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

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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According to estimates, one sixth of all drivers on the road don’t have car insurance. There are generally two reasons why: 1) they need a car to get to work, but their work pays so little they can’t afford car insurance; or 2) they’re such a terrible driver their premiums are too expensive, but they drive anyway.

Either way, driving without insurance is really bad news. As much as it costs to insure your car, it will cost you much, much more if you get caught driving without it. Many companies offer online auto insurance that will help anyone save the most money possible!

First, Why It’s Important

Some people think that car insurance just covers their car, which is not the case. Car insurance primarily covers your liability: that is, if for some reason you’re in a car accident, your car insurance pays for the damage to the other guy, while his car insurance pays for your damage.

So if you’re driving around without car insurance, essentially you’re not doing your part to protect other drivers on the road. Not surprisingly, many states do not approve. Compare state auto insurance and find out which states do not approve driving without insurance!

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No Insurance? That Will Be Hundreds of Dollars, Your Tags, Probably Your License, and Maybe Your Car.

The only consistent rule on a state-by-state basis is that if you drive, you have to have some form of insurance and compare auto insurance for savings. However, everything else varies wildly. For example, in Alabama, instead of getting car insurance, you can give $50,000 to the State Treasurer to hold and pay out in case of liability. It works just like car insurance in the state of Alabama; you even get proof to show to the police.

Speaking of which, even proof of insurance laws are different. In Alaska, for example, the police can demand that you produce proof of insurance at any time. They can even pull you over and ask for it. Other states will only ask you for proof of insurance if you’re involved in an accident. Still others, like North Carolina, say that the officer can only ask for proof of insurance if they’ve pulled you over for another offense.

However, once caught, the punishments themselves are fairly standardized. Let’s assume that our uninsured driver was busted at a routine traffic stop: not an accident, just bad luck. First, you’ll be fined. The fine depends on the offense and the state: in Florida, a first-time offender can expect to pay $150, while in Illinois, it’s more like $500.

But your real punishment kicks in right after you’ve paid the fine, because you now have to try and get your car back.

Here’s how it works: you’re pulled over, and the police determine you have no insurance. Thus, you cannot legally be on the road or drive the car; they can’t let you. So, you’ll be asked to step out of the car, and the car will be towed to an impound lot.

To drive your car off an impound lot, you need three things: a valid license, a valid registration, and valid proof of insurance. You can tow it off the lot if you want…but then you’ll have to surrender your tags. Oh, and if you get a new insurance policy? You guessed it: new tags.

One more thing: move quickly. States don’t just sit on your car forever. They auction it off after a set period of time. And if they can’t sell it as a working car, they’ll sell it for scrap.

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If all of this headache isn’t enough, then remember: this is what happens after a simple traffic stop. If you’ve been in an accident, the punishments get substantially more drastic. For example, if you were in an accident more severe than a fender-bender, and you were at fault, most states will revoke your license for up to a year. In fact, in some states, not having insurance at our simple traffic stop there means your license gets yanked for sixty days. Accidents without insurance can lead to a license being revoked for good.

This is just for the first offense: the punishments get more severe the more offenses you rack up. In fact, some states classify driving without insurance as a misdemeanor, which means enough offenses and you’re going to jail. And if you have a record of bad driving, such as a DUI, the penalties will be even harsher. Don’t expect to get any discount car insurance after these types of penalties!

It’s about responsibility: driving without insurance and getting into an accident makes it look like you don’t care what damage you do, so you need to be taught a lesson. Or, at the very least, be kept from behind the wheel.

Of course, if you get in accident, the courts are the least of your problems. There’s the other driver, who may have medical bills and definitely has auto shop bills. You are going to be paying them, whether you can afford it or not. Stay away from being a high risk driver as high risk car insurance will cost a lot more!

“Civil Court” Is a Misleading Name

Unless you’re very lucky, if there is an accident and you are at fault, and you have no insurance, the other driver is likely taking you to court. He or she has to: insurance won’t cover the claims, because you don’t have it. The claims end up directly on your lap.

This can be avoided, of course. If you can work out a reasonable payment plan or pay the other person’s bills up front, you won’t have to go to court. But if you can’t, you don’t get to shrug and say, “too bad.”

Keep in mind, as well, that civil cases, although handled separately from traffic cases, will reflect the verdict against you. That is: if it can be proved in traffic court you’re at fault, it’ll likely be the same in civil court.

A serious accident, with the driver requiring medical attention, can cost up to $1,000,000. Just because you don’t have that kind of money doesn’t mean you get a free pass. Courts are allowed to garnish your wages and seize any property in your name in a civil judgment. If you’re married, they can also seize your spouse’s property.

Nor will the courts factor in any hardship you may be experiencing, such as your own injuries. Under the law, that’s your fault, so it’s your problem. Some states offer no fault auto insurance. Still, expect your injuries to raise your auto insurance costs!

No Car Insurance Premium Costs More than Your Life

We freely admit that we’re talking about absolute worst case scenarios here: many accidents are no more than a fender-bender. But they’re not called “accidents” because you plan them out to the last detail. They surprise you. And being unprepared for one, especially financially, can ruin your life.

That’s the point we’re trying to make: the worst that can happen is worse than you can even imagine. No matter how expensive your car insurance is, it is not worth risking ruining your life…which is what can happen if you don’t have it.

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What To Do Next

If your premiums are unmanageable, do the following:

–   Check for price quotes online. Enter your ZIP code in the box below to get FREE car insurance quotes, and look for the lowest possible legitimate price.
–   Contact your state insurance board and discuss your situation. Perhaps they can  strike offenses from your record, or recommend a special insurer.
–   Contact insurers directly and discuss your situation.
–   Avoid driving without insurance until you can secure some.Use public transportation, or carpool with a friend, to get to work.

In short, don’t feel like you don’t have options. You do. Enter your ZIP code in the box below to get FREE auto insurance quotes now, and make the choice to never drive without insurance again. We will help you find cheap auto insurance and save for FREE!