Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

Driving without a valid insurance policy is a serious offense in the United States, as well as in most countries across the world. All states punish the so-called "high intent to drive". If you are pulled over and your policy has just expired (as in a few days ago) you may get off with a warning if the officers are in a sympathetic mood. It's obvious that you simply forgot to renew it. On the flip side, you have no excuse to drive with a policy that has expired for, let's say, half a year.

If you are pulled over for a moving violation and cannot show proof of insurance, you will be get a ticket and also be subpoenaed in court and asked to either prove that you had owned some form of insurance at that time or face further consequences. You may get away with it only if you were insured at that point but, due to whatever grounds, you didn't have the insurance card with you. Otherwise, this violation gets recorded in your driving history and is there to stay for the next three to ten years.

Some jurisdictions allow you to buy a policy right before the trial. A lot of judges will accept it as a sign of good will – you admit that you were wrong are willing to straighten the facts – and let you go with a milder punishment. Consult with your legal advisor, he should give you the best advice. You should also let your insurer know that you are facing a driving without insurance trial, so that they can prepare the SR-22 forms.

If you are involved in a more serious traffic violation – like DWI or even a minor crash due to reckless driving – some states will consider it to be a criminal offense. I won't get into the consequences of a criminal record, you know them already. Moreover, most states will ask you to meet SR-22 requirements once you gain back your driving privileges.

Some states have a set of rather specific penalties for those who drive without insurance. Failing to provide proof of insurance in California may lead to a fine of $500 or more, your driving privileges being suspended and your car being impounded. If you drive without a valid policy in Florida your driver's license will be suspended, as well as your vehicle registration and tag, for up to three years or until you show the DMV a valid insurance policy. Also, if you were at-fault in an accident that resulted in bodily injury of other people, you will need them to state they were compensated for their property damage and medical expenses.

Last, but not least, don't come up with silly excuses when being pulled over. No, it's not alright to use the car if, let's say, you cannot afford the insurance policy – leave it in the garage and use a bike or public transportation.