17 May What happens if I get into a car accident without insurance?
Everyone knows car insurance can be expensive, but does going without insurance outweigh the risk of what happens if you get into a car accident? This blog will go over the legalities of having insurance, what is covered by most insurance policies, what happens if you get into an uninsured car accident and what you can do about it.
Why carry car insurance?
There are currently only two states in the United States that do not require car insurance, New Hampshire and Virginia according to The Balance. In the remaining 48 states, police officers will request to see your license and proof of insurance when if you get pulled over. If you are found without insurance, a variety of actions can be taken against you depending on which state identified the offence. According to Consumer Federation of America, most states require the person liable to pay a fine worth a few hundred dollars, and even up to $1,000 in Kentucky. If the person is unable to pay the fine, most states have a minimum jail sentence for driving without insurance. Plus, your license could be suspended. In addition, according to Nerd Wallet, your rates could go up if you get caught driving without insurance or cause a wreck without being covered by insurance. A complete list of legal consequences for getting caught driving without insurance can be found here.
What does car insurance cover?
At minimum, car insurance policies have liability coverage. This is the type of coverage that pays for damages done to the other vehicle in a car accident. It also pays for the medical bills if the other person gets hurt in the accident. With liability insurance only, you will be responsible for damages done to your own vehicle. It will not be paid by the insurance. In higher-rate insurance policies, the insurance company will pay for certain damages to your vehicle. The person without car insurance not only has to pay the fine for the offence and face the possibility of a suspended license but is responsible for covering all the bills on their own. Furthermore, the other person in the wreck may take legal action against you. They may sue you for the money they believe they are owed because of the accident.
So, what happens if I get into an uninsured car accident?
Most likely, legal action will be taken against you by the state. Again, these consequences vary depending on the state, but almost all require the person to pay a fine or even serve a minimum sentence in jail.
If You are Responsible for the Car Accident: If you are the driver responsible for the accident, you may be sued by the victim of the accident to cover the damages, medical expenses, as well as any emotional distress. You will also have to pay for any damages caused to your vehicle out of pocket.
Generally, an insurance provider would cover these costs and raise your minimum monthly payment for a period of time in exchange. However, that wouldn’t be an option in this case.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may also have to report the accident to your states’ DMV.
You will be responsible for paying out of pocket for damages done to your vehicle. This person may choose to take the case to court, to ensure the money is received.
If You are the Victim of a Car Accident: If you are the victim of a car accident, what are you allowed to sue the driver responsible for will be limited. You would go through with filing a third-party claim to the other driver’s insurance, In the event that the other driver is also uninsured, they would be personally responsible for fulfilling the claims.
Again, the laws vary from state to state. Some states, like California, have what is known as the “no pay, no play” law.
“No pay, no play” laws prevent victims without car insurance to sue for damages that aren’t quantified with a dollar amount. For example, physical pain and emotional distress would not be something an uninsured victim could sue the other driver for. Additional, uninsured driver sin “no pay, no play” states may also be charged with a large deductible towards repairs to their vehicle before they can go forward with suing the driver responsible for the accident.
Personal injury claims, especially Southern California and Los Angeles personal injury claims, definitely do not go easy on drivers without car insurance. Your safest, although not cheapest, option is to make sure you have full coverage while driving.