What happens if I don’t have car insurance?

What happens if you don't have car insurance depends on your state, but you'll likely risk facing severe consequences. You could be risking hefty fines, jail time, and paying for damages out of pocket.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 28, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Car insurance or financial proof of responsibility is a mandatory requirement in every state
  • If you choose not to purchase car insurance, you will risk facing severe consequences
  • Car insurance does not have to be expensive — know the ways to save money on your policy

What happens when you get caught driving without insurance? There are several consequences to not having car insurance. If your car does not have car insurance, you can find yourself paying for damages out of pocket.

You also risk having your license revoked, spending time in jail, and paying hefty fines.

Car insurance provides financial peace of mind as well as protection.

You can find cheap car insurance by using the free quote finder on the top of this page. Just enter your zip code for free online quotes!

The Financial Cost of Not Having Collision and Comprehensive


Collision and comprehensive car insurance are not required by state law, and there are instances when not having this kind of car insurance is worth the risk.

However, there is an equal if not greater risk of financial loss if you do not have collision or comprehensive car insurance.

  • Collision insurance – pays for damages to your own car if you hit another vehicle
  • Comprehensive insurance – pays for damages that happen to your car not related to accidents or collision

Although collision and comprehensive are usually sold together, they can be purchased independently.

Most people decide to buy this type of insurance coverage based on the age and condition of their car.

If you do not have either type of these coverages, then you will be responsible for paying for all damages to your car out of pocket.

The only exception to this is if you are the victim of an accident, and the party that hits you has appropriate liability coverage.

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The Financial Cost of Not Having Liability Car Insurance

What happens when you get into an accident without insurance? The financial cost of not having liability car insurance could be life-shattering.

Liability car insurance provides you with insurance coverage in the event you are at fault for a car accident.

If you have liability insurance and you hit another car, a pedestrian, someone’s property, or any combination thereof, then your policy will pay bodily injury and property damages to the other parties per your policy limitations.

If you hit another car and you are found at fault for the accident, then your liability insurance will pay for the victim’s injuries or death and any property damage as well.

However, if any of the expenses exceed your insurance liability coverage, then you will be responsible for paying the difference.

If you do not have liability car insurance, then you are financially responsible for paying for all of the bodily injury/death expenses as well as any property damage expenses out of your own pocket.

You could potentially lose all of your assets, including your home if you were to lose a lawsuit in a court of law.

The Legal Cost of Not Having Car Insurance


You are legally required to have either liability car insurance or proof of financial responsibility.

If you do not have liability insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements then you are breaking the law and could be subject to disciplinary action.

Not having car insurance that meets the state’s mandate could result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, fines, or even jail time.

The punishment differs by state, but most states take car insurance very seriously.

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