How Having No Insurance Could Ruin Your Life
For months, nothing happens. Life behind the wheel these days is pretty boring, and a trip to run errands feels like an adventure. But today, something will derail your Indiana Jones-like quest for Doritos – a squirrel.
You see the fluffy little guy at the last second and manage to swerve around him, saving his life, but what you missed was the stop sign. You sail right through that, and into the intersection.
Your brakes squeal and you stomp on them as hard as you can, as if the extra force you apply will somehow transfer to the tires and help stop them. You know it’s too late. You already knew that before you touched the brake pedal.
The sound of an accident is unmistakable. Squeal. Crash. Luckily, nobody died but there were injuries. Not you, though. You’re fine. Shaken up, but physically unhurt. The airbag did it’s job. The passenger in the car you hit, however, has a broken leg and suffered a head injury when the side of their cranium bounced off the window during impact.
After the expletives, one of your first coherent thoughts is,
“Oh, my God. I don’t have insurance.”
Here’s what you’re in for:
You’ll face penalties for driving while uninsured, and be financially responsible for any damage and injuries you cause. You could also be sued by the other driver, which is pretty likely, and you’d have to pay all your legal fees on your own. The cost of legal representation and damages could range from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands, or more.
”Wage garnishment is a legal procedure in which a person’s earnings are required by court order to be withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt…”
If you don’t have the money to pay, the courts may force payment through wage garnishment, which means any money you owe to the other driver would come directly out of your paycheck.
States With No Fault Insurance
Not all states have the same insurance laws, and there are 12 no-fault states, where drivers must get compensation for damage and injuries from their own insurance company, no matter who was at fault in a car accident. These states include: including Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah. The US territory, Puerto Rico, also has no-fault laws.
Under no-fault laws, motorists can still sue for injuries and for pain and suffering, but only if the case meets certain conditions, or thresholds, that relate to the severity of injury. Even if your case does not meet the threshold and you do not owe money for any damage or injuries you caused, you may still face legal consequences for driving without insurance.
Penalties For Getting Caught Without Insurance
Accident or not, there are a wide range of consequences if you’re caught driving without insurance. For example, first-time offenders in Iowa face a fine of $250, but can do Community Service in lieu of fine. In Kansas, the fine ranges from $300-$1,000, or confinement in the county jail for a term of not more than 6 months, or both fine and jail.
While punishments for a first offence vary across the US, in most states you’ll receive a license suspension for at least 30 days. Some other penalties include:
- Community service
- Vehicle impoundment
- SR-22 requirement
- Retaking and successful completion of driver’s exam
Repeat offenders will incur higher fines and stiffer punishments, including jail.
To avoid the hundreds of thousands in fines and penalties, all you have to do is meet your state’s minimum required level of financial responsibility, which is usually around $50,000 of liability coverage. Personal injury protection (PIP) or collision and comprehensive insurance, may not be required by your state but, if you can afford them, they can offer you some vital protection.
If you have questions about personal liability or comprehensive insurance, contact us at Click Insurance. We’re here to help.