Every state requires drivers to have a minimum level of insurance coverage or proof of financial responsibility being met. While skipping a routine oil change or other small maintenance task can be an acceptable risk, driving your car without proof of legally required insurance is usually not. Know the consequences of driving without insurance before getting behind the wheel of an uninsured vehicle.
The first, and least serious, consequence of driving without proper insurance is the ticket you will receive if you are caught by the police. Every state imposes different ticket penalties for driving without insurance. The state of Texas, for example, imposes both a ticket fee and an additional license renewal surcharge that extends three years. The first offense results in a fine up to $350, plus a renewal surcharge of $250. Any additional offenses are punished with fines up to $1,000 and the same $250 surcharge per offense for at least three years. These numbers are specific to Texas, but also indicative of how states monetarily penalize driving without the required insurance.
License, Registration or Vehicle Loss
Aside from expensive traffic tickets, there are other legal consequences to driving without insurance. In the event you are caught on the road lacking the required minimum level of liability insurance, you run the risk of having your license or registration suspended, or your car being impounded. As with the fines previously mentioned, the severity and parameters of these consequences varies from state to state. Your license and your car’s registration can be suspended for a length of time and you will need to pay large fines before getting driving privileges returned. Furthermore, your car can be impounded immediately upon violating insurance requirements, as in some states officers are not allowed to let uninsured drivers leave the scene in their uninsured vehicle.
The final, and arguably most serious, consequence of driving without insurance is what would happen if you are involved in an accident that is deemed your fault. Not only will any damage done to the other drivers’ cars be your financial responsibility, you will also need to pay for any lost wages and medical damages. Consider, for a moment, the cost of a totaled vehicle combined with an emergency room bill, plus a week of lost wages and a rental car. Without insurance to cover most, if not all, of those expenses you can find yourself immediately plunged into an overwhelming amount of debt.
Driving without insurance is an irresponsible risk to take, considering the wide range of consequences you could endure as a result. On top of huge financial consequences, you could lose your license and face legal issues by not ensuring your car is properly insured before hitting the road.
*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net