If you want to drive a car, you have to have insurance. This is the law in almost all 50 states. And, even in those states that do not necessarily require drivers to be covered by insurance, that "freedom" is based on certain criteria, like the driver's ability to cover costs if he or she is at fault for an accident. What's more, if residents of those states ever want to drive outside of those states, having insurance is incredibly important. Of course, as of yet, there are no laws that require insurance to be a part of the car purchase itself. This means that someone can buy a car (especially if they buy it from the previous owner) and drive around potentially forever without insurance and, unless there is an accident or the driver gets stopped for a traffic violation, nobody will ever be the wiser.
But what if you do get stopped? What if there is an accident? What happens when you get caught driving without insurance?
Do not try to lie your way out of a "no insurance" charge. For one thing, in some states it doesn't matter whether or not you thought you had insurance or even if you were on your way to a local insurance agent's office to sign the papers. Getting caught without coverage means an automatic charge. What's more, you can bet your life that the charging officer will check out your story before you are allowed to leave the scene and if you get caught in a lie, things will be even worse. Fess up. Cooperate and hope that the officer takes mercy on you.
Get Insured Immediately
Seriously. As soon as you are charged for driving without insurance, go buy coverage. You can buy an insurance policy online these days and could probably set up a policy right there from the scene via your smart phone.
It is important to get coverage before you are actually convicted of driving without insurance. It is important because, in some states, if you show up for your court date having obtained insurance, you can get your charges reduced or maybe even dismissed. It is also important because having a conviction for driving without insurance makes it much harder to get a good rate on an insurance policy in the future. Some companies might even use your conviction as a reason to deny you coverage altogether!
It is also important that you hire an attorney to represent you in court. You can try to represent yourself, but your court appointment will be much smoother if you have professional representation.
If You Are Convicted
Pay your fines as quickly as possible. This is the good news about being convicted of driving without insurance. More often than not, the conviction will result in a fine being levied against you. It is rare that you will have to do jail time (though not impossible, especially if you are regularly convicted of this offense).
If you still have your license, get coverage. Unfortunately, once you have a conviction against you for driving without insuranceâ€”especially if you are at fault in a bad accidentâ€”you probably won't be able to get "regular" insurance. Instead, you will need to obtain special insurance coverage. This is called sr22 insurance. This coverage can be expensive so don't take the first policy you find. Spend some time looking up sr22 quotes online and making sure you get a good deal.
From here, it's a matter of following the law to the letter. If you really cannot afford insurance, it is better to buy a transit pass or a bicycle for getting around. The last thing you need to do now is tempt fate. Even if you do have insurance, it is important that you don't get any more tickets or into any more trouble. Keep that nose clean!