In all states throughout the United States, it is mandatory to have car insurance if you own a vehicle. Driving without insurance can have a number of ramifications if you are involved in an accident or even if you are simply caught by a police officer driving while uninsured. Even if you consider yourself the safest driver possible, it is the law to have insurance. There are a number of risks you face if you get behind the wheel and have no car insurance.
Mandatory Car Insurance Laws
All states in the country have laws that require drivers to take financial responsibility when they have been involved in a car accident. In fault states, the driver who is found to be at fault for an accident is solely responsible for compensating another driver for any damages they have caused. In no-fault states, all drivers are responsible for covering the costs of the damage to their cars regardless of who was at fault. In some cases, there may also be shared fault, in which one driver may be found partially responsible for an accident and the compensation they receive as a settlement is reduced by the percentage they are found to be at fault.
Overall, there are rules pertaining to how much car insurance you are required to purchase depending on your state. You are also required to provide proof of your insurance when you set out to register a car. Likewise, if you are pulled over by a police officer, you must show provide them with your insurance information if they request it, even if you have not been in an accident. Insurance information can be presented in the form of papers or via your smartphone through your insurer’s app.
When you don’t have insurance, however, you face a number of serious consequences.
What Happens if Your Car is Stolen?
If you do not have auto insurance and your car is stolen, you are in trouble. Without insurance, your vehicle is not covered, so you cannot be reimbursed for the loss. You will have to do other things on your own, including the following:
- Ensure the vehicle has truly been stolen. Make sure you haven’t just forgotten where you parked it or if a family member or friend might have borrowed your car.
- Call the police if you are absolutely sure your car has been stolen. You can file a police report and give details of the make and model as well as the location where it was last parked. Obtain a copy of the police report for your own records.
- Report the car as stolen with the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV.
- Search for the car yourself. The police will also search for your vehicle. Unfortunately, in some cases, when a car is stolen, it may be sold to another person, often in another city or even a different state.
These methods can be challenging if your car has been stolen and you have no auto insurance. However, if you end up in this situation, you’ll have to use your personal savings to buy another car. If you don’t have enough saved to cover the costs of the new car, you can apply for an auto loan (which will require you purchase insurance) or borrow from a family member. Remember—insurance is a must with this purchase!
Should you find that your money is tied up in legal costs as you pursue justice against the auto thief in court, and you subsequently run into an unexpected emergency expense, you can consider online loans to help cover the bills and put the instance behind you.
Getting a Ticket
One of the first issues you can face if you are caught driving without insurance is a fine. Depending on your state, you can receive a fine anywhere from as little as $0 to $500, as is the case in Vermont, to as high as $500 to $5,000, which can occur in Massachusetts.
In addition to fines, which come as a result of getting ticketed, you will also be responsible for paying additional fees if you do not have proof of insurance when pulled over by a law enforcement officer.
At the same time, it’s also important to note that not having car insurance and not being able to provide proof of insurance are two separate issues. However, if you do not have insurance at all, the penalties are more severe. If you merely don’t have proof of insurance on your person after being pulled over by a police officer but are able to provide proof within a specific amount of time later, the penalties are lessened.
What Happens if Your Car Sustains Damages After an Accident?
Not having insurance on your vehicle and then getting into an accident can be disastrous. If you hit another driver and they lack uninsured motorist coverage, you can be sued for the repairs to their vehicle as well as for medical expenses if the other person is injured. This can run into the thousands of dollars range. If your car is damaged, you will have to pay for repairs out of your own pocket.