What Happens If I Am the Uninsured Driver?
- If you are pulled over and do not have valid proof of insurance, you will most likely be issued a traffic citation and court appearance. The fine varies by state, but it is usually between $150 and $500. If you can prove that you have insurance at your court appearance, you may have your fine reduced to covering court administrative fees. Due to state complacency laws, states have some leeway in prosecuting federal insurance laws, and while your state may not consider driving without insurance to be a serious offence, it is in your best interest to be insured.
- If you cannot afford a full insurance policy, your state may allow you to drive if you own liability bonds. These bonds represent money invested to prove your ability to pay for damage in case of an accident. When you purchase liability bonds, you will be given certificates with a number, the amount, and the name of the company from which they were purchased. Keep these in your car as you would an insurance card.
Financial Responsibility Deposit
- Some states allow you to make a deposit with the state treasurer to prove financial responsibility in lieu of purchasing car insurance. This is usually a lump sum determined by estimated costs of damage or injury to yourself or others in an accident. In Washington state, your liability deposit must be at least $60,000 and is based on an estimated judgment of $25,000 for the injury or death per person and $10,000 for injury or property damage sustained in an accident.
Getting in an Accident While Uninsured
- If you are involved in an accident while you are driving without insurance, the consequences will be far more severe. If the other driver is insured and is at fault for the accident, you are lucky: his insurance policy should cover the damage incurred in the accident. If you are at fault, though, you will be personally responsible for the damages and can even face a lawsuit from the other driver to recoup some of the costs of repairing damage to their vehicle.