Every state has different rules when it comes to what kinds of and how much auto insurance to purchase, but the one thing that they all agree on is that it’s important. Every licensed driver must be covered by insurance in order to drive around on public roads. Driving without insurance comes with serious risk and the chance of being harshly penalized. Here’s an overview of some common penalties that come along with driving without auto insurance.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common penalties imposed on those driving around without insurance. While penalties differ for each state, below is a list of possible consequences you could face for driving uninsured:
- Driver license suspension
- This is a common consequence of driving uninsured and likely to happen in most states during any major lapse in insurance coverage.
- Registration suspension This penalty is less common, but some states will suspend a driver’s vehicle registration if caught driving without insurance.
- Traffic ticket Though not as common as speeding tickets, perhaps, police officers still do give out tickets for driving without insurance. These tickets are often written in addition to the violation for which you were pulled over!
- Note: you may have a ticket for uninsured driving dismissed if you can provide the state with proof of insurance within a specific time period following the date the citation was written; however, you must prove that you had insurance at the time of the violation. You can’t buy insurance and use it after you’ve already been ticketed!
- Heavy Fines Some states will impose a fine on a driver without insurance, even if they are not caught out on the road without insurance. These fines are sent via mail and must be paid to maintain a driver’s license.
- SR-22 Requirements If you’re caught driving uninsured, and especially if you have an accident and are caught without insurance, you could find yourself required to meet SR-22 sanctions.
- Increase in Insurance Rates Remember: any time you face a violation or get into an accident, your insurance rates are subject to increase!
Accidents Involving Uninsured Motorists are Expensive
Driving without insurance doesn’t just put the driver at risk of getting a fine or having their license suspended; it can also result in a very expensive accident. Drivers without insurance that get into an accident are looking at serious costs for damages to their own belongings as well as any damage to the other driver or his/her property. At-fault drivers without insurance are expected to pay all the repair costs for the other driver’s vehicle, as well as any bodily injury or property damage costs outside of the vehicle itself. If you can’t pay, you could face litigation and end up losing your assets–even your home–to cover the cost of damages.
Driving uninsured just isn’t worth the risk, which is why every driver should spend the money needed to obtain proper insurance.
How to Keep a Policy up to Date
Many people lose their auto insurance because they cannot afford to pay the premium, but others simply forget to make a payment or two and then are left without insurance. There are a few ways to avoid this problem:
- Pay Annually
- The easiest way to avoid the problem is to just pay an annual insurance premium so that coverage is offered throughout the entire year. This usually comes with a discount, and you have a year to remember to renew and pay for further coverage!
- Use Auto-Pay
- Auto-pay deducts money from your bank account automatically in order to cover auto insurance costs. This program is simple to use and is offered by most banks and insurance companies. Ask your bank and insurance company representative about this option!
Cancelling a Policy
It’s vitally important to maintain an auto insurance policy while driving a vehicle on the road, but the moment you decide to part ways with that vehicle and to stop driving it, the policy is no longer necessary. That’s an opportunity to drop coverage and save some money. Return the license plates to the DMV and contact your insurance company to have the policy dropped. The monthly payments will stop, and you’ll save a bundle!
Note: Some states require insurance companies to alert them to the fact that you are no longer covered through their company, and if your insurance company alerts the DMV before you do, you could actually be subject to the same punishment as an uninsured driver!
Remember: You can’t just stop payments to cancel your policy! You must formally notify your insurance policy of your intention to cancel any coverage, then notify your local DMV. Also, note that you can’t simply cancel any and all of your insurance. Some insurance is required by almost every state!