December 11th, 2017
Simply put, uninsured drivers cost everyone on the road more money. In accidents, they typically walk away, while the uninsured motorist clause of the injured party's policy covers repairs and medical costs. However, in states where motorists are allowed to drive without insurance, coverage is more expensive because the risk is greater. Now mandatory coverage seems to be gathering momentum, as some states are cracking down on uninsured driving.
No matter your state's requirements, it's important to compare auto insurance quotes and protect yourself before you sustain an accident.
Penalties Are Tough
Some states are moving to eradicate this issue. New car insurance laws came into effect in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee in 2017.
Alabama starts with a $200 fine for the first offense. The penalty jumps to $300 for the second offense, then $400 for each subsequent offense. If fines aren't paid within 45 days, driver's licenses are suspended for 90 days. There is an additional fine of $100 to get a license reinstated at the end of the 90-day period.
Beginning September 1st, 2017, Mississippi authorities enacted the use of a statewide electronic insurance verification program. This allows law enforcement officials to instantly check for insurance coverage against a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Drivers can face fines up to $500 and have their licenses suspended for up to one year.
An automated system has also been implemented in Tennessee. It has the capability of checking insurance coverage against registration certificates to confirm coverage. The statewide electronic insurance verification system automatically "pings" Tennessee drivers' vehicle registrations for proof of insurance. Offenders vehicles can be towed. The minimum fine is $300 dollars. Additionally, driving without insurance is now a Class C misdemeanor in the state. This could net an uninsured driver 30 days in jail!
The state of Oklahoma's license plate scanner system will function similarly to red light cameras around the country. Automated readers compare plates to a database provided by the Oklahoma Insurance Department. When they detect an uninsured vehicle, its owner gets a $184 citation in the mail. Those who pay the fee will avoid having a charge of driving without insurance on their permanent record. Vehicle owners who receive inaccurate citations can avoid payment by showing they were insured at the time they were scanned. In 2015, Oklahoma had the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation: 26 percent.
Minimum Required Coverage
In most cases, drivers only need the bare minimum coverage to be in compliance with the law. While this varies from state to state, it's typically the most affordable form of auto insurance. Drivers who wish to be more thoroughly indemnified should opt for comprehensive and collision coverage, which covers repairs.
Ultimately, driving without insurance puts everyone on the road at risk. Causing a fatal accident without insurance will bankrupt most people. Mandatory coverage is getting closer to being universal, as states continue cracking down on uninsured drivers.
Save yourself some trouble with the law; compare auto insurance quotes with CoverHound today for free. Find an ideal policy at a rate you can afford.