Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance

The penalties for driving without car insurance depend on your state, but may include criminal charges, license suspension, and fines up to $1,000 per offense.

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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: Jun 22, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Every state has laws and requirements about driving with car insurance
  • Driving without valid car insurance can bring a variety of penalties
  • You may even lose your license if you risk driving without car insurance

There are penalties for not having car insurance.

In addition, you must disclose the auto insurance coverage you have when requested by a police officer, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or any other official entity.

Driving without valid insurance is against the law, and the penalties vary based on the individual, the driving record, and what other driving violations they have had in the past.

The length of time without car insurance can also impact the penalty for driving without car insurance.

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Are there certain penalties for not having proof of insurance?

If you are currently insured with a valid insurance company and simply do not have an insurance card in your vehicle to present to authorities, you might receive a citation for not having proof of insurance.

In most cases, a police officer or the Department of Motor Vehicles can determine whether or not you are insured through computer records.

There are certain states that have implemented an auto insurance verification system where authorities can look up if your policy is in force.

Although you should always carry proof of insurance, some police officers may be willing to forgo writing a ticket if there is valid proof that you have insurance.

However, if you are pulled over by a police officer and you do not have proof of insurance, you must still submit paper proof to the Department of Motor Vehicles within a certain amount of time.

If you fail to do so, the penalties can include either the full suspension of your vehicle registration or even the suspension of your driver’s license.

If you are ever ticketed for lack of proof of insurance, be sure to get a copy of your valid insurance policy showing that you were covered at the time of the violation as soon as possible.

As far as fines are concerned, if you fail to submit proof that you have insurance the fine will most likely be rather small.

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What are the exact penalties for not having car insurance?

If you are driving without valid car insurance, you are driving a vehicle that is a large financial liability.

Fines for driving without car insurance pale in comparison to the costs associated with an accident when there is no auto insurance policy in force.

Penalties for knowingly driving without car insurance can be severe, including such charges as reckless negligence if you hurt another person in an accident.

Examples of the most common penalties issued by the DMV for driving without auto insurance can include:

  • Major fines
  • Suspended license
  • Loss of the ability to register a car
  • Criminal charges
  • Eventual arrest and possible conviction

Any person driving a car and convicted of not carrying insurance can be fined anywhere from $100 to more than $1000.

If you do not have insurance, your car is not considered legally registered.

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Will I lose my license if I’m caught driving without car insurance?

Certain states will also automatically suspend your driver’s license if you are driving without insurance.

If your license is suspended, you cannot drive and your car will no longer be registered, making getting car insurance more expensive.

Depending on your individual situation and state you live in, you can be arrested and charged as a criminal for not having valid auto insurance while driving.

In addition, driving without auto insurance exposes all of your personal assets. If you do not have insurance to cover damages or injuries in an accident, your personal property might be at risk.

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