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Is it Illegal to Drive Without Insurance?

Yes, driving without insurance is illegal in 49 states. In New Hampshire, you can drive without insurance. However, you must show proof that you can pay for damages if an accident occurs. It costs far less money to purchase car insurance than it does to prove that you have the assets to cover damages.  Most Americans can prove they can take financial responsibility for mishaps involving their vehicle by having automobile insurance.

>>MORE: What is car insurance?

Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

Every state has different consequences for drivers who drive without auto insurance. However, it is never a good idea to drive without the proper insurance. Depending on the state, you may face a fine of anywhere from $25 to $5,000 depending on the state if the police pulls you over. The states with the lowest penalties include Vermont, Tennessee, and Georgia where the fine can range from $0 to $500. In comparison, if you drive without insurance in states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and West Virginia, you could face a fine of up to $5,000 .

In comparison, the average annual cost of car insurance is less than $1,500 a year. You could shop for car insurance that meets the state minimum requirements under this annual average. You could avoid these fines by maintaining coverage which meets the state’s requirements.

Additionally, in 44 states, if you drive without insurance, your driver’s license can be suspended. Furthermore, if you don’t have insurance and get pulled over, your car can be towed. If this happens, you are also responsible for paying the fees if your car is impounded.

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What Happens if You Are in An Accident and Without Insurance?

You may need to pay for the other parties’ damages in addition to your own

If you drive without car insurance and get in an accident, you can incur serious financial damage. You could be responsible for these damages which can include property damage, the other party’s medical bills, lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering, and more if you are found to be at fault in an accident. It could cost you as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how severe the accident is.

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Loss of assets or wages

If you don’t have the money to cover these damages, you may face the loss of your assets. Until you have paid off the judgement or settlement amount, your future earnings may also be garnished. This is true even if you suffered injuries and have your own medical bills resulting from the accident.

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Higher chance of being found to be at fault

Moreover, uninsured motorists may be more likely to be held at fault for accidents where it is difficult to determine the exact cause.  When you are involved in an accident in which liability is not clear, your main ally is your insurance company. Without an insurance company, you may have to hire an attorney who specializes in automobile accidents in order to minimize your liability. The cost of this attorney tends to far exceed the cost of automobile insurance.

You could be held financially responsible even if you are not at fault

Furthermore, you may be financially responsible for covering damages even if you are not at fault. This is because several states limit what an uninsured motorist can receive even if this driver is not at fault. Louisiana completely preempts uninsured motorists from receiving compensation for their injuries and damages regardless of fault. Thus, no matter how carefully you operate your vehicle, driving without car insurance can leave you financially devastated if you are in an accident.

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Summary

It is never a good idea for you to drive without insurance. You face potential license suspension, car towing, and fines. This is typically going to cost you more than the average annual cost of car insurance. This financial damage is worse if you get into an accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, this will cause long lasting financial damage.

>>MORE: Who has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

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