About 1 in 8 motorists don’t have car insurance. Driving without it is illegal in almost every state, except Virginia and New Hampshire. You may face severe penalties, especially if you wind up in an auto accident.
Whether the accident was your fault or not, you may end up paying a fine, losing your license, and even facing possible jail time. The repercussions also depend on the state where you live.
If you are wondering “what happens if I have a car accident without insurance”, below is a comprehensive guide.
At-Fault Accidents Without Insurance
If you cause a car accident in most states, your insurance company pays for the damage and injury costs of victims. While in some cases fault may be clear, sometimes it can be a bit complicated and you may have to go to court.
Regardless, being at fault or partially at fault for an accident without insurance can make things difficult. Here are some consequences that you may face:
- Vehicle impounding: The law enforcement officers that arrive at the scene of the accident may choose to tow your car
- Medical expenses: If any person was injured in the accident, you will have to pay for their medical expenses like the ambulance ride, emergency care, physical therapy, surgeries, and more
- Repair and replacement costs: You may have to repair or replace any cars and property that you damaged
- Legal fees: In case your victim is suing you for compensation, you may have to cater for the cost of their legal fees
- License suspension or revocation: Most states will likely suspend or revoke your license entirely
- Fines: You may have to pay a fine. It may be costly depending on the details of your accident
- Jail time: If you have multiple accounts of driving without car insurance, it may lead to jail time
- Costly car insurance options: Insurance companies tend to view drivers that don’t have insurance and have caused accidents as higher-risk
- Required forms: You may need to have an SR-22 or FR-44 form on file with your DMV in some states before reinstating your license
Not-at-Fault Accidents Without Insurance
Got into a car accident but it wasn’t your fault? You may still have problems if you don’t have insurance. Below are some penalties you may face in the event of such a scenario:
- License suspension or revocation: Even if you were not the at-fault driver, your license points may accumulate, making you to lose your driving license
- Fines: You may have to pay fines if forgoing coverage in your state is illegal
- Vehicle confiscation: The police may decide to impound your car once they figure out you were driving without insurance
- Out-of-pocket expenses: Uninsured drivers in “no pay, no play” states may be stopped from suing for damages, meaning you’ll have to pay for the necessary repairs or replacements for your car
Car Accident without Insurance in the No-Fault States
If you live in a no-fault state, you and the other driver have to ask your own insurance company to cover the accident. Regardless of who was at fault, you will have to pay for your own damages.
In case you don’t have car insurance, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket. This can be costly. The no-fault states include:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
Car Accident in States with a No Car Insurance Requirement
If you live in New Hampshire and Virginia, you can opt to drive without insurance. In Virginia, you’ll have to pay an uninsured car fee to the state, while drivers in New Hampshire have the option to post cash bonds.
Even in the states with no car insurance requirement, you may be in real trouble if you got into an accident. While you may not lose your license or get fined, you will have to cover the costs of the accident. If you continuously cause accidents, you may be required to have insurance coverage for a certain length of time.
Car Accident with Insurance, But No Proof
If you have insurance, you should keep proof like the policy ID card, in your vehicle. Some states allow you to show proof of insurance on your phone. But sometimes you may be involved in an accident but do not have proof of insurance.
You will face some consequences but they’re less serious than being uninsured. You may receive a citation. However, you can get it dismissed in court if you show proof of insurance.
How to Find Affordable Car Insurance
Buying auto insurance isn’t exciting. While choosing to go without insurance can save you money, causing an accident without insurance can be dire for you financially and also legally. Here are ways to save on your car insurance:
Compare Multiple Policy Quotes
Getting quotes from several insurance adjusters can help you choose a coverage that fits your budget. You should also compare discounts and customer service scores to ensure you get a good deal from the right company.
Ask for Discounts
You can save on car insurance by asking for discounts. What’s more, you can ask the company if you can bundle your car insurance with your home to save. Talk to an insurance adjuster to identify saving opportunities for auto insurance.
How you drive can affect your insurance policy costs. If you are a safe driver, you are likely to pay less for insurance. This is why it’s important to maintain a clean driving record.
Raise Your Deductibles
When you choose a higher deductible on your car insurance, you can lower your premium costs. Ensure you have enough money set aside to pay for a higher deductible in the event you have a claim.
What Happens If I Have a Car Accident Without Insurance? Bottom Line
If you have been asking yourself “what happens if I have a car accident without insurance”, the guide above should come in handy. From paying fines and fees to license suspension, most of what happens when you have a car accident without insurance can stress you out. This is why you should consider getting auto insurance.
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