What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without Insurance?

What Happens if I Get into an Accident Without Insurance?

If you cause an accident and don’t have car insurance, you may have to pay for the damage out of your pocket. You could also get sued if you don’t pay.

Police will likely charge you with driving without car insurance. You could face a hefty fine, license suspension and even jail time, depending on the state.

Once you buy car insurance, you will probably pay much higher rates for coverage. The at-fault accident and not having coverage are two factors that generally mean higher car insurance costs.

These are all reasons why maintaining car insurance coverage is critical to your finances.

How to Find the Best Auto Insurance

As many as one in seven drivers on the road do not have auto insurance, some because they struggle to afford it, and others because they believe the cost outweighs the risk. However, the financial and penal repercussions of driving uninsured can easily exceed the annual cost of carrying basic car insurance.

If you drive, we urge you to purchase at least your state’s minimum required liability insurance. Below are some tips for finding the best auto insurance to meet your needs.

Know Your Limits

To avoid the penalties we have described, you just need to meet your state’s minimum required level of financial responsibility, which is usually around $20,000 to $50,000 of liability coverage. Other types of coverage, such as personal injury protection (PIP) or collision and comprehensive insurance, may not be required by your state, but they provide critical protection if you can afford them.

In most states—if you have a clean driving record—you can find basic liability auto insurance for less than $50 a month.

Shop Around

Shopping around for the best car insurance is vital to finding affordable rates. In most parts of the country, no less than ten companies vie for your business, and usually at least one of them is offering a premium that’s well below the average.

In Utah, for example, we found that Geico offers policies for 50% less than the state average for a 30-year-old driver. Get at least three quotes before choosing a policy. Most companies enable you to get quotes easily online, so getting more shouldn’t be a problem.

Affordable Car Insurance For Low-Income Earners

At least three states, New Jersey, California and Hawaii, offer low-income auto insurance programs for drivers who struggle to afford coverage. In New Jersey, the Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP) is open to those enrolled in Medicaid with hospitalization. In California, you can join its program if your income is less than $60,750 for a household of four people.

In Hawaii, anyone receiving direct cash payment assistance may be eligible for free personal injury protection and liability insurance from the state. Yearly rates could be free for some drivers in Hawaii, and up to $611 if you live in Los Angeles. Regardless, drivers who purchase insurance through one of these assistance programs will pay several hundred dollars less than they would for normal policies.

If You Are an Undocumented Immigrant

If you are in the country without proper documentation, then you most likely do not have a valid driver’s license, making it impossible to get insurance. If you were to be caught driving in this case, not only would you face penalties and fines, but also potential deportation. Luckily, 12 states and Washington D.C. have introduced programs for undocumented immigrants to get legitimate driver’s licenses. Obtaining a legitimate card with driving privileges is the first step in obtaining insurance.

Assigned Risk Programs for High Risk Drivers

If you can afford insurance, but are deemed too risky to cover by insurance companies, you should look into your state’s assigned risk program. Each state’s program is different but, essentially, an assigned risk program is a secondary market for drivers too risky to be insured due to a history of violations or accidents.

Rather than just having one company take on the risk, multiple insurers come together to form a pool that collectively takes on the risk. Rates will generally be higher, but at least you will have insurance and can drive legally.

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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurancein the States With the Highest Uninsured Driver Percentage

StateFinesLicense SuspensionOther Consequences
FloridaFirst offense: $150 license reinstatement feeRepeat offense: $250 to $500 reinstatement feeLicense and registration suspended for three years or until driver has proof of insuranceSR-22 required for three years
Mississippi$500, but can be reduced to $100 if proof of insurance is provided by court dateLicense suspended for a year or until proof of insurance is providedSR-22 required for three to five years
New MexicoFirst offense: No more than $300Repeat offense: No more than $1,000Registration may be suspendedDrivers may be imprisoned for up to 90 days after first offense and six months after repeat offense
Michigan$200 – $500 feeLicense suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance is submittedUp to a year in jail
TennesseeUp to $300 feeLicense suspended until driver re-takes license exam and provides proof of insuranceSR-22 required for three years

How Much Is the Fine for Driving Without Insurance?

Fines incurred for getting caught driving without insurance may range from $100 to $5,000 based on your state and the number of offenses. In many states, the fine will increase for subsequent violations. The fine ranges below are based on first and second offenses.

State

Fine

State

Fine

Alabama

$200-$300

Montana

$250-$500

Alaska

$100-$250

Nebraska

$50

Arizona

$972-$1,883

Nevada

$250-$1,000

Arkansas

$50-$500

New Hampshire

No mandatory insurance law

California

$100-$500

New Jersey

$300-$5,000

Colorado

Up to $1,000

New Mexico

$300-$1,000

Connecticut

$100-$1,000

New York

$150-$1,500

Delaware

$1,500-$4,000

North Carolina

$50-$100

Florida

$150-$250

North Dakota

$150-$5,000

Georgia

$200-$1,000

Ohio

N/A

Hawaii

$100-$5,000

Oklahoma

Up to $250

Idaho

$75-$1,000

Oregon

$130-$1,000

Illinois

$501-$1,000

Pennsylvania

$300

Indiana

$150-$225

Rhode Island

$100-$500

Iowa

$250

South Carolina

Kansas

$300-$2,500

South Dakota

$100-$200

Kentucky

$500-$2,500

Tennessee

$100

Louisiana

Up to $500

Texas

$175-$1,000

Maine

$100-$500

Utah

Up to $1,000

Maryland

Up to $2,500

Vermont

$250-$500

Massachusetts

$500-$5,000

Virginia

$600

Michigan

$200-$500

Washington

$250

Minnesota

$200-$1,000

West Virginia

$200-$5,000

Mississippi

$500

Wisconsin

Up to $500

Missouri

Up to $300

Wyoming

$250-$1,000

Source: Consumer Federation of America

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What Are the Consequences of Getting Into an Accident While Uninsured?

Whether it’s yours or the other driver’s fault for causing an accident, there are repercussions to driving uninsured.

If you’re at fault for causing the accident, you are vulnerable to being sued by the other driver. If you suffered vehicle damages, you bear the full brunt of the cost of repairs. However, your auto insurer may have helped absorb some of the costs if you had been insured. Even if you repair your vehicle, however, a judge may revoke your driver’s license and impound your vehicle for driving uninsured.

If you are not at fault for causing an auto accident, you may still face penalties, including fines and the suspension of your license. Certain states, like California or Kansas, may limit what an uninsured driver can sue for, restricting the amount you can claim from the at-fault driver. You may be able to collect compensation for medical services and property damages but you may be restricted from suing for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.

Our recommendations for car insurance

If you’re in the market for a new insurance policy, you’ll want to secure the best possible rates. Because car insurance costs can vary by individual, there is no single best provider for every driver. That’s why the only way to find the right policy for you is to shop around and compare offers. Use the tool below to compare free car insurance quotes from several top providers in your area.

License Plate Suspension

As mentioned above, license plate suspension is part of the penalty faced by those driving without insurance in Illinois. License plate suspension means that your driving privileges have been removed. You cannot legally drive until you have reinstated your license plates and have proof of insurance.

How much is a driving without insurance ticket in Michigan?

If you are convicted of driving without insurance in Michigan, you will be required to pay a fine of at least $200 but not more than $500. (MCL 500.3102(2))

How to find cheap car insurance if you’re uninsured

If you’re currently driving uninsured, it should be obvious by this point that it’s a good idea to secure insurance coverage as soon as possible. Finding cheap car insurance can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve been caught without insurance before. It isn’t impossible, though.MORE: Does a no-fault accident go on your record?RECOMMENDED
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Shop around

Whether you have a bad record or not, it’s always a good idea to shop the rates of various insurance providers. It’s unlikely that you’ll find cheap car insurance at the first provider you approach, so you’ll want to explore your options.

Use the Jerry app to find savings

Jerry is an easy way to compare car insurance quotes. Whether you’re looking for very cheap car insurance with no deposit, no down payment car insurance, the minimum liability insurance, or otherwise, the app will help you quickly compare rates from more than 40 different insurance companies. All it takes is answering a few questions. Jerry is one of the most reliable ways to find affordable insurance, even if your record is less than stellar. Annual savings with Jerry can be significant, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars. For example, the drivers in California saved an average of $1060 with Jerry. And Nevada drivers saved an average of $7872!RECOMMENDED
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What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without Insurance?

Tickets, fines, and punishments for driving without car insurance depend on the state where you live. (We list each state’s penalties below.) In general, the penalties may include:

  • A fine
  • Jail time
  • Points on your license
  • The suspension of your license, registration, and/or plates
  • Having your vehicle impounded
  • Court fees and reinstatement fees
  • The requirement to file an SR-22. An SR-22, sometimes called a certificate of financial responsibility, is filed with the state that proves you have car insurance. If you’re required to have an SR-22, you’re considered a high-risk driver, which means your insurance will be considerably more expensive.

Many states also have a “no pay, no play” law. Meaning if you’re hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, but you don’t have car insurance, there may be a limit on how much you can collect in damages. In Michigan, an uninsured driver may have to pay for other people’s injuries and losses — even if the uninsured driver didn’t cause the crash.

Can You Drive Someone Elses Car Without Insurance?

As long as the car you are driving is insured, you should be fine.  Remember, auto insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. It is a good idea to have some understanding of the coverage the car you are borrowing has, and to have a copy of the policy available in case an accident should occur while you are driving.

State penalties for driving without insurance

The penalty for driving without insurance is different in each state. The table below describes penalties for first-time offenses by state. Some state governments will even imprison people for driving without insurance.

What Happens If You Don’t Have Car Insurance in New Jersey?

Your consequences of driving without insurance vary, depending on if you have any prior offenses. The consequences may include the following:

First Offense

If it’s your first offense of driving without insurance, you may receive between $300-$1,000 in fines plus a $250 surcharge assessment every three years, for a total of three years.

Your driver’s license may also be suspended for up to one year. Community service may be a requirement and is determined by the court. It’s also possible to receive additional legal consequences like vehicle impoundment if you don’t provide proof of insurance within the set time period.

Second or Subsequent Offenses

If this is your second or more offense, you may receive even harsher consequences. You may receive legal fines between $500-$5,000, as well as a $250 surcharge for three years. Your license may be suspended for up to two full years and reinstatement is up to the director of the DMV.

You could also be sentenced to 14 days in jail and possible vehicle impoundment if you don’t show proof of insurance within 24 hours.

These are only the potential legal consequences that come with driving without insurance in New Jersey. If you lose your driver’s license, you may also lose your employment. If you have to spend time in jail, you may find it difficult to find additional employment. If you do cause an accident, you could also be personally liable for damages.

What Are the Florida SR-22 Insurance Requirements?

According to good2go.com, another consequence of being involved in an accident without insurance when you are at fault is the SR-22 Insurance requirements in the state. You will not only receive a ticket for the cause of the accident and driving without insurance, but you will also have to obtain an SR-22 form from your insurance company.

This form is sent monthly from your insurance company to the DHSMV and provides proof that you have the state-required minimum coverage. You will also be required to meet the SR-22 requirements if you are convicted of driving without insurance, even if you weren’t involved in an accident. This requirement may continue for up to three years after the suspension of your driving privileges has been lifted.

Best Car Insurance Companies 2022

With so many choices for car insurance companies, it can be hard to know where to start to find the right car insurance. We’ve evaluated insurers to find the best car insurance companies, so you don’t have to.

How Much Is Your Michigan Auto Accident Case Worth?

Michigan Auto Law is the leading and largest law firm in Michigan exclusively handling auto accident cases for more than 50 years. By answering a few simple questions we can help you determine how much your accident case could be worth.

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