Driving without valid insurance can lead to big trouble.
Throughout most of the United States, driving without insurance is illegal. Drivers can face serious consequences if they are unprotected, which can range from a fine to losing your license or even jail time depending on where you live.
Read on to learn why you should never drive uninsured and penalties in your state, and check out our review of the best car insurance companies in America when you’re searching for your next auto insurance policy. You can start getting free quotes for policies in your area using the tool below.
In this article:
- 2021 State Penalties And Fines For Driving Without Insurance
- Is Driving Without Insurance Illegal?
- Our Recommendations For Cheap Car Insurance
- Common Questions About Driving Without Insurance
2021 State Penalties And Fines For Driving Without Insurance
Below is an overview of the consequences you can expect for your first offense of driving without insurance in each state. This data comes from each state's department of motor vehicles (DMV). Contact your local DMV to find more detailed information.
|Arizona||At least $500||License and registration||$10|
|Arkansas||$50 to $250||Registration||$20|
|California||$100 to $200||None||Varies|
|Colorado||At least $500||License||$95|
|Connecticut||$100 to $1,000||License and registration||$75|
|District of Columbia*||$500||License||$54|
|Delaware||$1,500 to $2,000||License||$200|
|Florida||None||License and registration||$150 to $500|
|Georgia||$200 to $1,000||License||$200 to $300|
|Illinois||$500 to $1,000||License||$100|
|Indiana||None||License||$150 to $300|
|Kansas||$300 to 1,000||License||$100 to $300|
|Kentucky||$500 to $1,000||Registration||$40|
|Montana||$250 to $500||None||$100|
|Maine||$100 to $500||License and registration||$100|
|Maryland||$150 to $1,000||Registration||$25|
|Massachusetts||Up to $1,000||License and registration||$50 to $1,200|
|Michigan||$200 to $500||License||$25|
|Minnesota||$200 to $1,000||License and registration||$680 total|
|Mississippi||$500||License||$25 to $100|
|Missouri||Up to $500||License and registration||$20|
|Nebraska||None||License and registration||$100|
|Nevada||$250 to $1,000||Registration||$250|
|New Jersey||$300 to 1,000||License||$100|
|New Mexico||Up to $300||Registration||$25|
|New York||$150 to $1,500||License and registration||$100|
|North Dakota||$150 to $1,000||License||$50|
|Ohio||None||License and registration||$160 to $660 total|
|Oklahoma||Up to $250||License suspension||$275|
|Oregon||$130 to $1,000||None||Varies|
|Pennsylvania||$300||License and registration||Varies|
|Rhode Island||$100 to $500||License and registration||$30 to $50|
|South Carolina||$100 to $200||License and registration||$200|
|South Dakota||Up to $500||License and registration||$50|
|Tennessee||Up to $300||License and registration||$100|
|Texas||$175 to $350||None||$100|
|Utah||At least $400||License and registration||$100|
|Vermont||$250 to $500||License||Varies|
|Virginia||Up to $500||License and registration||Varies|
|Washington||Up to $287||None||Varies|
|West Virginia||$200 to $5,000||License and registration||$200 total|
|Wisconsin||Up to $500||None||Varies|
|Wyoming||$250 to $750||None||Varies|
*In Washington, DC, there are different violations for owning and registering an uninsured vehicle, as well as operating an uninsured vehicle. These are the penalties for operating an uninsured vehicle.
Additional First-Offense Penalties
Depending on the state, you may receive one or more additional first offense penalties for driving without insurance. In most states, you’ll receive a license suspension for at least 30 days. Suspensions can extend up to one year in some states. Other penalties include:
- Community service
- Vehicle impoundment
- Penalty assessments
- SR-22 requirement
- Pass a driver's license exam
Is Driving Without Insurance Illegal?
In most states, driving without auto insurance is illegal, and drivers will face stiff penalties for doing so. All states except New Hampshire require at least bodily injury and property damage liability auto insurance for vehicle registration.
New Hampshire does not require liability coverage as long as you can prove financial responsibility for covering at-fault damages.
No-fault states like Michigan also require personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical expenses regardless of who causes the accident.
Auto insurance protects drivers if they ever get into an accident. Damages to cars and property, as well as medical bills, can pile up when paying out of pocket. If you’re driving without insurance and you’re at fault in an accident, it can be pretty devastating trying to cover these costs on your own.
Minimum car insurance requirements include liability coverage along with personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist depending on the state. States don't require comprehensive or collision or comprehensive car insurance.
What Happens If You’re In An Accident And Don’t Have Insurance?
After an accident, the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the costs of hospital bills, property damage, car repairs for their own and the other drivers’ cars, and other losses. Without insurance, you'll either have to pay out of pocket or face a civil lawsuit from the other party.
If you are at fault,
- You can't purchase insurance to cover an accident in the past.
- You must pay for damages out of pocket unless the other driver has uninsured motorist coverage.
- You may be sued for damages if you can't pay.
- You'll pay license reinstatement fees and fines for driving without insurance.
- You'll be required to file an SR-22 if you seriously injure or kill someone in the accident.
If you are not at fault, there may be a limit to how much you can sue the at-fault driver for if you don't have insurance yourself.
In “no pay, no play” states (Arkansas, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon), uninsured drivers are unable to sue for damages that can’t be quantified with a dollar amount. This includes things like emotional distress and physical pain. They may also have to pay a large deductible for repairs before they can sue you for the costs of property damage.
In a “no-fault” state (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah), each driver will use his or her own insurance to cover the costs of any losses, no matter who causes the accident. In some states, other drivers may not be able to sue you for medical costs unless injuries are severe.
Our Recommendations For Cheap Car Insurance
Your specific car insurance premiums will depend on many factors, like the state you live in and how long you’ve had a lapse in coverage. To find out how to get cheap auto insurance, you can check out our article on comparing car insurance rates. Or, read on to learn more about our top recommended insurance providers.
Progressive: 4.5 Stars
Progressive provides standard liability insurance, as well as coverage like rental car reimbursement and medical payments coverage. You can get coverage immediately, which is helpful if you’ve been without insurance for a period of time. The insurer also offers many discounts to help drivers save money, including safe driver and bundling discounts. Plus, it has the Name Your Price® tool, which allows you to choose how much you want to pay for your auto insurance policy.
State Farm: 4.5 Stars
State Farm has an industry reputation for above-average customer service, including from helpful local agents across the U.S. It offers affordable options for a variety of coverage, including rideshare coverage and roadside assistance plans. State Farm also has a handful of discounts available for things like safe driving and having safety features installed in your car, and it’s one of the best companies to work with if you have teenage drivers.
To start getting free auto insurance quotes from these providers and more, use the tool below.
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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- Harco Insurance Review