Is It Illegal to Drive Without Auto Insurance? The Short Answer and the [Complete] Truth

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What if breaking the law was as easy as turning a key? 

One of the first things that we learn as drivers is the importance of having reliable automobile insurance. However, everything from financial desperation to morbid curiosity causes drivers to get behind the wheel without proper coverage. 

Is driving without insurance legal, though? What’s the worst that could happen, and how do these laws vary from state to state? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the legal consequences of driving without insurance. 

The Short Answer: Yes, It Is Illegal to Drive Without Insurance 

If you’ve been asking yourself, “Is it illegal to drive without insurance,” the short answer is that it is illegal almost everywhere. Unless you are a resident of Virginia or select parts of Alaska, then you cannot legally drive without having the minimum coverage mandated by the state. 

Of course, even the relative handful of drivers who do not have to meet the insurance requirements of the state have a powerful incentive to get coverage. That’s because not having the important protection of things like liability insurance means these drivers could be a single accident away from life-changing debt. 

The Complete Truth: Exploring the Consequences of Driving Without Insurance 

It’s one thing to know that it’s against the law to drive without proper coverage. However, that leads to the next big question: what happens if you’re caught driving without car insurance? The amount and severity of consequences you could face will vary based on whether you are a repeat offender and how much damage you may have caused while driving. 

For example, first-time offenders will most likely receive tickets and/or fines. Repeat offenders or those who have committed dangerous moving violations may have their licenses suspended and possibly their vehicles impounded. Driving without insurance may also land drivers in jail, and everyone who drives without proof of coverage risks their coverage premiums increasing (especially after filing an SR-22 with the state, which typically lasts a minimum of three years). 

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Insurance Requirements Vary by State: Know Your Local Laws 

It’s important to know that you can still get in trouble for driving with insufficient insurance. Each state sets its own minimum coverage requirements that residents must obey. In order to avoid fines and other punishments while also protecting yourself and your vehicle, it’s very important to know what the state and local laws are concerning coverage requirements. 

Keep in mind that it’s especially important to learn these requirements after you move to another state. The new state’s requirements may determine whether you can keep your existing policy or whether you will need to make changes to meet the minimum requirements. In most cases, your current insurer may not be legally authorized to operate in your new state, so you would need to change it anyway. 

Why Having Enough Insurance Is Always a Good Idea 

Earlier, we mentioned that a handful of US citizens aren’t required to get insurance before driving. On top of that, many drivers rely only on the minimum coverage amounts mandated by the state. However, it’s always important to have more than the minimum requirements if you want to really protect yourself. 

The reason for this is that while getting the smallest amount of insurance can help to lower your monthly premium, that won’t matter if you end up getting into a major accident. At that point, you may be left with significant out-of-pocket expenses that otherwise would have been covered if you had a better policy. 

Protect Yourself with the Best Automobile Insurance 

Now you know all the details about the legalities of driving without insurance. But do you know where you can find the insurance plans that will keep you as safe as possible instead of just keeping you out of jail? 

Here at InsureOne, we’re all about keeping you and your ride perfectly safe. To that end, we’re always ready for you to get a quote online. Alternatively, you can pick up the phone and give us a quick call at 800-836-2240. Finally, feel free to come to one of our nearby offices at your earliest convenience!