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 quotes. Or, 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
- Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
- Our Take On Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Frequently Asked Questions
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 4.5 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 4.5 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.
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.
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