Driving Without Insurance in USA: What Happens If You Get Caught or an Accident?
A study from the Insurance Research Council in 2021 says that almost one in eight drivers do not have car insurance. It is not a good idea to join this not-so-exclusive club.
If you break the law, you could get fined or even go to jail. You’ll also have problems with your insurance. And if you not having car insurance and cause an accident that hurts someone or damages property, the financial consequences can be terrible.
Every state has some kind of “financial responsibility” rule. This means that you need to be able to pay if you or someone else driving your car causes an accident. Paying a bond to the state that can be more than $50,000 is one way to show that you are responsible with your money that is not very realistic. Getting car insurance, on the other hand, is the easiest and least expensive way to be responsible with money.
Each state (except New Hampshire and Virginia in some cases) has a minimum amount of liability car insurance that you must have. And if you are found driving without insurance, you will probably have to pay a lot of money.
Driving Without Insurance in USA
If you drive without insurance, you could get in trouble with the law. Here are some things that might happen to you:
- Fines: If you are caught driving without insurance, you will have to pay a fine. Depending on your state, the fine can be anywhere from $100 to $1,500.
- Suspending the license: In some places, you might not be able to get your license back until you get car insurance. The suspension may be harsher in some places. In New York, you could lose your license for up to a year if you don’t have car insurance and cause an accident.
- The registration of a vehicle may be suspended or taken away. If you drive without car insurance, you might lose your license plate. In Massachusetts, for instance, your car’s registration will be taken away for good if you can’t show proof of insurance.
- Taking away the vehicle: If you are caught driving without insurance in some places, like California, your car could be towed away.
- Fees: You will have to pay fees to fix problems like having your license taken away, your registration taken away, or your car towed away.
- Going to jail: If you drive without insurance, you can go to jail. Some states do send first-time criminals to jail, but most states don’t. In Michigan, for example, you could go to jail for up to a year if you drive or let someone drive your uninsured car or if you drive a car that you know doesn’t have no-fault insurance.
The legal consequences can get worse if you don’t learn your lesson the first time. If you commit a second or subsequent crime, you will likely face harsher punishments, such as large fines and a higher chance of going to jail. Not having car insurance can also cost you a lot of money. Here are some things that could happen with your insurance:
- Costs for car insurance are going up: People who drive without insurance have a “coverage gap.” When you have a coverage break, insurance companies see you as a higher risk, so your rates will be higher.
- Bills for fixing cars: You won’t be covered for fix bills for your own car or the other driver’s car if you cause an accident without insurance. This means that you could have to pay for big bills yourself, especially if the accident totals the cars. You will also have to pay for any damage you cause to someone else’s property, like a fence.
- Costs of medical care: If you cause an accident that hurts someone, you might have to pay for their medical bills. The most current report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners says that the average cost of a bodily injury claim in 2017 was $20,453. You could be charged if you don’t have the money to pay. This could put your assets, savings, and home at risk.
What Happens in an Uninsured Accident?
The harm you inflict in an accident without auto insurance may be your responsibility. You could be sued for nonpayment. Police may undoubtedly charge you with driving without insurance. The state may punish you heavily, suspend your license, or imprison you. After buying auto insurance, rates will likely rise. At-fault accidents and uninsured drivers raise vehicle insurance prices. These are all reasons why auto insurance is essential to your money.