Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • When a car is not insured, it can’t legally be driven on any public roads, highways or freeways or you can be fined
  • If the vehicle owner drives their uninsured car or lends their uninsured car to someone, they are violating the law
  • When you borrow a car from a friend, their insurance will typically cover you as long as you have permission to drive
  • If you have your own car insurance, your liability insurance will protect you if you borrow a car with no insurance
  • Your physical damage coverage, also known as comprehensive and collision, may pay for losses in some scenarios

When your car breaks down or you need to borrow someone’s car to run a few errands, you don’t often think about what could happen if you get into an accident. In fact, accidents are a topic that you try to avoid thinking about out of fear that you’ll jinx yourself.

Not only do you need to worry about crashing your friend’s car, you should also worry about whether or not the car you’re driving is insured.

Make sure you have proper coverage before driving. Compare rates from top companies side-by-side today!

If you were to take a joyride in a car that you don’t own, you need to know that the owner of the car has purchased and maintained their coverage. Here’s what can happen if you drive a car that ends up not being insured:

What is an uninsured vehicle?

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An uninsured car is a car that has absolutely no liability coverage. In most states, it’s actually a violation of the law to drive or park a car that’s uninsured on public roads or property.

When someone drives an uninsured vehicle and they are caught, the vehicle owner will face some strict consequences as required by the state.

There are only a few states where it’s legal to drive a car that’s uninsured. In New Hampshire and Virginia you can file your vehicle as an uninsured by paying an uninsured vehicle fee.

Even though it’s then legal to drive the vehicle publicly without your liability insurance, it’s still not advised to take that risk.

Are you aware of all of the penalties that are assessed when a vehicle is uninsured? Driving a car that doesn’t have coverage can affect your criminal record or your financial status. It can also land you in hot water with the court of law.

Here are some of the most common consequences to be aware of:

  • Your registration can be suspended even when you’re not caught driving the uninsured car
  • Your license could be suspended for being caught driving without insurance on your car multiple times
  • You can be cited for driving without insurance and forced to appear in court and pay a fine
  • You can be ordered to complete hours of community service for being convicted of a misdemeanor
  • You could have an uninsured accident and face a claim for compensation of damages
  • Your Motor Vehicle Record could be affected and it could affect eligibility for jobs or licenses

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Can you drive an uninsured car that you own?

Under no circumstances may you drive a car that you own that’s not insured. If you’ve recently purchased a car, there is a chance that your existing coverage will protect the new car as if it’s a car that’s already on your declarations page.

In this scenario, the car that you own is insured because it falls under the definition of a covered auto. Here are some examples of covered autos:

  • A newly acquired vehicle that’s registered in the same name as the policyholder is covered for 14 days to one month
  • A trailer owned by the named insured
  • A borrowed or rented vehicle that’s not owned by the policyholder or anyone who lives in the household
  • A vehicle that is acting as a temporary substitute to your owned vehicle while it’s being serviced or repaired

If you own a car and you want to be a good friend by letting your friend drive the car, make sure it’s insured. If you haven’t made a payment on your car insurance or the policy never renewed, it puts you at risk of having to pay for damages on your own.

It also puts you at risk of being cited for allowing someone to drive your uninsured car.

What happens if you drive an uninsured car owned by a friend?

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If you forget to ask your friend if they have insurance or you were too scared to ask, you could be stuck handling a claim after getting into a crash.

You don’t want to find out that the Honda you’ve been driving has been uninsured all along because even a minor fender bender could affect your financial future.

If you’re driving the car, the injured party, whether it’s a driver, passenger, or a pedestrian, will more than likely go after the vehicle owner first.

You might have been the one who was driving and made the wrong decision, but the owner of the car is legally liable for whatever happens in the car when it’s registered in their name.

After the victim tries to collect from the owner, they can then try to collect from you. In fact, they can file a lawsuit against both you and the owner since both of you are negligent in one way or another.

You’ll have to appear in court and defend yourself in an attempt to avoid some hefty awards.

Your Insurance Company Will Protect You in Most Scenarios

If you have a loss and you’re borrowing a car the ends up not being insured, your existing policy will more than likely protect you.

As long as you don’t knowingly drive an uninsured car and you don’t have ownership of the vehicle you will have at least liability protection with the limits that you have now. In some events, the following will extend:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Uninsured Motorist Protection
  • Medical Payments Coverage
  • Personal Injury Protection

Having adequate insurance on your own car is essential when you’re driving your own car and when you’re borrowing other vehicles. Compare premiums and coverage limits online by getting instant quotes and secure affordable coverage in just minutes right here.