Are the possible results of driving without insurance worth the money you save? Nearly one in seven drivers don’t have adequate or any auto insurance, according to a report published in 2021 by the Insurance Research Council. However, joining this not-so-exclusive club is nothing but a terrible idea.
Legal Consequences of Driving Without Insurance
All states, including Virginia, require you to prove “financial responsibility” when operating a motor vehicle. Financial responsibility indicates you have the means to pay claims if you or someone driving your car causes an accident. This proof of financial responsibility is in the form of state-mandated minimum liability insurance.
You can lose your driving privileges and land in legal hot water if you don’t carry auto insurance. And these legal problems involve financial woes for you as well. Following are some legal consequences Virginia drivers can avoid by maintaining liability insurance coverage.
Let’s assume you don’t carry insurance, and an officer pulls you over. When you can’t provide proof of insurance, you’ll likely pay a fine – even if you have no prior offenses and are not driving under the influence. In Virginia, fines start from around $500 and can be as high as thousands of dollars, depending on the circumstances.
Vehicle Impoundment or Revocation of Registration
The state may impound your vehicle or indefinitely revoke your vehicle’s registration if you’re caught driving without insurance. This would cause you to pay a higher fee to release the impoundment and reinstate your vehicle registration. Not having proof of insurance at such a time also holds you responsible for towing expenses and other associated costs.
License Suspension for Driving without Insurance
Being caught driving without insurance leads to license suspension until you can show relevant proof of insurance. The state may suspend your license, convict you of a Class 3 misdemeanor, charge fines, and revoke your license plate or vehicle registration. In this situation, your insurance provider must file a form SR22 within 30 days to avoid further or harsher penalties.
Jail time for uninsured driving is not typical in Virginia unless you’re a repeat offender or other violations qualify for jail time. Repeat uninsured driving offenses lead to stiffer punishments like higher fines and prison sentences. Sometimes, allowing someone else to drive your uninsured vehicle may result in you facing jail time.
Financial Consequences of Driving Without Insurance
Financially speaking, driving without insurance can cost much more than it would have cost to maintain minimum liability insurance.
Car Repair Bills
Having an at-fault accident without insurance can hit your wallet hard. You likely won’t have the funds necessary for vehicle repairs to your car, the other driver’s vehicle, or any property damage. You’ll be on the hook to personally pay all associated expenses, whether it’s a damaged fence or a totaled vehicle. In Virginia, insurance companies consider a car totaled when the damage exceeds 75% of its actual monetary value.
If an accident you cause results in any injuries, you could be legally liable for all medical bills. Not having the cash to pay for the bodily injury claim or expenses could lead to lawsuits, putting your savings, assets, and home at risk.
Higher Auto Insurance Premium After Driving without Insurance
If you’ve ever driven without insurance, then you have a ‘coverage gap.’ Most insurance companies view drivers with coverage gaps a higher risk to insure, meaning you might pay a higher rate once you buy insurance.
If you’ve shopped around but haven’t found an insurance policy with a reasonable premium, check out the services offered by UltraCar Insurance. Without judgment, our state-licensed professionals help high-risk drivers get low rates on quality, state-compliant SR22 and FR44 certificates in Virginia, plus:
- Personal auto & motorcycle insurance policies
- Commercial auto insurance policies
- Non-owner SR22 insurance& Non-owner FR44 insurance
This article was last updated on August 16th, 2022 by UltraCar Insurance