Every state requires its drivers to be financially responsible in the event that they cause bodily injury or property damage in an automobile accident. Car insurance exists to meet this financial obligation.
Even with this requirement, 13% of U.S. motorists were uninsured in 2015, according to the Insurance Research Council. Is going without car insurance worth the risk? If you get caught driving without insurance, you could be up against some pretty serious consequences.
Here are five things that can happen if you drive without car insurance.
1. You could get fined.
If you drive without car insurance, you could face pricey penalties. Fines vary from state to state and can run anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars.
2. Your license could be suspended.
Driving without insurance could result in a suspended driver’s license, vehicle registration, and/or license plates. In these situations, a license suspension is almost always accompanied by a substantial fine. Plus, you’ll likely have to file an SR-22, which is a certificate of financial responsibility that proves that you carry enough liability coverage on your car insurance policy.
3. Your car could get towed.
If you’re caught driving without car insurance, it’s up to the police officer’s discretion whether or not to tow and impound your vehicle. Car insurance is legally required, so it’s well within a police officer’s rights to have your vehicle towed. So, in addition to paying a hefty penalty, you could also have to pay impound fees.
4. You could get caught even if you’re not driving.
You don’t have to be driving your car to face the penalties of driving without insurance. Many states electronically monitor whether registered vehicles have valid insurance policies. That means you could still face a fine if your car is registered, but uninsured — even if it’s parked in your driveway!
5. It could wreak havoc on your finances.
The average cost of an uninsured motorist claim is approximately $20,000, according to the Insurance Research Council. Being involved in an at-fault accident where you don’t have insurance could have potentially devastating financial consequences.
If you don’t have insurance, you will likely be sued by the other driver for damages. This could range from several hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of accident.
Driving without insurance can still have negative consequences even if you’re involved in an accident where you’re not the at-fault driver. Many states abide by a “no pay, no play” law, meaning they limit the compensation drivers can receive after a not-at-fault accident. Louisiana is the only state that completely restricts an uninsured driver’s right to seek compensation after an accident, regardless of fault.
Determining fault after an accident can be difficult, which is why it’s so helpful to have an insurance company on your side. A claims representative can speak to the other insurance provider on your behalf and help you get the funds to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Without car insurance, you’re on your own after an accident.
Is Driving Without Car Insurance Worth the Risk?
The consequences of driving without car insurance are much more expensive than the cost of a car insurance policy. Are you worried about paying too much for car insurance? Car insurance is more affordable than you may realize, and Direct Auto can help. For a free auto insurance quote or to learn more about our affordable coverage options, call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732), click, or come into a Direct location near you.