What happens if you don’t have car insurance


Let’s say, you want to save some cash and decide to skip the expense of car insurance. Sounds like a plan, right? With the extra money, maybe you can treat yourself to that PS5 you want. Unfortunately skipping insurance happens more often than we feel comfortable with – and not because we’re an insurance company. The costs of being uninsured, both financial and personal, are much too high to make saving a few dollars worth the risk.

12.6 percent of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, were uninsured, according to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). Among uninsured adults aged 18–64, The most common reason given for being uninsured is money. 

What happens if you drive without car insurance?

While you can technically drive your car without insurance, it’s not recommended. In most states it is illegal and an active car insurance policy is required. Depending on where you get pulled over, if you’re caught driving without insurance, you could face some stiff penalties including, expensive tickets, and license suspension. Also, the costs of property damage and bodily injury (like medical bills) can become unaffordable without the backing of an insurance company. 

The average auto liability claim for property damage is almost $4,000 and the average auto liability claim for bodily injury is about $15,000. In many cases, the victim of a car accident can sue the at-fault driver for millions. 

Where can I drive without insurance?

There are two states where it’s legal to drive without insurance –  New Hampshire and Virginia. To be self-insured, you must deposit funds or post a bond, equal to the state’s individual liability limits, with the state’s treasury. This amount is typically in the tens of thousands of dollars and, as such, not a viable option for most people. However, even these states can require drivers to get car insurance if they  have caused accidents in the past, or were convicted of something serious, like a DUI or hit-and-run.

According to Va. Code § 46.2-706, if you do not purchase auto insurance, you are required to pay an uninsured motorist fee of $500.00 per year.


How much are the fines for driving without insurance?

The question everyone want’s to know the answer to. Except for New Hampshire and Virginia, every state trooper or police officer will ticket you for driving without insurance (if you get caught). The financial penalties range from $25 in Tennessee, to $5,000 in Massachusetts.

Alabama $500-$1,000
Alaska $500
Arizona $500-$1,000
Arkansas $50-$250
California $100-$200
Colorado $500
Connecticut $100-$1,000
Delaware $1,500-$3,000
Florida $150-$500
Georgia $25-$185
Hawaii $500-$5,000
Idaho $75-$1,000
Illinois $500-$1,000
Indiana $250-$1,000
Iowa $250
Kansas $300-$2,500
Kentucky $500-$1,000
Louisiana $500-$1,000
Maine $100-$500
Maryland $1,000-$2,500
Massachusetts $500-$5,000
Michigan $200-$500
Minnesota $200-$3,000
Mississippi $1,000
Missouri $500
Montana $250-$500
Nebraska $50
Nevada $250-$1,000
New Jersey $300-$5,000
New Mexico $300-$1,000
New York $150-$1,500
North Carolina $50-$150
North Dakota $150-$5,000
Ohio $160-$660
Oklahoma $250
Oregon $130-$1,000
Pennsylvania $300
Rhode Island $100-$1,000
South Carolina $100-$550
South Dakota $100-$500
Tennessee $25-$300
Texas $175-$1,000
Utah $400-$1,000
Vermont $0-$500
Virginia $500
Washington $550-$1,000
West Virginia $200-$5,000
Wisconsin $510
Wyoming $250-$1,500


If you get caught driving without insurance, don’t worry, you won’t be going to jail. You will only have to deal with minor penalties, like fines, an impounded vehicle, or license suspension. However, if you do not have insurance and involved in an accident, things get a little more serious. 


At-fault, no-fault, whose fault?

In an at-fault accident without insurance, you will probably be sued by the other driver’s insurance company for bodily injury, property damage, or both. Depending on the severity of the incident, payouts can range from thousands of dollars, to hundreds of thousands, or more. Also, many states have increased legal penalties for drivers who cause injury to others while uninsured. 

Some states have no-fault laws, which means that it doesn’t matter who caused the accident, each driver must file insurance claims with their own insurance company. 

When you are uninsured and not-at-fault, it depends on the situation and where you are. Some states have a  “no pay, no play” law, which puts a cap on the amount of compensation you get after a not-at-fault accident – except in the Louisiana where you’ll get no compensation after an accident if you’re uninsured, at-fault or not. They do not play in Lousiana.

Fault can sometimes be  difficult to determine, so having an insurance company on your side is the best way to protect yourself. They know the ins-and-outs of the industry and will speak to the other insurance company on your behalf to work out the best outcome possible. 

Without insurance, you are on your own.