Getting into a car accident is awful, but without auto insurance, you could be in for a worse time than you thought. Driving without valid insurance is a bad idea for many reasons.
What should you know about getting into a car accident without insurance?
If you’re wondering whether auto insurance is worth the cost, you’d be surprised. Here is what happens to an uninsured motorist in an accident, and some tips to help you find auto insurance.
Can I Drive Without Insurance?
Driving without car insurance is illegal in almost every state, aside from New Hampshire and Virginia. There are extreme penalties for driving without auto insurance, especially if you wind up in a car accident.
In the incident of a car accident without insurance, you may be unable to pay for the damages to your vehicle. If you or a passenger are injured or worse in the accident, you may not be able to get compensation for anything other than your hospital visits, either. This is true whether or not you are at fault in the accident.
While most drivers have some form of liability insurance to pay for physical damages to other drivers, they don’t cover the costs of pain and suffering the victim takes on. This limits the compensation that you can receive. Without your own insurance, you won’t be able to fully pay for your medical needs.
Even if you live in a state where it is not illegal to drive without insurance, these risks make it worthwhile to spend the money on auto insurance. If you happen to get in an accident with an uninsured motorist or driver, you could both end up in serious trouble.
At Fault Car Accident Without Insurance
If you are at fault in a car accident and you don’t have auto insurance, you will be expected to pay out of pocket for any damages to the other driver. Any injuries the other driver sustains are required to be paid by you; if you refuse or unable to pay, the other driver has the right to sue you for compensation.
You will also be required to pay the costs to fix the other vehicle. Depending on the severity of the accident, you could wind up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for any damage incurred by the other driver. You will also need to pay for the damages to your own vehicle.
Not at Fault Car Accident
Even if the other driver was at fault for the car accident, your state’s laws may limit the amount of compensation you can receive. Several states follow a type of rule known as “No Pay, No Play”. This dictates the types and amount of compensation you will get from the other driver’s insurance for your injuries.
This rule is put in place to protect other drivers. Had you been at fault in the accident, you may not have been able to compensate the other driver; therefore, they should not be expected to compensate you.
If you live in a no-fault state, both drivers are expected to use their insurance to pay for their own damages. Many states follow this system in order to avoid unnecessary cases being taken to court. Should you get injured during a car accident, regardless of who is at fault, you will be expected to take care of your own bills.
Without insurance, fixing your vehicle and taking care of your hospital stay can become extremely expensive. Although you won’t have to handle the other driver’s damages, you will still spend quite a bit out of pocket.
If you are discovered to have driven without insurance, however, there are additional penalties involved. For example, if significant injuries are sustained by the other driver, they can file a lawsuit against you for the injuries. You will have to spend money on a lawyer if you choose to have one and will be expected to pay for their damages out of pocket.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
On top of the hefty fines you can expect, some states also have criminal penalties for those who drive without car insurance. Many states charge hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars from those who have gotten into accidents without insurance.
Many states may also suspend or revoke your license anywhere from a few months to a full year. Some states also penalize the driver with jail time, so read up on your state’s laws. In the end, it’s better to spend the money on auto insurance instead of risk your license.
Should I Find a Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a car accident without insurance, you need to act fast. A car accident attorney can offer some relief for your situation and help you with compensation.
Regardless of whether or not you were at fault in the accident, you’re going to have a hard time getting together compensation for you and the other driver. It will be equally difficult to make a case for yourself if the accident goes to court. It’s better to have a lawyer involved to help represent you.
Easy Ways to Get Auto Insurance
If you want to prevent getting into a car accident with no insurance, you should start shopping before you drive. Here are some tips to help you find inexpensive auto insurance for your vehicle.
Get Familiar with Your State’s Auto Insurance Laws
Each state has separate policies on what the minimum amount of property damage liability and injury insurance is. These are the types of auto insurance that cover you and other individuals after an auto accident. If you are concerned about potential accidents, you should purchase as much of these insurance types as possible; otherwise, purchasing the minimum is all that is required of you.
Some states require additional forms of auto insurance as well, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This protects you if another driver without insurance is at fault in an accident. No-fault states also often require PIP, or personal injury protection, which can be used to cover your medical bills after a car accident.
Make sure that you read up on your state’s requirements so that you purchase the insurance you need!
Compare Prices from Multiple Sources
When shopping for insurance, you shouldn’t settle on the first package you come across. It’s important to look around and compare prices from different auto insurance companies to help you get the best possible deal. Most insurance companies offer quotes for their car insurance based on your driving history and location, so take your time while shopping.
Search for Discounts
Some auto insurance companies offer bundling discounts that make their prices more attractive to new buyers. This may involve bundling your home and auto insurance, as well as many other great bundling options. Ask potential insurance companies about the different deals and discounts they offer before making a choice.
Stay Safe While Driving
Many insurance companies will offer better deals to good drivers who purchase their insurance plans. That means by driving safely, you can save money on car insurance!
The more violations you have for driving recklessly, the higher your insurance premium will be. Take the time to be mindful while driving so that you can save money on your auto insurance.
Improve Your Credit Before Buying
Naturally, car insurance companies study your credit score while giving you a quote on car insurance. If you have poor credit, you may find that your car insurance quote is very high.
Why do insurance companies study your credit score when they’re selling you auto insurance? Many believe that your finances are directly tied to the risks you take in your personal life; this shows whether or not you are likely to be a safe driver. Therefore, the better your credit score is, the lower your premium will be.
A great way to lessen your premium is to lower your credit score before purchasing auto insurance. Whether or not having a good credit score means you are a good driver is irrelevant; all that matters is that it lowers the price of your auto insurance!
Avoid Getting Into a Car Accident Without Insurance
As you can see, getting into a car accident without insurance comes with serious penalties, from hefty fines and bills to potential jail time and a revoked license. In the end, it’s better to shop around for auto insurance instead of risking an uninsured motorist accident. Do your research on your state’s requirements while shopping so that you can get the coverage you need!
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***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.