What Happens if I Get Caught with No Auto Insurance
Holding valid auto insurance is one of the most fundamental requirements for driving in most parts of the United States. Insurance is meant to protect you and the other drivers on the road. Penalties are in place to punish drivers with no insurance. The penalties do vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next. Here are the most common penalties for driving without car insurance.
A Police Ticket
If you are caught driving without insurance, then you will be issued a traffic ticket. You will have to pay a certain amount of money to resolve the ticket. You might be required to show up in court or another official hearing. Tickets affect your driving record and come with a monetary fine.
Inability to Continue To Your Destination
Some police officers are very strict about driving without insurance especially if you have other traffic violations on your record. Certain officers will actually force you to stop driving after realizing that you have no active auto insurance. This can leave you stranded far from home. Your car might be towed later if left in a lot meaning you have to stop everything and take care of situation instead of continuing to your destination.
Something that is becoming increasingly common in certain areas is the practice of suspending your license when caught driving without insurance. This is meant as a harsh deterrent to prevent people from skirting the law. There are legal processes to prevent this or minimize the suspension. A suspension could last for anywhere from 30 days to a few months depending on the circumstances.
Vehicle Registration Suspension
Another possible outcome is that the vehicle registration will be suspended. This means that you will not be able to legally drive the vehicle until you can resolve everything and show proof of car insurance. This does not stop you from driving another vehicle that might actually be covered under an auto insurance policy.
There is a chance that you might have to appear before a judge if you were caught driving with no coverage. The judge might actually impose large punitive fines on you. This is common if you have been caught repeatedly driving without insurance, were in an accident without insurance or had other aggravating circumstances. The fines could go up into the thousands of dollars. Those fines need to be paid, can be garnished from paychecks and will survive bankruptcy in most cases.
Higher Insurance Premiums
Being caught driving without insurance means that you will receive a mark on your record. Insurance companies will see that you were stopped and charged with driving without coverage. This immediately makes you a larger risk than other drivers with clean records. The likely outcome will be that your car insurance rates rise when you finally do secure coverage. You might pay a significant amount more if other violations occurred around the discovery that you had no coverage.
Extra Costs to Reinstate Everything
The final thing that happens when you are caught driving without insurance is being forced to pay extra expenses to reinstate everything. You might have to pay for car towing, reinstating your license and re-registering your vehicle. This is all in addition to the cost of the ticket and any other fines. You might even end up having to pay impound fees if the officer forced you to abandon the car after a traffic stop.