Driving without Insurance
Almost every state in the U.S. requires some form of car insurance or has laws covering financial responsibility. Although each state has its own penalties for driving without insurance, the consequences are generally severe.
Driving Without Insurance Risks
The legal penalties for driving without insurance are just the tip of the iceberg. If you cause an automobile accident with injuries and/or damage to someone else's vehicle and you do not have car insurance, you are personally responsible for paying all the medical expenses and repair costs caused by the accident. If you do not have the money to pay for the injuries to the other person, that person can sue you for damages. Depending on which state you live in, the courts could seize your assets and even future earnings to cover the amount you owe.
Driving Without Insurance Legal Consequences
Each state has its own laws with specific punishments for driving without insurance. In some states, if you're caught driving without insurance, your driver's license AND vehicle registration could be suspended. Along with the suspensions, the state could impound your car, and the courts could order that you pay thousands of dollars in fines.
Other Legal and Financial Consequences
At a minimum, you will receive a ticket by law enforcement with a steep fine attached to it if you do not have proof of car insurance. The fines for a first offense can range from $500 to $2,500 depending on your state.
In some instances, a state will require that you obtain an SR-22, which is non-owners insurance, AND provide proof of a current auto insurance policy. Some states will dismiss your ticket if you can provide the courts with proof of insurance. However, the insurance must have been valid during the time of the traffic stop. You CANNOT buy an insurance policy after receiving a ticket and expect the courts to dismiss your citation.
If you need insurance for your car and are on a limited budget, you should, at a minimum, buy a liability insurance policy. The Insurance Information Institute recommends $100,000 worth of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident. If you financed your car, your lender may require that you carry full coverage car insurance as part of the terms of the financing.