What Is the Penalty for Not Having Car Insurance?
If you drive without car insurance you are personally liable for any injuries or damages that you may cause others. You’ll also pay legal penalties if you drive without insurance, the only exceptions are in the states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Virginia. New Hampshire doesn’t require auto liability insurance and in South Carolina and Virginia you can pay a fee to avoid having car insurance. Most states penalize for not having car insurance and penalties vary widely between states. Most states penalize with fines. And some will give you points on your license. Others will suspend your driver’s license. Some will impound your car. Some will require community service and you may be sentenced to jail. Here is a look at the penalties for driving without car insurance in your state.
AlabamaIn Alabama, a driver without liability insurance who is unable to provide proof of coverage within 30 days faces suspension of their registration. A $200 reinstatement fee and proof of insurance is required. A second violation coming within four years comes with a $400 reinstatement fee, requirements for proof of insurance and a mandatory four-month suspension of registration.
In Alaska, if you don’t have the minimum liability coverage of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person and $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident and $25,000 liability property damage, you could face the suspension of your driver’s license. And if you don’t have proof of your insurance, your vehicle could be impounded.
In Arizona, penalties for driving without insurance include a fine of at least $500, the suspension of driving privileges and a SR-22 requirement for two years. SR-22 is a vehicle liability insurance document required by most state Departments of Motor Vehicles for high risk insurance policies.
In Arkansas, if a driver does not have insurance a letter will be sent telling them they have 30 days to get insurance or the registration on the vehicle will be suspended. There are mandatory fines for driving without insurance in Arkansas. The first offense ranges from $50 to $250, the second offense ranges from $250 to $500 and the third and subsequent offenses come with fines of $500 to $1,000.
In California, if you drive without car insurance you’ll pay fines of $100 to $200 for the first offense and between $200 and $500 for the second offense. Your car also may be impounded and towed.
In Colorado, if you are caught driving without car insurance, you receive four points against your driver’s license. For the first offense, you’ll receive a minimum $500 fine and suspended license until you can prove to the DMV that you are insured. For the second offense, you’ll receive a minimum of $1,000 fine and four-month suspended license. For third and subsequent offenses you’ll receive a minimum $1,000 fine and eight months with a suspended license. And the courts may add up to 40 hours of community service in addition to the other penalties.
In Connecticut, driving without insurance costs $500 for the car owner and $100 to $1,000 for the operator of the vehicle. You can receive up to 3 months of jail or a combination of fine and jail time for driving without insurance and you’ll also have your driver’s license and registration suspended, In Connecticut, you’ll receive a civil penalty of $200 for failing to maintain car insurance.
In Delaware, if you are driving without proper insurance you will be fined not less than $1,500 for the first offense and $3,000 for each subsequent offense occurring within three years of a previous offense. Your driver’s license and driving privileges also will be suspended for six months.
In Florida, you must maintain required car insurance coverage throughout the vehicle registration period or your driving privileges and license plate may be suspended for up to three years. And you must pay a reinstatement fee of up to $500 when reinstating your car insurance.
In Georgia, for the first offense of driving without insurance you pay a $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee and you have your driver’s license and registration suspended for 60 days. For a second offense, you pay a $25 lapse fee and a $60 reinstatement fee and your driver’s license and registration are suspended for 90 days. For third and subsequent offenses, you pay a $25 lapse fee and a $160 reinstatement fee and your driver’s license and registration are suspended for six months.
In Hawaii, for your first offense for driving without insurance, you’ll be charged a fine of $500 or you can do 75 to 100 hours of community service in lieu of the fine. For the second offense, you will pay $1,500 to $5000 or you can do 200 to 275 hours of community service. For multiple convictions in five years, you will be charged fines of $1,500 to $5,000 or do 200 to 275 hours of community service.
In Idaho, if you don’t show proof of car insurance, you will pay a fine of $75. A second and subsequent offense within five years is a misdemeanor and it is punishable by a fee of $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months.
In Illinois, the minimum liability requirements are $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident and $20,000 liability property damage. If you do not have this insurance, your license plates will be suspended and you will face a $500 fine for driving uninsured.
In Indiana, penalties for driving without insurance include reinstatement fees and suspensions ranging from 90 days to one year.
In Iowa, the penalties for driving without insurance include paying a fine of $250 or doing community service. Your license plate and your vehicle will be impounded.
In Kansas, driving without a car insurance is a misdemeanor and it carries a fine of $300 to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. With a second offense, you will face fines of $800 to $2,500 and your driver’s license gets suspended.
In Kentucky, the vehicle owner and vehicle driver are subject to fines of $500 to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail for driving a car without insurance.
In Louisiana, driving without car insurance can lead to a fine of $500 to $1,000, a suspension of driving privileges and the impoundment of your car.
In Maine, if you are found to be driving without car insurance you will be charged a fine of $100 to $500 and you could have your driver’s license and vehicle registration suspended.
In Maryland, you are charged fines for driving without car insurance. For the first 30 days the fine is $150 and the fine is an additional $7 per day for each day after that. You’ll lose your license plate and vehicle registration privileges. And you’ll need to pay a fee of up to $25 to restore your vehicle registration.
In Massachusetts, you could face fees as high as $5,000, up to a year in jail and the loss of your driving privileges for one year for driving without car insurance.
In Michigan, driving without auto insurance is a misdemeanor with a penalty of $500 in fines and up to a year in jail. Your driver’s license could be suspended and your vehicle registration could be canceled.
In Minnesota, driving without insurance has a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Your driver’s license may be suspended as well.
In Mississippi, driving without car insurance is considered a misdemeanor and you could face a $500 fine and lose your driving privileges for one year, unless you can prove you have purchased car insurance.
In Missouri, for driving without car insurance you could face a $500 fine and 15 days in jail. You also could lose your driving privileges for a year.
In Montana, driving without car insurance is a misdemeanor and the penalties are fees between $250 and $500 or up to 10 days in jail for first offenses. A second offense results in a minimum $350 fine or 10 days in jail. Your driver’s license will be revoked for 90 days.
In Nebraska, your driver’s license will be suspended when you are found to be driving without insurance and you’ll need to pay a $50 fee to reinstate it.
In Nevada, once the state finds out you don’t have auto insurance coverage, the state will suspend your vehicle registration. For a first offense, you face a $250 to $500 fine depending on how long you’ve gone without insurance. For a second offense, you face a $500 to $1,000 fine.
In New Hampshire, car insurance is not required. But driving without insurance when in a car accident can still result in a driver’s license plate, vehicle registration and driver’s license being suspended.
In New Jersey, driving without insurance will cost you. For a first offense, the driver of the vehicle or the vehicle owner must pay a fine of at least $300 and no more than $1,000. For subsequent offenses, the fines go up to $5,000.
In New Mexico, the penalty for driving without car insurance is either a $300 fine or up to 90 days in jail.
In New York, if you don’t maintain minimum liability coverage your vehicle’s registration and your driver’s license can both be suspended. Minimum liability coverage in New York is $10,000 bodily injury liability per person, $25,000 bodily liability per accident and $50,000 liability property damage.
In North Carolina, the state insurance requirements are $30,000 bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident and $25,000 liability property damage. If you let your insurance lapse you face a $50 fee. And if you let it lapse a second time, you face a $100 fee. Failure to maintain liability insurance will result in the revocation of your license plate plus late fees, interest and collections.
In North Dakota, the penalties for driving without auto insurance include a fine of $150 to $1,000 for a first offense and a suspended driver’s license. For a second offense, you’ll pay penalties including a fine between $300 and $5,000 and 30 days in jail.
In Ohio, a driver who does not have car insurance will lose his or her driver’s license and pay $100 reinstatement fee for the first offense, $300 reinstatement fee for a second offense and $600 reinstatement fee for a third offense. Additional penalties may be imposed by a court of law.
In Oklahoma, if you have no auto insurance you’ll be charged with a fine of $250 and/or 30 days of jail time and you may have your driver’s license suspended.
In Oregon, if you drive without car insurance you’ll pay fines ranging from $130 to $1,000 and your driver’s license and registration will both be suspended.
In Pennsylvania, if you are caught driving without car insurance you’ll face a minimum of a $300 fine, a three-month suspension of your vehicle registration and a three-month suspension of your driver’s license.
In Rhode Island, if you drive without car insurance you will receive fines of up to $500, a three-month suspension of your driver’s license and a three-month suspension of your vehicle registration, all for the first offense.
In South Carolina, if you are caught driving without car insurance and you haven’t paid the $550 uninsured motorist fee, your vehicle registration and license plate will be confiscated.
In South Dakota, driving without car insurance is a misdemeanor and you’ll pay $100 fine and/or spend 30 days in jail.
In Tennessee, if you drive without car insurance you’ll pay a $300 fine and have your car towed.
In Texas, if you are caught driving without car insurance you’ll pay fines between $175 and $350. For subsequent offenses, you’ll pay fines between $350 and $1000 and you’ll have your license revoked and your vehicle impounded.
In Utah, if you fail to maintain car insurance you’ll pay a $400 fine for the first offense and $1,000 fine for the second and subsequent offenses.
In Vermont, if you drive without car insurance you risk fines ranging from $100 to $600 and a suspended license.
In Virginia, auto insurance is not required and drivers can opt to pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee instead. But if you don’t pay a fee or carry insurance, this is considered a misdemeanor and you’ll be charged fines of up to $500.
In Washington, if you drive a car without required insurance you could be charged a fee of $550 or more.
In West Virginia, if you fail to maintain car insurance your vehicle registration will be suspended with a reinstatement fee of $100, and your driver’s license will be suspended with a reinstatement fee of $50.
In Wisconsin, driving a car without insurance may result in a fine of up to $500. Showing a fraudulent proof of insurance may result in a fine of up to $5,000.
In Wyoming, if you drive without car insurance you could face fines of $250 and $750 and up to six months in prison.
In Washington, D.C. if you drive without car insurance you’ll face a suspended license and a $30 fine for the first offense. For the second offense, you’ll face fines of $150 to $2,500.
Meeting Minimum State Requirements
With the penalties being so tough for not having auto insurance it makes sense to hold on to your auto insurance as long as you can. Can’t afford insurance? How about your state’s minimum insurance requirements? Many states have minimum liability requirements for their drivers. Liability insurance is insurance that pays for other people’s injuries and property damage up to a liability limit when there is an accident.
In many cases, meeting your state’s minimum liability requirements would cover your insurance needs. But be sure to check with your state. Some may require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as well. Uninsured motorist coverage helps you pay for damages caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage protects you in the event of an accident where the other party is at fault and doesn’t carry enough insurance.
And in some states personal injury protection insurance, also known as no-fault insurance, is required by state law. This insurance coverage will reimburse you for any hospital or medical expenses, wages lost from an inability to work and it will pay these expenses regardless of who is responsible for the accident.
Doing More than the Minimum
While driving with just the minimum insurance in your state is certainly legal and it will protect you from paying fees or getting a suspended license, it is not the ideal way to drive. If you are at-fault in an accident, the liability limits are so low that it is unlikely that you will be able to pay for the other person’s injuries with insurance. The rest of the money for the damages and injuries of the accident will come out of your own pocket.
To avoid this scenario, sign on for more insurance coverage beyond the state minimum level. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you have at least $100,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $100,000 property damage liability coverage.
If you are really strapped for paying for car insurance, it may be that you just aren’t able to afford the car. Better to have one car with proper insurance measures than two cars with minimum protections. And if you just have the one car and you’re not able to afford more than the state minimum protection, it may be a sign that you should sell the car rather than risk a serious accident that could level you financially. Public transit for a few months until you save enough money for proper insurance is a good strategy to consider. The risks are too large to consider when you are an under-insured driver. So consider selling a car rather than insuring it at a dangerously low level.
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