What Happens If You Don't Have Car Insurance? – Forbes

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Published: Oct 6, 2021, 7:00am
Nearly one in eight drivers do not have car insurance, according to a 2021 report from the Insurance Research Council. Joining this not-so-exclusive club is a terrible idea.
Not only will you face legal consequences, such as fines and even jail time, but you’ll also face insurance consequences. And if you cause a car accident that results in property damage or injuries when you’re driving without car insurance, the financial fallout can be devastating.
Every state has some form of “financial responsibility” law, meaning you must have a way to pay if you or someone driving your car causes an accident. One less-than-practical way to satisfy financial responsibility is to fork over a bond with the state that can run upwards of $50,000. But the easiest and most affordable way to satisfy financial responsibility is to buy car insurance.
Every state requires a minimum amount of liability car insurance (even New Hampshire and Virginia under certain conditions). And if you get caught driving without car insurance, chances are you are going to feel some financial pain.
Driving without insurance can land you in legal hot water. Here are some of the consequences you could face:
If you don’t learn your lesson the first time around, the legal consequences can get more severe. Second and subsequent offenses will typically result in stiffer penalties, including steep fines and an increased likelihood of facing jail time.

Driving without car insurance can cause you legal problems and it’s also going to hit your wallet hard. Here are a few insurance consequences you might face:
Related: What exactly can be taken from you in a lawsuit?
Driving without insurance will give you a coverage gap, which is frowned upon by auto insurance companies. A gap in your insurance is likely to impact your wallet when you buy your next policy.
Here’s a look at rate differences for those without a coverage gap and those who were caught driving uninsured.

If you get involved in a car accident or get pulled over by the police, it doesn’t take a seasoned detective to find out if you lack car insurance. Here a few ways the police know if a car is uninsured:
The legal and financial consequences for driving without car insurance are not worth the risk. Here’s how to find a car insurance policy that fits your coverage needs and budget:
Drivers who are considered high-risk (such as drivers who get caught driving without insurance) are often ordered by a court or the state to get SR-22 insurance. An SR-22 isn’t insurance. It’s a form filed by your insurer with your state that says you have car liability insurance requirements. In some states, the form is called an SR-44 or a “certificate of financial responsibility.”
If you already have car insurance, your insurer can file a document with your state. If you need to buy car insurance, you will have to let your insurer know about the SR-22 requirement. Your new insurer will file the SR-22 on your behalf (for a fee).
In some states, you will need to file an SR-22 even if you don’t own a car to restore your driving privileges. A non-owners car insurance policy can meet this requirement and so you can get the SR-22.
With so many choices for car insurance companies, it can be hard to know where to start to find the right car insurance. We’ve evaluated insurers to find the best car insurance companies, so you don’t have to.
Jason Metz is a writer who has worked in the insurance industry since 2007. As a former claims handler and fraud investigator, he’s seen a lot, and enjoys helping others navigate the complexities and opaqueness of insurance. He has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Kutztown University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside, Palm Desert.

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