Listen to this article

Advertiser Disclosure

Car insurance coverage is complicated. Your policy details are likely part of a long and confusing document that doesn’t explain every possible situation. For instance, a commonly asked question is: What if I’m an insured driver driving an uninsured car? Is that allowed?

No, it is illegal for an insured driver to be driving an uninsured car because insurance is tied to the car and not the individual driver. Driving a car without insurance can result in serious penalties like fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

If your car isn’t insured, you should purchase car insurance coverage as soon as possible.To get some ideas for coverage, read our review of the best car insurance companies on the market, and fill out the form below to start comparing car insurance quotesOr, for an even easier process, call our team at (844) 246-8209 to get free, personalized quotes seven days a week.


In this article:

Car Insurance Laws

Each state has different insurance requirements. With the exception of New Hampshire and Virginia, all have some minimum liability coverage requirement. It is illegal to drive a car that is not covered by state minimum insurance requirements.

If you have an insurance policy with a different vehicle, that policy could cover liability damages. Laws vary from state to state, but the person who owns the uninsured car will be responsible for any fines and citations that result from an insured driver driving an uninsured car.

Penalties For Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance can result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Specific penalties vary by state. In some states, you may be required to carry an SR-22 for a set amount of time following a conviction for driving without a license. If you are an insured driver driving an uninsured car, you are likely violating state insurance laws.

In most states, insurance is required to register a vehicle and to get license plates. You can be further fined for driving an unregistered vehicle with expired tags.

There are bad outcomes beyond legal penalties for driving without insurance. You can be sued for vehicle damages and medical payments, even if an accident was not your fault. Some states have what are known as “no pay no play” laws, which prevent people without insurance from claiming damages regardless of who is at fault.

The following states have “no pay no play” laws:

Getting caught driving without insurance will also make it harder for you to buy insurance in the future. An uninsured driving incident will be considered as part of your driver profile and increase your car insurance rates. Save money in the long run by always insuring your vehicles.

Our Take On Non-Owner Car Insurance

Non-owner car insurance is intended for people who do not own cars themselves but regularly drive other people’s cars. Policies differ between providers, but generally non-owner insurance includes bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. It also pays expenses beyond the coverage limits of the vehicle owner’s policy.

Even with non-owner car insurance, it is illegal to be an insured driver driving an uninsured car. What non-owner car insurance will cover are liability costs if damages exceed what is paid by the car owner’s insurance.

Non-owner insurance doesn’t make sense if you infrequently borrow a car, but can be a good idea in the following situations:

  • You need to get an SR-22 and don’t own a car.
  • You are getting a license and don’t own a car (some states require you have proof of insurance to reinstate your license).
  • You plan to use a car-sharing service.
  • You frequently rent cars and don't own one yourself.

Every car on the road needs car insurance. If you are looking for car insurance, use our tool to get quotes from some top recommended providers like Geico and Progressive.

Geico: Best Overall

We rate Geico 4.6 out of 5.0 stars, because it has low average rates and nationwide availability. It is a reliable option and offers non-owner insurance policies.

Geico has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best. If you’re looking for standard coverage instead of non-owner auto insurance, you can also get coverage like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and mechanical breakdown insurance. For more information, read our Geico review.

Progressive: Best For High-Risk Drivers

We also give Progressive 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. Progressive has a wide range of policy options that you can easily fit your budget with the convenient Name Your Price® tool. Progressive comes highly rated by industry professionals and has choices like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and custom parts and equipment value coverage. For more information, read our Progressive insurance review.

To collect and compare quotes from providers available in your state, use the tool below or call (844) 246-8209:


Frequently Asked Questions

Can an insured driver drive an uninsured car?

No. In every state where insurance is required, it is illegal to be an insured driver driving an uninsured car.

Can I drive an uninsured car on my insurance?

Insurance is tied to a vehicle and not an individual. Except in New Hampshire and Virginia, state laws make it illegal to drive an uninsured car.

If you own an insured vehicle and get into an accident driving an uninsured vehicle, it is possible that your insurance will cover liability costs. However, the owner of the uninsured vehicle can be sued for any damages not covered by the driver’s liability auto insurance. Additionally, the vehicle owner may be ticketed and fined.

Does automobile insurance follow the car or the driver?

Automobile insurance follows the car. However, insurance may not fully cover drivers who are not listed on the insurance policy.

Can my son drive my car if he is not on my insurance?

This depends on your provider. If your son has a driver’s license, your insurance provider will likely require that he be included on your policy. Most plans extend coverage to people living in the same household.

If your son does not live with you, coverage may extend to him depending on your specific policy and the circumstances surrounding an accident and damages. You will have to check with your insurance provider. Most likely, your policy will cover liability damages.

What happens when you are in a car accident and the other person does not have insurance?

If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, your car insurance company will cover the costs if you have specifically purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. Some states have no-fault laws, which would prevent or restrict you from filing such a lawsuit. Even if you successfully win a lawsuit, you may not be able to collect damages if the person that caused the accident has no assets or capital to take.

What happens if you are caught driving a car without car insurance?

The punishments for driving without car insurance vary from state to state. In almost every state, driving without insurance is illegal. For a first-time offense, you can receive fines ranging from $25 to $5,000 depending on the state. For second offenses and beyond, you may receive jail time and have your license suspended.

What happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident?

When someone else driving your car gets into an accident, the insurance consequences will vary depending on the circumstances. If your car is insured and you gave the driver permission to take your car, your insurance will be used to pay liability costs.

Specifics will change depending on the insurance states of the car and the driver.

Uninsured driver driving insured car Insured driver driving uninsured car Insured driver driving insured car
Liability is covered
if the driver was given permission to drive the car.
The insured driver’s insurance may cover liability
but will not cover repairs.
The car owner’s insurance will be used
to cover costs.
If the accident was caused by the other driver,
the other driver’s insurance will cover costs.
The car owner is liable for damages
and may be fined.
Excess liability costs may be covered
by the driver’s insurance.
This is a legal driving situation. This is an illegal driving situation. This is a legal driving situation.


In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.

Read our other guides: