| Auto Insurance Driving Laws
Police officer writing a ticket

You get pulled over by a police officer and aren’t able to show proof of insurance. Maybe you don’t have insurance, or perhaps you just left your insurance card at home. Either way, the officer gives you a ticket! So, how much can you expect to pay in fines? What other consequences might you face? We’re here to explain.

Getting Caught With No Proof of Insurance

As you might expect, the laws — and the consequences — for getting pulled over without proof of auto insurance vary from state to state. Below is a look at what could happen to you in some of the states where Direct Auto offers auto insurance. If your state isn’t listed here, check with your state’s department of insurance or department of motor vehicles.

Florida

In many cases, a ticket for no proof of insurance in Florida will be dismissed if you show proof of insurance to the county clerk and pay a small fine (about $10).

But what if you get caught driving without insurance and you pay the ticket but don’t provide proof? The state will automatically suspend your driver’s license and vehicle registration.

To reinstate your privileges, you must provide evidence of auto insurance that was in effect on the day you got ticketed. Or you must present proof of a non-cancellable SR-22 policy. That policy must be in effect for two years from the suspension date. Also, you must pay a fee of $150, $250, or $500—depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense.

Georgia

If you have insurance in Georgia but didn’t provide proof when you were pulled over, you could get cited for a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $25. Keep in mind that coverage can also be verified through the Georgia Department of Revenue’s registration and insurance database. Many courts will drop the charge if you can show that you had insurance when you received the ticket.

If you didn’t have auto insurance when you got the ticket, you’ll be charged with driving without insurance. Consequences can include a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $1,000, and a loss of driving privileges for anywhere from 60 to 90 days. The state may also cancel or revoke your registration, and driving without registration is a criminal offense!

Illinois

When you get pulled over driving without proof of insurance in Illinois, you can face a fine of $500 to $1,000 and suspension of vehicle registration for up to four months.

If it’s a first-time offense, but you can prove you have insurance, you’ll probably have to pay a $100 fine. However, if you didn’t have proof of insurance and were involved in a wreck that injured someone, you could be sent to jail for 12 months and be hit with a $2,500 fine.

Keep in mind that Illinois randomly sends questionnaires to motorists to make sure they’ve got auto insurance. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State calls this questionnaire a “Mandatory Insurance Verification,” and your signature on it serves as a legally-binding commitment to maintaining a properly-insured vehicle.

If you don’t have insurance in Illinois, the situation gets stickier. You could get a fine of up to $2,000 and have your driver’s license suspended for three months or more. On top of that, the state can charge you reinstatement fees to get your driving privileges back and require that you buy SR-22 insurance, too!

Mississippi

Mississippi requires motorists to keep proof of insurance in their cars at all times. If you’re stopped and have insurance, but do not have proof with you, you can get the ticket dismissed by verifying coverage with the state.

Things get a lot more serious if you don’t have insurance, though. As of April 2018, it’s a criminal misdemeanor to drive without insurance in Mississippi; it used to be a less serious civil violation.

Here are the penalties for driving without insurance in MS:

  • First offense: $478 fine
  • Second offense: $578 fine
  • Third offense: $678 fine

If you don’t buy insurance, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year or until you provide proof of coverage to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (and pay any required reinstatement fees!).

Pennsylvania

If you’re unable to show proof of insurance when you get pulled over in Pennsylvania, you’ll get a citation for driving without insurance.

If convicted, your vehicle registration and driver’s license could be suspended for three months. You could also face a fine of at least $300 for driving without insurance, a $50 fee for reinstating your vehicle registration, and a $50 fee for reinstating your driver’s license.

Tennessee

In 2015, Tennessee tripled the fine for not carrying proof of insurance. The fine increased from $100 to $300. Additionally, uninsured TN drivers may face a misdemeanor charge if you “knowingly” provide false proof of insurance. A conviction on that charge could lead to nearly one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

As of January 2016, police officers in Tennessee can tow your vehicle immediately if you don’t have proof of insurance.

In January 2017, Tennessee authorities gained the ability to track down uninsured drivers through vehicle registrations. If they find out that you’re uninsured, you could face up to $125 in fees and have your vehicle registration suspended or revoked.

Making matters worse, Tennessee no longer allows you to renew your vehicle registration if the electronic verification system indicates your vehicle is uninsured. Renewal can’t happen until you supply proof of insurance and possibly pay reinstatement fees.

Texas

A court may dismiss a Texas ticket for no proof of insurance — at no cost to you — if you can show that you or the vehicle you were driving was covered by an auto liability policy when the ticket was issued.

However, if you’re unable to come up with proof that you were legally insured when you got the ticket, you might be required to pay.

Operating a vehicle without insurance or other evidence of financial responsibility in Texas can result in a fine of $175 to $350. A second offense could lead to a fine of $350 to $1,000, as well as suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration for two years.

Don’t Get Caught Driving Without Insurance

With Direct Auto Insurance, you can get instant proof of insurance today, so you never have to pay a ticket for no proof of insurance. Find a Direct Auto location near you or give us a call to get Direct and get going!

Sources:

  • Florida: https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/the-problem-with-no-proof-of-insurance-citations
  • Georgia: https://dor.georgia.gov/acceptable-proof-insurance
  • Illinois: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/mandatory_insurance.html, https://www.idrivesafely.com/dmv/illinois/insurance/liability-insurance/
  • Mississippi: https://www.obms.us/court-department-faqs/
  • Pennsylvania: https://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DVSPubsForms/BMV/BMV%20Fact%20Sheets/fs-inla.pdf
  • Tennessee: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2015/jul/02/minimum-300-fine-now-effect-uninsured-tenness/312602/, https://www.wrcbtv.com/story/34168371/tougher-penalties-for-uninsured-drivers-in-2017
  • Texas: https://www.houstontx.gov/courts/ticket_dismissal.html, http://www.jp.hctx.net/traffic/insurance.htm

* This blog is designed to give helpful information on the topic discussed. It is not intended to provide legal or any other type of advice and is not meant to be a thorough discussion of every issue that a person should consider or may encounter. We are not responsible or liable for the availability of links to websites or resources, or for any content, advertising, products, services or other materials on or available through these websites or resources or your reliance thereon. Direct Auto insurance is underwritten or administered by members of the Direct General Group, Nashville, TN and is only offered in states where we are licensed to do business. You can find this information on our website: directauto.com. Price may vary depending on how you buy.

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