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Driving Without Insurance? Get Covered!

Driving without insurance in most states is illegal and can result in severe financial and legal consequences. Get a free quote today to find suitable coverage and avoid these risks

Driving Without Insurance

In all but two states in the U.S., it is illegal to drive without an active auto insurance policy that meets the minimum liability limits required by the state. Driving without insurance can be a mistake that can have dire financial consequences. You must have the required auto insurance for your state before you get on the road to protect yourself and other drivers.

Do All States Require Auto Insurance?

All states in the U.S. have their own laws regarding the amount of car insurance you need to have to drive legally. All states other than New Hampshire and Virginia require that you carry car insurance that meets at least the minimum required liability insurance coverage set by the state. If you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, you can drive without insurance, but you will be held financially liable for any damages or injuries that you cause to other people and their property with your car in an accident.

Is it Illegal to Drive Without Insurance?

It is illegal to drive without car insurance in all states except New Hampshire and Virginia. In the other 48 states, you must carry at least the minimum liability insurance set by your state.

Minimum liability insurance limits include a certain amount of bodily injury liability and property damage coverage. In some states called "no-fault states," you must also carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to protect you and your passengers if they are hurt in an accident. Personal injury protection coverage covers your and your passenger's medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and other things, regardless of whether the accident is your fault.

In addition, other states may require that you carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage, which covers the medical expenses that you or your passengers incur when you are involved in an accident in which the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance or doesn't have enough bodily injury liability insurance to cover your medical bills.

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Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If you are caught driving without valid auto insurance or cannot produce a valid insurance card at the time, you will face heavy consequences in most states. These consequences can include fines up to $5,000, suspension or revocation of your driver's license and registration, jail time, mandatory community service, and your vehicle can be impounded.

To get back on the road after driving without car insurance, you will have to satisfy all of the penalties set upon you by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles, pay the required fees to reinstate your driver's license and vehicle registration, and more than likely you will need to produce proof of financial responsibility called an SR-22 form. An SR-22 form is filed by your auto insurance company with your state's DMV to prove that you have bought an adequate insurance policy that satisfies the required limits set by your state.

What Happens if You Cause an Accident While Driving Without Insurance?

If you cause a car accident and cannot show proof of active auto insurance to the law enforcement officer at the scene, you will face penalties similar to the ones listed above. You will also be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages you cause to other people and their property in the accident, and you may receive a traffic violation for driving uninsured.

Causing an accident when you do not have car insurance can devastate your financial future. If you cannot afford to pay for the injuries and damages you caused, you can be sued, and your assets and wages cannot be used to pay for those injuries and damages to other people and their property.

Even if you get into an accident and do not hurt anyone else or damage their property, you will not have coverage for your medical expenses or the damage to your vehicle either.

In addition to all of this, causing an accident while you're uninsured makes you a high-risk driver in the eyes of auto insurance companies. High-risk drivers pay more for their auto insurance premiums than other drivers because they pose a greater risk of having accidents, putting in insurance claims, and letting their insurance coverage lapse again in the future. The insurance industry is a business, so they charge an appropriate insurance premium for a driver based on their risk level.

How Do You Get Car Insurance When You Are Uninsured?

Every driver can buy car insurance regardless of whether or not they have current insurance. As a previously uninsured driver, you will face higher car insurance premiums due to your lack of insurance and high-risk status. Also, not every insurance company will offer coverage to someone without prior insurance, so the options of which insurance companies you can buy your car insurance through are more limited than those of other drivers.

Uninsured drivers are penalized for driving without prior insurance, regardless of what coverage limits they purchase. They must be rated appropriately based on their driving record, which will reflect any traffic violations or accidents they have had in the past. You can speak with a local insurance agent or access a comparative online rater such as A-MAX Insurance to find a policy that suits your needs and fits your budget.

If you are unable to obtain an auto insurance policy on your own, your only option may be through your state's high-risk auto insurance pool. Every state has a high-risk auto insurance pool, but you must apply for this type of policy through a licensed insurance agent, and the coverages you can buy are severely limited compared to a policy with a standard insurer.


Driving Without Insurance FAQs

Q: Can I legally drive without car insurance?

A: You cannot legally drive without valid car insurance in any state but New Hampshire or Virginia. In other states, you must buy an auto insurance policy that satisfies your state's minimum liability insurance requirements.

Q: Are there consequences for driving without insurance?

A: Getting caught driving without insurance can result in a variety of penalties, including fines, jail time, vehicle impoundment, and potential suspension of your driver's license or vehicle registration. If you cause an accident while uninsured, you will be responsible for these penalties and have to cover the cost of the injuries and damages you cause to other people and their property out of your own pocket.

Q: Can I get insurance if I have been uninsured?

A: You can purchase car insurance even if you have been uninsured, but you will face more expensive premiums and have access to fewer insurance companies than someone with continuous insurance. 


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