What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Utah?

Driving without car insurance in UT carries multiple penalties, including fines above $1,000, license suspension, and three years of SR-22 insurance requirements.

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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: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Car insurance in Utah follows many of the laws other states do
  • Utah operates under a modified no-fault law where drivers are required to carry liability and no-fault coverage
  • Utah’s system is unique in that injured parties can only file a claim after the $3000 threshold is exceeded
  • Auto insurance coverage is mandatory when you are a resident of Utah or you drive in Utah for 90 days out of the year
  • To verify that you’re insured at all times, you must carry a valid proof of insurance identification card with you
  • Driving without insurance in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor and you’ll be fined at least $400 for your first offense

In the state of Utah, there are more than 2.1 million registered vehicles that are owned by a population of 1.7 million drivers. Out of all of these vehicles, 5.8 percent of them are uninsured at any given time.

While the rate of uninsured motorists is low in Utah, when you crunch the numbers you discover that there are still 121,800 cars driving around Utah highways without any type of coverage. That’s a scary thought.

Auto insurance is required in the state of Utah. If you don’t carry auto insurance, you’re in violation of the state’s mandatory financial responsibility laws.

Not only does that mean that you’re putting others at risk each time that you drive, you’re putting your entire driving privilege at risk by failing to keep your insurance active.

The only way that you can avoid ever landing in hot water with the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles or traffic court is by keeping your coverage continuously active. Just one lapse of coverage could earn you the title of an uninsured motorist.

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Once you earn the title, you’ll have to work to pay off fines and serve the penalty period assessed by the judge. Here are some of the penalties you may face:

Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance in Utah

The Frontier State is ranked 48th on the list of states with a high rate of uninsured motorists. That’s a great number. What you don’t know is that Utah didn’t become one of the states with the lowest rate of uninsured drivers overnight.

It took a lot of work for Utah officials to write the vehicle code, establish the minimum insurance requirements, and create a procedure to monitor compliance. Compared to the rates in other states, it’s clear that the procedure and the vehicle code is working.

Out of all of the drivers in the state, just under six percent own a registered car that isn’t legal.

Unfortunately, no matter where you go, you’ll always find drivers who try to cut corners. Letting insurance policies lapse for days or weeks at a time can be an expensive mistake in the state of Utah.

Uninsured motorists will be penalized by either the traffic court or by the DMV for being uninsured. The penalties are as follows:

First Offense

If you’re worried about having to go to court, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Utah’s tough ‘no insurance’ penalties. After dealing with the penalties when you’re cited the first time ever, you’ll never want to violate the law again.

Here’s what you can expect to happen when you’re convicted of driving without insurance:

  • A fine of at least $400
  • Suspension of your registration until you can demonstrate that you have activated liability and no-fault insurance
  • Mandatory $100 reinstatement fee to reactivate your license and your registration
  • Suspension of your driver’s license until you file an SR-22 (filing must stay active for three years or the license will be suspended again)

Second Offense

The penalties only get worse when you make the same mistake multiple times.

Going a few days without insurance can be seen as an innocent oversight the first time around, but the second time around you’ll have to pay even more money because you’ll be labeled as a habitual offender. Penalties for the second offense include:

  • A fine of at least $1000 if the second offense is within three years
  • Suspension of your registration until your coverage is verified electronically
  • Reinstatement fee of $100 to reinstate your license and your registration
  • Suspension of your driver’s license until you file an SR-22 (3-year requirement)
  • Vehicle impound if stopped without auto insurance
  • Requirement to pay impound fee

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How do you prove that you have car insurance in Utah?

It’s very hard to own a vehicle that’s uninsured in Utah and get away with it. Like many states, the DMV in Utah has adopted an electronic verification system that skims a database of insurance information to see if a car is insured.

This system is called Insure-Rite. Because officers have access to the system in their vehicles, they can tell pretty quickly whether or not you have insurance.

Even though Insure-Rite helps to pin people for failing to comply with the law, carrying proof of insurance in your vehicle is still the law.

If you fail to present proof of insurance on your car when it’s requested, that’s a separate violation.

You can either give the officer a paper proof of insurance ID card, or you can show digital proof of insurance. Utah is one of the 30 states that have e-card laws.

How to Buy Car Insurance in Utah

Utah operates under a no-fault system. This means that anyone injured in an auto accident must file a claim under their own policy to pay for injuries before they can file a claim against third-party coverage.

By law, you have to carry $3000 in Personal Injury Protection. In addition to the no-fault coverage, you also have to have $25,000/$65,000/$15,000 in liability. All other coverage is considered optional.

It’s best to carry higher no-fault limits and liability limits to protect yourself adequately. Compared to other states, premiums in Utah are quite affordable coming in at an average of $766 per year

If you’d like to see how much it will cost you to carry sufficient coverage, it’s time to compare rates. Use our online quoting tool to get personal quotes in minutes and you don’t have to pay the price for being uninsured. Enter your zip code below to get started.

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