Frequently Asked Questions - How Can I Drive Without Insurance?
Driving without a valid auto insurance policy is illegal in the United States. Each state is different and have their own auto insurance requirements. If you reside in the state of Florida, you are required to have an auto insurance policy with the minimum requirements of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and property damage (PD), of $10,000.00. This is considered full coverage insurance in the state of Florida because this is the minimum insurance you have to have in order to register your vehicle. This is by no means great coverage and you should always considered having enough coverage to protect you and your vehicle in case of an accident; however, this is the most cost efficient. You have to always keep in mind that by having only Personal Injury Protection and property damage coverage, your vehicle is not covered if you cause an accident with damage or you are hit by an uninsured driver or a hit and run.
Personal Injury Protection covers you, your family members that reside in your household, or anyone in your vehicle at the time of an accident if they do not have their own insurance policy. Personal Injury Protection covers your medical bills up to 80%, your lost wages at 60%, mileage and prescription reimbursement up to $10,000.00. Property damage covers the other vehicle or vehicles in an accident if you are considered at fault for the accident.
If you choose to drive your vehicle without a valid insurance policy, you run all types of risks. The DMV is notified if your insurance has cancelled and they will send you a letter in the mail asking you to update them with your insurance within a certain amount of days or they will suspend your driver’s license. If you do not update your insurance and your driver’s license is suspended, you will have to pay additional fees in order to reinstate your driver’s license. This goes on your driver’s license record and the more often your license is suspended, the higher the fee to reinstate your license. You can also be given an SR-22 requirement. An SR-22, sometimes called a Certificate of Insurance, is a document provided to the state from your insurance company stating that you have a valid auto insurance policy with all the required coverages. This is typically done for high risk drivers that have violated the state insurance laws. In some states, if you are considered a high risk driver, you are required to pay a cash security deposit to the state in case you cause any damage to another vehicle, person or property. If you do cause damage, the state will use your deposit to pay those damages and you will again be required to pay another deposit. If you do not pay your cash deposit, your license will be suspended or even revoked, depending on the amount of suspensions you have previously received.
If the state has been notified that your insurance has cancelled and suspend your driver’s license, your information will go into their database and law enforcement officials will be able to easily identify this from running your license plate number through their system. If you are pulled over for having a suspended license, you could be arrested if it is a habitual offence for you. If you are arrested, you will be booked and processed and you will have to be bonded out or await your hearing in jail. Your vehicle will also be impounded and you will be required to pay additional fees to release your vehicle. If the officer chooses not to arrest you, the officer will tell you to call someone to come and get you as they cannot legally let you drive off by yourself. If you are driving with a passenger and the passenger’s license is valid, the officer will tell the passenger that they must drive.
If you are involved in an auto accident and you do not have your own valid insurance policy, you can be sued personally. You can be taken to court and if there is a judgement against you, you can have your assets taken or your wages garnished in order to pay restitution for the damages you caused while driving uninsured. This is a long term punishment that could have been avoided if you had have been driving with a valid auto insurance policy. Garnishments can stay with you for the rest of your life, depending on how much you are required to pay out in damages. If your assets are confiscated, they will be sold at market value and the proceeds are given to the victim for restitution.
Another consequence of driving without valid insurance could be jail time. Even though this is a rare harsh punishment, if you have a history of habitually driving with no insurance, this is something you could face. This could all be avoided by just purchasing the minimum insurance coverage.
At the end of the day, it is not wise to drive without a valid auto insurance policy. You should always adhere to your state’s insurance laws and make sure you are current with your insurance payments. You should be mindful of what coverage you can afford so that you can always pay your premiums. Having the minimum insurance is much better than having no insurance. If you can afford it, you should make sure you have enough auto insurance coverage to protect you and your family and other people on the road. If you can afford to pay for comprehensive or collision coverage, you know that no matter what happens, your vehicle will always be protected in case of an accident. If you have bodily injury coverage on your policy, the other parties injuries will be covered in case you cause an accident. If you do cause an accident, your insurance company will pay out their coverages in accordance with the law and they will assign an attorney to you if the other parties bring a lawsuit against you.