The consequences of driving without insurance are typically costly fines and penalties. The severity of the penalties vary by state, but it's usually a fine (up to $2000), license and registration suspension, car impoundment, and possible jail time.
What happens if I am caught driving without insurance?
In most states, you're required by law to have your state's minimum liability coverage. Driving without this insurance is illegal, and penalties are severe and expensive.
The best-case scenario if you are caught without this coverage? You pay a hefty fine.
What are the penalties if I'm caught driving without insurance?
Depending on what state you're in, you face different penalties and fees, including:
- A fine: The amount of your fine is between $500-$2000 if you're a first-time offender. Certain states also require you to pay an extra surcharge of $250 to the DMV and rule that you serve at least $1000 worth of community service.
- License and registration suspension: You're stripped of your license and registration. The duration of this suspension is between 3-6 months, depending on your state's laws. You're charged an additional fee to reinstate your license and registration after the suspension is lifted.
- Impoundment: There are states, such as Louisiana, that impound your car on a first offense. The duration of this impoundment depends on your state's laws and restrictions.
- Imprisonment: Some states imprison you if you're found without proof of your required minimum insurance. The length of your jail time depends on your state, but on average you spend between 10 days to 6 months in jail.
You don't have to be driving to face penalties for lapses in your auto insurance
There are over 22 states that electronically check your auto insurance payments with computer systems.
When you've experienced a lapse in your insurance, this system picks it up and sends an alert to officials that you don't have auto insurance.
You're therefore liable for a fine even if you're not driving your vehicle. Your car may also get towed and impounded until you reinstate your auto insurance.
Second-time caught driving without insurance
Your punishment for a second-time offense is much harsher, with penalties such as the following:
- Fine amount doubles
- License and registration stripped
- Jail time is mandatory
Companies with the best rates on minimum liability coverage
We've listed the best auto insurance companies that have affordable rates on minimum car insurance.
- Allstate: Minimum coverage with Allstate is an average of $1004 a year. Allstate is a well-known auto insurance provider. Cut back costs with multi-policy discounts, as well as students and good driver discounts. Contact Allstate to get a quote, today!
- USAA: Minimum coverage with USAA is an average of $430 a year. You're also offered many discounts, such as good student discounts and safe driver discounts.
- State Farm: Minimum coverage with State Farm is an average of $712 a year. This is a reputable company known for its exceptional service.
- GEICO: Minimum coverage with GEICO is an average of $819 a year. Make use of many other discounts, such as the Live Away From Home discount, good driver's discount, and multiple student discounts.
- Progressive: Minimum coverage with Progressive is an average of $924 a year. Progressive provides many student discounts that save you up to 25% on your insurance premiums. Contact Progressive to get your quote, today!
3 things to consider about driving without insurance
- Under no circumstance is driving without insurance a good idea. Not only do you face harsh penalties and fees, but your driving record maintains a large blemish that leads to skyrocketing premiums.
- If you get into an accident without insurance, your state's punishment is even harder. You're charged for your offense of driving without insurance and you face penalties for the accident, too. Your license is taken away, and you face mandatory jail time.
- Your rates vary depending on your car model, location, safety features, and more. Find the cheapest liability coverage and maintain your insurance and avoid any harsh penalties.
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