October 12, 2010

How Various States Deal With Uninsured Drivers

Everyone hears the commercials and talk about how they should not be driving without auto insurance, but the fact of the matter is that there are thousands of uninsured drivers in every single state across the U.S. These drivers face a lot more risks when driving, including the risk of getting caught. There are very few states without mandatory auto insurance laws and every driver has their own reasons for disobeying the law by not getting an auto insurance quote and vehicle coverage. States have different insurance laws and different consequences for driving without insurance. Regardless of the law, however, the outcome is never good.

Many states will punish uninsured drivers by suspending or revoking their license. This is a simple, effective way to demonstrate to drivers that insurance is mandatory. Additionally, if a driver is found driving uninsured in some states, they will have to file one of three financial responsibility documents: SR22, SR22s, or SR16. These forms are part of an auto insurance policy that basically state that the driver has coverage and will not abandon that coverage for the required period of time. States vary, and required proof of financial responsibility can be necessary for two to five years, depending on the situation.

In some states, drivers caught driving without auto insurance will face fines of up to $500 or seizure and impounding of their vehicle. People who continue to drive without auto insurance will face steeper fines every time that they are caught and will likely have their licenses permanently revoked at some point. There are states that are more aggressive than others. If a driver has already been fined, has a suspension, is required to file for proof of financial responsibility, or has faced multiple other penalties for driving uninsured, some states will move to larger fines, complete revocation, and even potential jail time for some drivers. If there is ever an auto accident, the uninsured driver will have to pay for the damages and injuries out-of-pocket, as well.

Many drivers apply for an auto insurance quote and immediately assume that they cannot afford the cost. Therefore, they simply drive uninsured, hoping that they will not get caught. The fact of the matter is that most states have a law that allows authorities to send random letters requesting proof of insurance to drivers statewide. Therefore, being a safe driver does not always guarantee not getting caught. When the penalties of driving uninsured are compared to the cost of a basic auto insurance policy, it is quite simple to see that the premiums being paid are actually much more affordable than the cost of getting caught without auto insurance.