What vehicles are exempt from car insurance requirements?

Vehicles exempt from insurance requirements vary by state, although most states don't require insurance for golf carts or snowmobiles. An exemption from car insurance means you can operate the vehicle without an insurance policy.

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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® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Most vehicles need to have some sort of car insurance coverage
  • Your local DMV or Department of Insurance should have a list of vehicles that are exempt from carrying car insurance
  • If you’re caught driving a non-exempt vehicle, you will be fined and/or lose your license

It is difficult to say which vehicles in your state will be exempt from car insurance requirements. In most states, golf carts and mopeds that aren’t designed for road use are exempt from having car insurance.

If you’re required to register your vehicle, then you must have some sort of car insurance coverage. For example, some states don’t require trailers to be registered.

Your state’s Department of Insurance or DMV should have a list of vehicles that are exempt from carrying car insurance. This might include vehicles in storage, boats, mopeds, or snowmobiles.

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Why do the laws on exempt vehicles vary from state to state?

Oftentimes, the state laws vary because of the amount of accidents that have occurred in the past with certain vehicles. For example, Florida car insurance laws are partially based on the fact that the sunshine state sees a lot of boats on trailers on the road.

Another reason might be that your state simply sees the potential for disaster and requires any vehicle that might end up on the road to be insured.

As mentioned above, even if you don’t have insurance, if you cause an auto accident, you are the one responsible for paying for the damages in that accident.

Without insurance, you are placing the burden on other car insurance companies to cover your costs. In addition, you are opening yourself up to potential lawsuits.

Even in a no-fault state, if a lawyer can prove that the accident was caused by your negligence, then you will still have to pay.

What’s more, if you cause an accident that leads to injuries, then the costs can be prohibitive. You don’t want to leave yourself in a situation where you have to figure out how to pay these types of bills.

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Will a car insurance company insure my exempt vehicle?

In most cases, the insurance company will insure virtually any type of vehicle, even if you aren’t required to have it insured in your state.

For example, a boat can be included in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Even if your vehicle can be covered by homeowners insurance, you can typically buy a separate policy as well.

Another option is to have your exempt vehicles covered under an umbrella policy. You will have to check with your insurance company to determine which type of policy is more affordable and more practical for the type of vehicle that you want to drive.

What happens if I think my vehicle is exempt but it isn’t and I drive it anyway?

If the vehicle you have needs to be registered and insured, then it won’t be long before your state catches up with you and starts sending your fines for not having your non-exempt vehicle insured.

If you are driving a vehicle that requires insurance but it doesn’t have to be registered, then you may drive unaware and with no consequences for a while.

However, if you are pulled over by the police, you could face a rather large ticket and even have your driver’s license revoked. In some states, if you drive without insurance, the police have the right to tow your vehicle.

The bottom line is cars that don’t need insurance will not be ones that you take out for a drive. Driving without insurance is never a good idea, even if it isn’t against the law for your specific situation. Protect yourself and others by driving with insurance and checking your state’s car insurance requirements.

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References:

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