving without insurance vary from state to state, but there are a few general rules. Learn more about these consequences and how to avoid them with this rundown of auto insurance requirements and regulations.
Common Auto Insurance Requirements
Before you learn about the consequences of not having auto insurance, it’s crucial to know what kinds of policies your state requires. With the exception of New Hampshire, every state requires drivers to have some form of auto insurance. While New Hampshire has no statewide auto insurance requirement, residents will still need insurance if they plan on driving out of state. The specifics of your auto insurance policy will vary from location to location. Your policy will need to cover the minimum liability requirements for bodily injury and property damage. Colorado’s minimum liability requirements are $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury to two or more people, and $15,000 for property damage. Your insurance policy must be able to meet these requirements in the event of an accident.
Some states require additional policies, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, to cover you in case you come across a driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance. Your policy might also have to cover medical costs through coverages like personal injury protection. Insurance companies will be able to walk you through your state’s specific requirements, but you should always take the time to read up on the various rules and regulations in your state.
The Consequences of Driving Without Insurance
Auto insurance guarantees that someone can pay for the bills and repairs that arise from an accident. Driving without insurance is both illegal and irresponsible. Different states have different rules about the consequences you face if you drive without insurance. Generally, a first offense will lead to milder ramifications than a repeat incident. But the cost of driving without insurance can still be severe, even if it’s the first negative incident on your record. Below is a rundown of some of the most common consequences you can expect to face.
Fees and Fines
Like all traffic violations, you’ll suffer financial consequences if you drive without insurance. You’ll have to pay a ticket or a fine for the violation. The cost will vary depending on where you live and whether this is a repeat offense. Some states may charge less than $100, while others will require you to pay up to $5,000 in fines. Keep in mind that a ticket might only be part of what you pay. You can also face court fines or an increase in your insurance premium once the incident appears on your driving record.
Losing Your License
On top of paying a hefty fine, you may also lose your license if you drive without insurance. If this happens, you’ll have to go through the process of reinstating your license. This can take a lot of time and money, as you’ll make court appearances and pay various fees. In the meantime, the inability to drive can make commuting to work or school a hassle. Most states are more likely to suspend or revoke your license after a repeat offense, but you can still lose it even if it’s your first time driving while uninsured.
Losing Your Vehicle
Your license isn’t the only thing you can lose by driving without auto insurance. If an officer pulls you over and finds you don’t have insurance, they can decide to tow your vehicle on the spot. This means you will have to face impound fees to retrieve your vehicle. Some states can catch uninsured drivers even if you aren’t on the road. Many states electronically monitor registered vehicles to ensure they remain under an insurance policy. If the system discovers you have a registered vehicle but are lacking the necessary insurance, the state will fine you.
Filing for SR22 Insurance
In many cases, driving without insurance will cause the state to label you a high-risk driver. This can lead to an SR22 insurance requirement. The SR22 certificate serves as a guarantee to the state that you have an active insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum liability requirements. If you lose your license because you were driving without insurance, you will likely need an SR22 policy to reinstate it. The specific requirements surrounding SR22 insurance vary from state to state, but in most scenarios, you will need to continue to pay for an SR22 policy for a couple of years after the incident.
Getting Into an Accident Without Insurance
If the state finds out you’re uninsured after having an accident, you can encounter much steeper consequences. Financial ramifications will be more expensive. You’re also more likely to lose your license or face an SR22 insurance requirement after an accident. Additionally, because driving without insurance is a misdemeanor, you could face jail time. While this is unlikely if the state finds out through an electronic system or by pulling you over, it’s more common in the event of an accident—especially if this is a repeat offense. An uninsured accident also comes with bills and repairs. If the other driver doesn’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you might be liable for the entire cost of an accident. Finally, the incident will remain on your driver’s record for several years. This can impact your auto insurance rates, as well as various aspects of your life, including job or loan applications.
Finding a Policy That Fits Your Needs
If you’re dealing with the consequences of driving without an auto insurance policy, Serenity Group is here to help. Learn about SR22 requirements and compare quotes in your state to find a policy that meets your needs. From D.C. to Denver, SR22 insurance becomes simple when you have the experts at Serenity Group on your side.