Have you ever shrugged off car insurance because you thought you didn’t need it or because it was too expensive?
Well, you may be included in the estimated 13 percent of motorists who drive without insurance.
That number is dangerously high, and state courts are starting to take notice. So, picture yourself in the moment when you’re finally caught. If you were thinking about driving your car without insuring it first, think again. The risk is too high.
Read on to find out the penalty for driving without insurance.
Fines are basic penalties for this offense and they vary from state to state.
Many states have steep consequences even if driving without car insurance is your first offense. For instance, Delaware has a minimum fine of $1,500 and this can even increase to $3000 if you repeat your mistakes within a three year period.
In some states, you could be charged with a misdemeanor if you own an uninsured vehicle.
This is true for Connecticut law, where you can be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor. This means you face another $500 on top of the original fine, which can range from $100 to $1,000.
2. License and Registration Suspension
Almost all states mandate suspensions for either your driver’s license, vehicle registration, or both when you drive without insurance.
Similar to the way fines are determined, suspensions vary from state to state. If you’re caught driving without insurance in California and you get in an accident, your license can be suspended for four years.
Other states may be more lenient and mandate a 90-day suspension. Ultimately, you won’t be able to drive for an extended period of time.
Keep in mind that getting your license or registration restored isn’t always that simple, even after the suspension period ends.
You’ll need to pay to get your license reinstated, and the fee is typically under $100 in many states. However, some states like Massachusetts have fees in the 100s or 1000s, depending on the circumstances of your offense.
3. Coverage Increases With Future Insurance
You may need to show proof of insurance to get your license reinstated, which means you’ll be forced to get insurance during your suspension period.
Did you know that an estimated 14.1% of drivers in Texas don’t have insurance? This means that if these drivers are caught without it, their coverage rates will skyrocket if they attempt to get insurance later on.
If you thought car insurance was too pricey now, the rates can be comparatively extreme later when insurance companies discover that you drove without it.
You’re considered a “high-risk driver” when you drive without car insurance. This means you’re more prone to accidents or driving offenses, so you’ll be charged more to cover those expenses.
4. Jail Time
Yes, you can serve time after driving without car insurance.
Some sentences are less involved and require community service while others require offenders to serve actual time in jail.
Colorado law, for instance, requires offenders to perform 40 hours of community service. Georgia is much more extreme and threatens offenders with 1 year in jail in addition to getting your license and registration revoked.
The Penalty for Driving Without Insurance: A Risk You Should Avoid
You may think car insurance is expensive, but driving without it can collect hefty costs that you could’ve never anticipated.
If you didn’t already know the penalty for driving without insurance, now you do and you can avoid them. Take action and get insured.
To learn more about how you can drive safely and in style, check out more of our articles!