What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Each State?

It’s essential to have car insurance. If you get into an accident, insurance protects you from paying for repairs and injuries. When you drive without car insurance, you take a big risk. If you’re at fault in an accident, you could take a severe financial hit. To make matters worse, in most states, you’ll be penalized for driving without car insurance. Here are the penalties for driving without car insurance in each state.

What states require car insurance coverage?

Damaged Ford sedan after a car crash, highlighting the penalties for driving without car insurance in each state
Damaged car after a crash | Michael Jin via Unsplash

The required car insurance coverage varies by state. Except for Virginia and New Hampshire, all states legally require liability insurance, which pays for property damage and injuries to another person caused by an accident in which you’re at fault. Liability insurance is the most common type of car insurance. However, some states require other types of coverage, including medical payments, personal injury protection, and uninsured and underinsured motorist plans.

What happens if I don’t have car insurance?

Each state has different penalties for driving without car insurance, as detailed by Kelley Blue Book. This includes fines, license and registration suspensions, confiscation of license plates, adding points to your driving record, and impounding your vehicle. Some states “require your insurance company to file an SR-22 form on your behalf, which proves your vehicle has at least the minimum amount of insurance coverage your state mandates.” Also, for some states, you might have to serve jail time, especially if there are multiple offenses. 

Additionally, when you get a new policy, you’ll likely have to pay more for car insurance. This is because insurance companies typically charge a higher premium if you have a lapse in coverage. View below the various penalties that different states have for driving without car insurance.

Add points to your driving record:

  • Colorado
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont

Impound an uninsured car:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii 
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

Authorities either confiscate or require you to turn in your license plates:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii 
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Nevada
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia 

There are the states in which you might have to serve jail time:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

These states require an SR-22 form:

  • Florida
  • Georgia 
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada 
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas 
  • Vermont
  • Virginia 
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

What state has the highest fine for driving without car insurance?

Except for New Hampshire, all states levy a fine if you drive without car insurance. The states with the highest fine are Hawaii and Massachusetts, where you could pay up to $5,000. The states with the lowest fine are Nebraska and North Carolina, with a fine as low as $50. Many other states have fines that range between $500 and $1,000.

Please note: The regulations listed in this article are subject to change, so check with your state government for the most up-to-date information.

While paying for car insurance may seem like a nuisance, and you can see, you risk many penalties if you drive without it. To avoid these penalties, be sure to pay your insurance bill on time. If you change coverage to another insurance company, make sure there is no lapse in coverage. Also, if your insurance company decides to cancel or not renew your coverage, act quickly to get a new policy. 

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