September 18th, 2014
Laws requiring auto insurance are enacted at the state level. While a few states have differing minimal requirements, the majority mandate that all drivers at least have liability insurance. This protects others in the event of an accident.
Not having insurance will not only negatively affect your finances, but others' finances as well. Expenses related to car wrecks that aren't covered force insurance companies to increase rates on everyone to make up for your risk. If you are caught without insurance, you will be penalized in a variety of ways depending on the severity on the initial incident.
Here are six penalties that you might face if you drive without insurance:
Damaged driving record
A clean driving record is important because it affects insurance rates and the legality of your driving status. If you are pulled over and can't show proof of insurance, then it will show up on your driving record. Many states use a point system to monitor automotive offenses.
Typically, you have to have an SR-22 document that proves you can meet your state's minimum insurance requirements. An SR-22 is issued to drivers who are caught without insurance and usually lasts three years. By having an SR-22, you are essentially informing others that you are now able to pay for insurance.
Higher premiums later on
Once you have an SR-22, then insurance companies will know that you have previously driven without insurance. This would make you a high-risk customer to insure, meaning your monthly premiums are more likely going to be higher. Since your driving record is permanent, when you finally do attain car insurance, your record will reflect poorly on you. That's why it is best to have car insurance for the entirety of your driving time, rather than wait until after you have been caught without it.
Your license can be suspended for a certain amount of time depending on state requirements. After repeat offenses, you can have your license permanently taken away. This will greatly affect your personal and professional life, as you will no longer be legally allowed on the roads. Licenses can be reinstated at the discretion of a judge.
You will likely pay a lot of money in fines if you get pulled over without insurance. If you are in an accident, then you will have to pay the expenses incurred out of your own pocket. You will also have to pay fines associated with the accident itself. Driving without insurance raises rates for those who do have insurance, so the law tries to mandate everyone to have insurance. Subsequent failures to show proof of insurance can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
In the event of a serious accident, then jail time might be mandated by a judge. Injuring others while not having insurance is a serious offense that will not be dealt with lightly. Even your first offense can result in jail time, although this is less common.
To avoid these penalties, CoverHound provides insurance quotes for drivers around the nation.