While auto insurance laws vary depending on your state, nearly all states have some form of financial responsibility laws that specify how much auto insurance a driver must have in order to drive on public roads. The minimum coverage required in any state is called liability insurance, which pays only for claims related to bodily injury or property damage to third parties caused by the covered driver. Any losses sustained by you, such as bodily injury or damage to your own vehicle are not covered by liability insurance. If you fail to obtain liability insurance, you can be fined, be ordered by the court to complete community services, and even lose your driving privileges for up to one year.
Police have the power and legal right to set up traffic checkpoints to check for impaired drivers, drivers without insurance, and drivers with outstanding warrants. Additionally, if you are pulled over by a police officer for a traffic infraction, you will be asked for both your driver’s license and proof of insurance almost all of the time. In some states, such as Oregon, if you fail to prove you have insurance, the police will tow your car away.
Deciding to drive without auto insurance can land you in a great deal of trouble with the law and financially if you happen to injure someone and don’t have auto insurance. This might surprise you, but for auto accidents that result in bodily injury, if amount of bodily injury exceeds the limits of insurance that you have for bodily injury, the courts can actually garnish your wages to pay for the bodily injury portion of the claim. Even if you don’t injure someone while driving without insurance, in some states, your vehicle can be seized and impounded on the spot if a police officer who pulls you over feels like it.
Remember that the whole point of auto insurance is to protect your assets in the event that you are found to be at-fault in an auto accident. Carrying auto insurance will also help to keep you out of jail in such instances. If you decide to driver without auto insurance, you risk having much greater difficulty obtaining affordable auto insurance in the future. Auto insurance companies like to see that you have had insurance in the past and don’t like to take on drivers that are higher risks, such as drivers that don’t carry insurance, at least not without charging them substantially higher premiums. So if you plan to driver a vehicle on public roads, do yourself and others a favor and at least obtain the minimum limits of liability insurance that are required by your state.