Your insurance expires. You forgot to make a payment. No matter what causes it, if you do not have auto insurance, it is illegal for you to operate a moving vehicle. There are consequences to doing so in nearly all states. What can you expect to happen to you?
Proof of Insurance
In nearly all cases, if a police officer pulls you over, they will ask to see your license and proof of insurance. Almost all states require individuals to show proof of financial responsibility or proof of insurance. If you cannot do this, you are likely to face significant fines or penalties.
Here are some examples of what the state may do.
- You may suffer license suspension. During this time, you will be unable to drive.
- You will likely receive a ticket. This will include a fine. In some areas, it is a significant fine.
- You cannot drive your vehicle home. The police may impound it. This, too, adds to the cost.
- If you are under suspension, you have to pay a fine for license reinstatement.
- Some states will require you to carry and SR-22. This is a document from a car insurance provider stating you have insurance. The insurer must notify the DMV if your coverage lapses.
In most situations, state laws will allow a first offense to include just fines and points on a license. However, this is not always the case. In some states, repeated offenses can carry the risk of jail time as well. Always let your first violation be your last.
Why It Matters So Much
Driving with auto insurance helps protect other drivers.
In all states, you must show you have the ability to pay for damages you cause another person or their property. Having auto insurance does this. If you hit a vehicle, which can cause a significant amount of damage to any person, you need to have some level of financial support to pay for any damage your cause. Otherwise, the other driver suffers as a result of your mistakes. That's a legal responsibility. While some other avenues exist, coverage is by far the most simple answer to this challenge.
Do not let your car insurance lapse. If you think you may be late with a payment, call your insurer directly. Let them know what is happening. If you miss a payment because you forgot to pay it, call your auto insurance agent right away. They may be able to offer you an extension. In most cases, it takes just a day or two to cause your insurer to cancel. So, don't let it happen to you.