What Happens if You Drive Without Insurance?

Driving without insurance in states that require it can result in fines, license suspension, community service, and even jail time.

Courtney Washington
Courtney Washington

Courtney Washington is a Texas A&M University graduate. Her extensive knowledge and background in auto, home, and umbrella policies make her a one-stop shop for insurance advice and information. She loves to help her readers understand their insurance choices so they can make informed decisions about their coverage.

Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Updated April 15, 2024

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Buying car insurance is a necessary part of being a responsible driver. Most states require car insurance, and driving without it can result in fines, license and registration suspension, community service, jail time, or a combination of all four, depending on the state.

Here’s what can happen if you drive without insurance, and the importance of having enough coverage on the road.

Quick Facts
  • Causing a car accident without auto insurance means you’ll pay for the other parties’ damages and injuries out of pocket.

  • New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t require car insurance coverage.[1]

  • A significant lapse in coverage can make it difficult to find affordable car insurance in the future.

What if you get into an accident without insurance?

Causing an accident without insurance is a costly mistake with many legal consequences. As the at-fault driver, you’re responsible for the other parties’ injuries and property damages.

If you don’t have insurance, you pay for those injuries and damages out of your own pocket.[2] If the other driver has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, their policy may pay for their expenses, but you won’t have any coverage for your own repair or medical costs.

Furthermore, many states impose penalties for people who drive without insurance. Not only could your state fine you or sentence you to jail, but you could lose your driving privileges.

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Consequences of driving without insurance by state

About 1 in every 8 drivers didn’t have auto insurance in 2019, according to data from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). Uninsured drivers cost insured drivers $13 billion in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in 2016.[3]

Many states require drivers with coverage lapses to file SR-22 insurance forms, which confirm that your policy meets the state minimum requirements.

Here are the fines and penalties states impose on drivers who don’t purchase and maintain state-minimum car insurance coverage.

StateFineJail TimeLicense/Registration
Alabama$500–$1,000Three–six monthsSix-month registration and license suspension
AlaskaN/AN/ALicense suspension of 90 days to one year
Arizona$500–$1,000N/ALicense suspension of three months to one year
Arkansas$100N/ARegistration suspension until you show proof of insurance
California$100–$200N/ARegistration suspension and one-year license suspension (then three years of SR-22)
Colorado$500–$1,000N/AUp to eight-month license suspension
Connecticut$100–$1,000Up to three months


 

License and registration suspension of one to six months

Delaware$1,500–$2,000N/ASix-month license suspension
FloridaUp to $500 license reinstatementN/AUp to three-year license and registration suspension
Georgia$500Up to 12 months60-day license suspension and registration suspension
Hawaii$500–$1,500N/ALicense suspension of three months to one year
Idaho$75N/ALicense suspension until you show proof of insurance
Illinois$500–$1,000N/AUp to four-month plate suspension
Indiana$250–$500N/ALicense suspension of 90 days to one year
Iowa$250N/ARegistration suspension and possible vehicle impoundment
Kansas$100–$300In lieu of paying the fee, six months of jail timeRegistration and license suspension until you show proof of insurance
Kentucky$500– $1,000Up to 90 daysRegistration and license suspension
Louisiana$100–$500N/ARegistration suspension and possible impoundment until you provide proof of insurance
Maine$100–$500N/ARegistration and license suspension until you show proof of insurance
Maryland$150 for first 30 days without insurance, then $7 per dayN/ARegistration suspension until you show proof of insurance
Massachusetts$500, or one year of high-risk insurance premiumsUp to one yearLicense suspension of 60 days to one year
MichiganUp to $1,000Up to one yearLicense suspension
Minnesota$200–$1,000Up to 90 daysUp to 12-month registration and license suspension
Mississippi$1,000N/AOne-year license suspension, or until driver provides proof of insurance
Missouri$20–$300 reinstatementN/AUp to one-year registration and license suspension
Montana$250–$500Up to 10 daysRegistration and license suspension on second offense
Nebraska$50 license reinstatement, $50 registration reinstatementN/ALicense and registration suspension until you pay fees and provide proof of insurance
Nevada$250–$1,000N/ARegistration and license suspension
New HampshireN/AN/ALicense suspension
New Jersey$300–$1,000; up to $5,000 on subsequent offenses14 days on subsequent offensesLicense suspension of one to two years
New MexicoUp to $300Up to 90 daysRegistration suspension
New York$150–$1,500Up to 15 daysLicense and registration suspension
North Carolina$50–$150N/A30-day registration suspension
North DakotaUp to $1,000Up to 30 daysLicense suspension
Ohio$100–$600N/AUp to two-year license suspension
OklahomaUp to $250Up to 30 daysCar impoundment or registration suspension
Oregon$135–$1,000N/ARegistration and license suspension
Pennsylvania$300N/AThree-month registration and license suspension
Rhode Island$100– $1,000N/ALicense and registration suspension of three months to one year
South CarolinaUp to $600N/ARegistration and license suspension until you pay fees and file SR-22
South DakotaUp to $500Up to 30 daysRegistration and license suspension
Tennessee$100N/ARegistration suspension
Texas$175–$350N/ALicense suspension and vehicle impoundment on subsequent offenses
Utah$400–$1,000N/ALicense suspension
VermontUp to $500N/ALicense suspension until you provide proof of insurance
Virginia$600N/ARegistration and license suspension until you provide proof of insurance
Washington$550 minimumN/APossible license suspension
Washington, D.C.$500 for first offense; 50% increase in civil fine for subsequent offensesN/ARegistration and license suspension
West Virginia$200– $5,00015 days to one yearRegistration and license suspension
WisconsinUp to $500N/AN/A
WyomingUp to $750Up to six monthsN/A

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How to get car insurance when you’re uninsured

It may be more difficult to get affordable car insurance after a lapse in coverage. You can typically compare quotes from multiple companies to find the cheapest car insurance for your situation, but some companies may not cover you if you have a significant lapse.

If insurance companies in the voluntary market deny you coverage, you may have to get insurance through your state’s assigned risk pool.[4]

Here’s how to join your state’s risk pool:

  1. Look for your state’s assigned risk pool website. It’s usually called an automobile insurance plan or through a state partnership with AIPSO.

  2. Check the plan’s eligibility requirements. You may have to prove that you’ve tried to purchase coverage through the voluntary market in the previous 60 days but one or more insurance companies denied you coverage.

  3. Apply for coverage. Fill out the necessary forms and choose any additional coverages that you may want. The assigned risk pool matches you with an insurance company that underwrites your policy, but your premiums may be expensive compared to non-assigned policies.

Good to Know

You may be able to get a car insurance policy through a company that specializes in non-standard coverage for high-risk drivers. These insurers may also offer more coverage options than what you find through your state’s assigned risk pool.

See Next: How to Get One-Day Car Insurance

See Next: How to Get One-Day Car Insurance

Driving without insurance FAQs

Check out Insurify’s guide on temporary car insurance coverage, and read the answers to common questions about driving without insurance below.

  • How many points do you get for driving without insurance?

    If you drive without insurance, states will usually suspend your license and vehicle registration instead of assigning points to your license.

  • What’s the penalty for driving without insurance in California?

    California will suspend your vehicle registration for failure to show proof of insurance and fine you $100$200 for your first offense and $200$500 for subsequent offenses.[5]

  • What’s the penalty for driving without insurance in Ohio?

    Ohio will impose a fine of up to $600, suspend your license and registration for one to two years, and require you to file an SR-22 insurance form with the state for three or five years.[6]

Sources

  1. New Hampshire Insurance Department. "2022 Automobile Insurance Consumer Frequently Asked Questions."
  2. Nolo. "I Got Into a Car Accident Without Insurance. What Now?."
  3. Insurance Research Council. "One in Eight Drivers Uninsured."
  4. III. "What if I can't find auto coverage?."
  5. California Legislative Information. "Vehicle Code, Article 2: Financial Responsibility 16029."
  6. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. "You Can't Drive Without Vehicle Insurance in Ohio."
Courtney Washington
Courtney Washington

Courtney Washington is a Texas A&M University graduate. Her extensive knowledge and background in auto, home, and umbrella policies make her a one-stop shop for insurance advice and information. She loves to help her readers understand their insurance choices so they can make informed decisions about their coverage.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
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