What happens if you get pulled over without insurance?

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Each state has different minimum requirements for car insurance
  • The penalty for driving without proper insurance also varies by state
  • Saving money on car insurance is not worth the risk of driving without insurance

In hard economic times when people are more budget conscious, they might think that car insurance is something they can cut to save money.

This step could end up costing them a lot more than a monthly insurance premium, as the effects of getting pulled over without car insurance can be expensive.

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Driving without car insurance can be a very expensive mistake, especially if the person is in an accident. Driving without car insurance can also leave the driver more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Consequences for Driving without Car Insurance

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The penalty for driving without car insurance depends on the situation and varies greatly depending on which state the person lives in. Each state has its own individual car insurance requirements and a driver needs to be educated on these rules.

Here are some examples of how different states penalize driving without insurance:

  • Illinois – In the state of Illinois, a person will be charged a fine between $500 and $1,000 for driving without car insurance. After the third offense, the driver will have their driver’s license suspended. Drivers are required to provide proof of car insurance whenever a police officer asks for it.
  • Florida – In the state of Florida, a person that is caught driving without car insurance is not only fined between $150 and $500, they also have their license plate, car registration, and driver’s license suspended for the first offense. Unlike in Illinois, a police officer can only ask for proof of car insurance in the event of a car accident.
  • North Carolina – Driving without car insurance in North Carolina is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means the uninsured driver could spend as much as five years in jail and have to pay a fine up to $15,000. The fine amount is left to the discretion of the courts.

A police officer in North Carolina cannot pull someone over just to ask the driver if they have proof of insurance, but if the driver is pulled over for another reason they have to present the proper documentation if the police officer asks for it.

Since each state’s rules for car insurance are so different from one another, it is important for a driver to remember to look into the different requirements if they plan on moving to another state.

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How the Police Know a Person Does Not Have Car Insurance

Just as each state has its own separate rules for car insurance, each state also has its own way to know if a driver’s car insurance policy is no longer current.

  • Instant technology – In Michigan, the State Patrol can see who has insurance before they even pull someone over. As technology expands, this may become the case in more states.
  • Electronic updates – When a person buys a new car from a car dealership they have to insure the new vehicle before they can leave the dealership with it. In the states that have a computer-based system, this process takes only a small amount of time.
  • Paper mail updatesIf the driver cancels their insurance coverage with one company and the state’s system does not receive an update from a new insurance provider within a certain time frame, the driver will receive a letter saying requiring proof of new insurance coverage within thirty days or their registration could be suspended.

This process takes a bit longer in states that do not have a computer-based system. It could be as much as ninety days before the state knows the driver has lapsed on their car insurance coverage.

Once the state issues a letter informing the driver of this, the driver has 10 to 30 days to get new car insurance coverage.

In these states, the fines for not getting a new insurance policy in the required amount of time are higher since the driver has so much longer to get the new policy.

Why Car Insurance Is Necessary

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Some people might think that car insurance is an unnecessary expense and that the state has no right to require people to purchase it.

In reality, car insurance protects the driver as well as everyone else on the road.

If a person thinks they cannot afford a monthly insurance payment, then they certainly cannot afford to have a car accident. Car repair, medical payments, and in some cases lawsuits, can cost anywhere from $6,000 to more than $1 million.

To protect yourself and your family with the best car insurance rates today enter your ZIP code in the FREE tool at the bottom of this page!

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