What Happens If You’re Caught On The Road Without Auto Insurance?

According to a 2021 report by the Insurance Research Council, almost one in eight drivers don’t have car insurance. If you belong to this not-so-exclusive club, you need to do a lot of thinking.

Without auto insurance, you won’t just face legal consequences like jail time and fines; you’ll also face insurance-related consequences. Plus, if you cause a car crash that leads to injuries or property damage, the financial fallout can be pretty overwhelming if you’re driving without auto insurance.

All states have some type of ‘financial responsibility’ law. If you or someone driving your vehicle causes an accident, you should have the means to pay. Forking over a bond with the state that can run over $50,000 is one less-than-practical way to satisfy financial responsibility. However, the most affordable and easiest way to satisfy financial responsibility is to invest in car insurance.

Every state entails a minimal amount of liability car insurance (even Virginia and New Hampshire under certain conditions) — and if you get caught driving without car insurance, you’ll need to pay some fees. Read as we discuss what can happen if you drive without personal car insurance in Indian Orchard:

Should you have insurance to drive?

Well, yes. Many states require that you buy at least the minimum required car insurance coverage to drive legally. The only two exceptions are Virginia (the state gives you the option to opt-out of car insurance every year by paying a $500 uninsured motorist fee) and New Hampshire (the state doesn’t require coverage legally).

men standing beside a black SUV

However, in most states, there’s another way of satisfying a similar ‘financial responsibility law,’ such as showing proof of self-insurance or posting a bond. Although these methods help you drive without car insurance, they’re costlier than just investing in a policy, which means many people prefer getting car insurance coverage to drive legally.

While the mandatory minimum levels vary from state to state, many states require at least the following types of coverage:

Property damage liability

This covers damage to the vehicle of the other driver and to any property that’s affected by the accident (like a light post or fence). While minimum requirements typically range from $10,000 to $25,000, they can be higher.

Bodily injury liability

This part covers medical costs for anyone who suffered an injury in a car crash caused by you. While minimum requirements typically range from $20,000 to $50,000 per accident and $10,000 to $25,000 per person, they can be higher.

Certain states also have other requirements, like PIP (personal injury protection), medical payments coverage, and underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. The former two cover not just your medical costs but also those of your passengers. They’re optional in some states but mandatory in others.

What are the consequences of driving without insurance?

You’ll probably face a lot of consequences if you drive without car insurance. The severity of these penalties depends on various factors, including the state you’re in and whether this is a repeat or a first offense.

men standing beside a car

Getting into an accident without insurance

You’ll face some serious consequences if you get into an accident without car insurance. You’ll be subject to a lot of penalties, and you’ll leave with an impounded vehicle and a suspended license. You’ll also need to file an FR-44 or SR-22 form with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) of your state — this is a certificate that some states need you to pay for and file that proves you possess the minimum amount of car insurance.

If you have caused property damage or injuries, you may also face high out-of-pocket costs too. However, you can let your policy pay for the damages if you have insurance. If you don’t have auto insurance, these costs will entirely fall on you.

If paying for the accident’s cost isn’t possible for you, you may face the risk of financial distress or even bankruptcy. Since costs for vehicle damage and medical care can add up quickly, you may find yourself in an uncomfortable position.

Getting pulled over without insurance

In many states, if you’re pulled over for the first time without car insurance, you’ll be fined. For instance, in California, you’ll pay around $100 to $200 (as well as penalty fees) for a first offense. Plus, other states like Florida will suspend your registration and driver’s license. If you want them reinstated, you’ll be required to pay a fee.

In certain states, the officer who pulls you over can impound your car if they think it’s necessary. In such a case, you’ll have to pay for towing fees and other costs involved. Getting your vehicle back probably won’t be possible until you have proof of car insurance.

Once it’s established that you don’t have car insurance, you’ll know that the cost of car insurance — which you’ll have to invest in now to get your vehicle out of the impound lot and reinstate your license — is higher than if you had a policy before. Since you broke the law and drove without insurance, insurance companies may view you as a high-risk driver.

a tree fell over a parked car

How to find affordable car insurance?

While car insurance may not be the most exciting purchase, it’s a vital part of your financial plan. Yes, preferring to go without insurance may save you a few bucks, but the result of causing a crash without insurance can be terrible for your financial health. If your main concern is budget, here’s how you can save on your car insurance:

Drive safely

Normally, drivers with a clean record usually get lower insurance premiums. By maintaining a clean record, you can steer clear of surcharges in your policy.

Ask about discounts

Don’t hesitate to inquire about available discounts if you’re looking for the best price. With discounts for safe driving, you may qualify for a better rate.

Compare various policy quotes

Before making a purchase, get quotes from several insurance providers to compare discounts, coverage options, and prices.

Find the right coverage for your needs

Don’t underinsure or over-insure yourself. To get a better idea of your coverage needs, talk to a professional insurance agent about your situation. For instance, if you’re comfortable paying more out of pocket in a claim and carrying higher deductibles, increasing your collision and comprehensive deductibles can be a good idea to save on auto insurance costs. You should also review your medical and liability coverage to get the right coverage at a fair price.

Western Mass Auto Insurance offers the finest car insurance services in Indian Orchard

From full registry services, and low down payments, to our free, no-obligation quotes, we’re a one-stop shop for all of your local car insurance needs in Indian Orchard.

At Western Mass Auto Insurance, we can insure anyone. Old or new driver, good or bad driving record — it doesn’t matter. And we’ll get you the lowest down payment and the best price available.

Looking to get your car insured in Indian Orchard? Reach out to us now!