What Happens When You Don't Have Auto Insurance

If you’re driving or on the road a lot, it’s important to have auto insurance. It protects you as a driver and other people you meet on the road. This is why almost every state in the country has auto insurance requirements. You may choose to forgo auto insurance in hopes of  temporary savings. But you could end up paying  more than  you save if you get caught or get in an accident. Before you consider driving without insurance, we want to help you understand the risks and help you choose smarter.

Auto insurance is required in almost every state, except for Virginia. This helps protect you, your passengers and those you meet on the road. Each state has minimum coverage requirements that you must have. In general, people who own or operate a vehicle need the following auto insurance premiums: Property Damage Liability: The cost of paying the costs of damage to the person’s property another  in an accident you cause. Uninsured/Uninsured Drivers Protection: If you are injured in an accident involving an at-fault driver without insurance or sufficient insurance, it will help you pay for his injuries. Many states require this coverage, but allow you to opt out or decline coverage in writing. Each state has its own requirements for the minimum limits you need for the averages listed above. You’ll want to make sure you hit these levels.

If you cause an accident, you will be  liable for injury and property damage. You may also have to pay fines and  have your license suspended and your vehicle impounded. If you are not at fault, the laws vary by state and by accident. When the error is not clear, you may be responsible for handling communications with the other party’s auto insurance company, which can put you in a difficult position.

Driving without insurance can be expensive, even exceeding the cost of insurance. If you cannot prove that you are insured, the consequences will vary depending on the condition in which you are driving. As a general rule, if you’re caught without insurance and with no prior violations, you’re likely to be fined. Your fines are state-specific and can range from very nominal to several thousand dollars. Some states can have more serious consequences, such as suspending your driver’s license and registration and requiring you to pay higher fees to reinstate them. Other states give the police the power to impound your vehicle if you cannot provide proof of insurance, leaving you responsible for towing fees and other related costs. And while this isn’t the first offense, you could even face jail time for driving without insurance. The real question you need to ask yourself when  considering giving up or not getting insurance is whether you should avoid driving until you can afford to buy it again, or find cheaper insurance to keep you going.