Paige Cerulli Last Updated On: March 20, 2024

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What Happens If You Have a Car Accident Without Insurance?

Car Accident Without Insurance

It might seem like driving without car insurance could save you money, but you could end up facing steep financial and legal trouble after an accident. Even in the few states where drivers aren’t required to have insurance, you could still be on the hook for expenses resulting from an accident. Before you drive without car insurance, think about the penalties.

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An At-Fault Car Accident With No Insurance

If you cause an accident while driving without insurance, you will be responsible for all of the expenses relating to the accident. Those expenses can include:

  • The costs to repair or replace any vehicles or property that are damaged. These expenses can add up to tens of thousands of dollars, especially if you damage a more valuable vehicle or collide with a structure, like a home.
  • Medical expenses if anyone inside or outside of your vehicle is injured.
  • Legal fees to represent you in court if the other driver sues you for damages. You may also be responsible for paying that driver’s legal fees, plus any court judgments.

You may face additional penalties, too. Your license may be suspended or revoked. Before you can get your license reinstated, you may need to file an SR-22 form to confirm that your car insurance meets state minimum standards. Only some insurance companies will insure SR-22 drivers, and you’ll pay higher premiums, too.

Additionally, your vehicle might be impounded and you could be fined for driving without insurance. If you’re repeatedly caught driving without insurance, you could go to jail.

At-Fault Accidents in States That Don’t Require Insurance

If you cause an accident in a state that doesn’t require car insurance, you can still be financially and legally responsible for the damages or injuries you caused. Your license and registration could be suspended, and you might be financially responsible for any of the other driver’s costs that their insurance company doesn’t cover.

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A Not-At-Fault Accident Without Insurance

Even if you’re not at fault for an accident, you could still face legal trouble for not having insurance. Police responding to the scene will want to verify your insurance, and your license might be suspended or revoked if you’re uninsured. Depending on your state, you might be fined, and your vehicle might be impounded.

Not-At-Fault Accidents in States That Don’t Require Insurance

States that don’t mandate car insurance will require the at-fault driver to compensate you for any expenses that result from the accident. But, if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or has minimal coverage that doesn’t cover your expenses, you may need to sue them to get paid.

If you were insured, your insurance might cover some expenses, like your medical costs. Additionally, carrying uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help to protect you in situations where the at-fault driver’s coverage won’t fully pay for your expenses, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with the money out-of-pocket.

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How to Get Affordable Car Insurance

Driving without car insurance could potentially land you in legal and financial trouble, so it’s always best to at least get the minimum coverage that your state requires. To start, get free car insurance quotes today and compare your policy rates.

You can also keep your insurance costs low by driving an older, less expensive vehicle, maintaining a clean driving record, choosing a policy with a higher deductible, and taking advantage of discounts that your insurance company offers.

Paige Cerulli Paige Cerulli is a freelance content writer and journalist who specializes in personal finance topics. She graduated from Westfield State University and brings more than a decade of professional writing experience to the ConsumerCoverage team. Paige’s work has appeared in outlets including USA Today, Business Insider, and more.

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