Financial responsibility laws exist in all states, and almost all states require drivers to carry a minimum of liability insurance. It is, however, possible to drive legally without car insurance under extremely limited circumstances. In this article, Part 1 lays out in what circumstances it is possible to drive legally without carrying automobile insurance coverage. Part 2 looks at the pros and cons of having or neglecting to carry car insurance when a choice is available. Part 3 describes the risks drivers take when they hit the road without auto insurance.
Part 1 of 3: States in which you can drive legally without insurance
All but two states require a minimum of liability insurance by law. If, however, you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, it may be possible to legally drive without car insurance.
In New Hampshire, uninsured drivers must prove capable of paying $50,000 for repairs and injuries and $25,000 in property damage. This savings must be in liquid assets that are ready to spend.
In Virginia, uninsured drivers pay a $500 fee to neglect carrying insurance coverage and accept financial responsibility in the case of an at-fault accident.
Part 2 of 3: How to weigh the options when you have a choice
Residents of New Hampshire and Virginia must weigh the pros and cons of whether or not to carry car insurance. Chances are, drivers who have the assets necessary to forego car insurance can easily afford to pay the premiums.
No driver exists in a protective bubble, and anyone can be involved in a costly accident. The expenses of one such accident could easily surpass that of the cost of vehicle insurance.
While a $500 annual fee in Virginia is less than a year’s worth of insurance premiums, that fee provides zero protection to drivers; uninsured drivers in Virginia must pay all costs associated with an accident out of pocket.
Part 3 of 3: The risks of driving without insurance
Drivers who are caught on the road illegally without insurance will certainly be subject to paying fines and fees, even if no accident has occurred. In the case of an accident, the driver at fault is financially responsible; if this driver does not carry insurance, then assets like property and savings can be lost to satisfy the debt.
Driving illegally without insurance also risks the loss of driving privileges, which can easily affect the ability to work and income. To reinstate those privileges down the road also comes with a hefty price tag.
In nearly every part of the United States, it is illegal to drive without current vehicle insurance. There is a reason. Driving a motor vehicle is a dangerous privilege that puts everyone in its path at risk - drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians. While car insurance is not cheap, it is generally far cheaper to protect your assets and pay the premiums than to absorb the costs for the damage associated with an accident.