Whether you own a car, a home, or other valuable possessions, you always want to protect what is yours; this includes protecting your body and your health. It’s easy to think of insurance as an expense, which it is. However, the consequences of being uninsured carry more risks than you can imagine.
Most states have made it illegal to drive without car insurance, and they have imposed penalties, which include fines and revoking driving privileges for anyone that gets caught. In more serious cases, an uninsured driver who causes a major accident can even face jail time, along with other penalties.
Even without getting a citation for being uninsured, if you’re at fault in an accident, you are responsible for paying damages and medical expenses for the other driver. Insurance protects you against the financial burden of accidents.
Still not convinced that car insurance is a worthy expense? Let’s consider the following consequences.
Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
Consider yourself lucky if you get nothing more than a verbal warning the first time you get caught. Most states have penalties for first offenses and repeat violations for driving uninsured. The punishments increase for multiple offenses. They include:
- Fines ranging from $150 to $1500. The exact amount varies by state.
- Your driving privilege can be suspended, including vehicle registration and license suspensions.
- For additional punishments, your vehicle can be impounded.
You must carry proof of insurance with you at all times, which can include a copy of your policy, an insurance card, or a copy of your declarations page.
What Happens If You Get Into An Accident Without Insurance?
From repair costs to medical bills, major accidents can cost thousands of dollars. Most of us don’t have an emergency fund that’s large enough to cover the total cost of an accident. Even if you’re involved in a car accident that is not your fault, you can still find yourself paying out of pocket for things you wouldn’t if you had insurance.
The following penalties can be imposed on uninsured drivers who cause accidents.
- Fines ranging from $150 to $1000
- Mandatory one-year suspension of your driving privileges and you can only reinstate your license after maintaining a clear record for 3 years.
- Suspension of your vehicle registration and license for 2 years or more
- Your vehicle may be impounded
- If found guilty, the uninsured driver is100% liable for the other driver’s medical bills and vehicle expenses.
What Should a Car Insurance Policy Cover?
Most states have mandatory liability insurance limits that drivers are required to carry as long as they drive and own their vehicles.
General insurance guidelines generally include the following:
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- Personal Injury Protection
- Medical Payments Coverage
- Property Protection Coverage
Apart from these, there are additional options such as collision and comprehensive coverages that are not mandatory but can be very convenient for other purposes. Some of these uses can include having your own vehicle repaired for solo losses, such as a tree branch falling on your windshield, or getting a rental car while your car is in the body shop.
How Can You Avoid Facing Unintended Penalties?
Life is very unpredictable, and you can’t predict what will happen next. Insurance protects you and everyone else against uncertainty. It’s not just about protecting what you have, but it’s also about the safety and well-being of other members of society. For this reason, whether you agree with them or not, governments have enacted laws to encourage drivers to carry insurance policies.
When you drive, always keep the following documents with you:
- Vehicle registration documents
- Proof of insurance in any form
- Driving License
Also, it’s extremely easy to forget about updating these documents. You stuff your car registration and insurance cards in your wallet or glove compartment but never replace expired versions with new ones. Remember to update your document regularly.
Find The Best Auto Insurance
To save money, some drivers don’t buy auto insurance. They may feel that the reward of saving money outweighs the risks. The problem with this logic is that there is no way to calculate the risk of driving uninsured. This makes sense if all you get is a verbal warning from a police officer, but there is no way to predict whether the next event will be a simple warning or a significant accident with injuries.
This post is not meant to endorse a specific company for buying insurance. They have plenty of advertising they do to get drivers to buy their policies from them. Regardless of which company you choose, do your due diligence to shop around for a policy that meets the minimum liability limits of the law, your needs, and your budget.
Insurance policies come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many affordable coverage options, even for high-risk drivers and those who have less than perfect driving records. Even for a small monthly premium of $20/month, you can get coverage for up to $20,000 or more. Think about that for a moment; the cost of your daily cup of coffee can save you from thousands of dollars for an unforeseen event. Plus, you get the peace of mind that you’re not breaking any laws every time you get behind the wheel.