If you don’t carry liability insurance on your car, what are the possible outcomes of a California no insurance accident? The consequences and penalties of car accidents depend on who is at fault and whether the drivers involved have insurance or not.
No one likes paying for car insurance, and some people feel that they can’t afford it. But if you have an uninsured accident, the fines and fees involved may exceed what you’d have paid for insurance.
California minimum liability insurance requirements
California requires all licensed vehicle owners to carry liability insurance (proof of financial responsibility). The most common way to comply with this requirement is to buy a liability insurance policy. The minimum coverage amounts for this liability-only insurance are:
- $15,000 per person
- $30,000 per accident
- $5,000 property damage
The average cost for car insurance in California is around $1,900 to $2,000 per year.
Penalties for driving without insurance
The financial penalties for driving without auto insurance in California are relatively modest. Penalties may cost you less than a yearly insurance premium – if you don’t get caught. But is it worth taking a chance to drive without insurance? Very likely, it’s not worth it if you’re at fault in a California no insurance accident.
- A first uninsured driving violation (non-collision) has a minimum $100 fine plus a penalty fee between $260 to $520.
- Any additional non-collision uninsured driving violations may cost $200 to $500 and penalty fees between $520 and $1,300.
- A first uninsured accident carries fines of $100 to $200, penalty fees of $260 to $520, and a one-year license suspension.
- Subsequent uninsured accidents involve fines of $200 to $500, penalty fees of $520-$1,300, and the state may suspend your license for up to four years.
When the state suspends your license, you’ll need to carry California SR22 insurance to reinstate your driving privileges.
Uninsured Accident – My Fault
A California no insurance accident results in several problems. When you’re at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance will not pay for your or your passengers’ injuries. The other party can sue you for their injuries and damages, even if they have uninsured motorist insurance. After an investigation establishes liability for the accident, you may have to pay out of pocket or sell assets/property to compensate the other party.
Another consequence is that the state will suspend your license and assign fines and fees. If you want to reinstate your license, you’ll have to carry California financial responsibility insurance (SR22) for a certain number of years.
Uninsured Accident – Not My Fault
What happens if you’re uninsured and the other driver is at fault in a California no insurance accident? Even in this case, the results are not too favorable. California is a Tort Law state. Tort Law allows you to sue the other driver for damages. However, as an uninsured driver, it limits the compensation you can obtain for injury and damages.
If the other party is also uninsured, you can sue them for damages and possibly reasonable costs for medical bills.
On the downside, being in an accident reveals your uninsured status when an officer asks for proof of insurance. Since driving without insurance is illegal, the state will levy fines and suspend your license.
What if I have an accident driving a borrowed car?
If you borrow someone’s car, it’s essential to verify the owner insures it with the minimum required liability insurance. Let’s assume the owner insures the vehicle and permits you to drive it. In this case, their policy covers damages/injuries as long as you’re not a member of their household. Coverage applies whether you’re at fault or not at fault in the accident.
SR22 insurance for uninsured accidents
To reinstate your suspended license after a California no insurance accident, you’ll need to file an SR22 certificate with the state. If you own a vehicle, you’ll need a California SR22 policy and certificate. When you don’t have a car, you’ll get California non owner SR22 insurance.
UltraCar Insurance is here to help you reinstate your license after a California no insurance accident. Please speak with one of our agents or click the button to start an online quote today!