How to Tell if You Can Drive Legally Without Insurance

How to Tell if You Can Drive Legally Without Insurance
In most states, driving without motor vehicle insurance can get you into legal trouble. (Photo: @Chalabala via Twenty20)
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. Read on to learn what those circumstances are and the potential risks drivers face when they hit the road without auto insurance.

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 as long as you have a valid license.
In New Hampshire, uninsured drivers must prove capable of paying $50,000 for repairs and injuries and $25,000 in property damage. These savings must be in liquid assets that are ready to be spent.
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.

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 person exists in a protective bubble and anyone can be involved in a costly accident. The expenses of one such accident could easily surpass 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.

The Risks of Driving Without Insurance

Drivers who are caught on the road illegally without insurance by a police officer will certainly be subject to paying fines and fees, even if no accident has occurred. The consequences are similar to being caught for alcohol related offenses or violating passenger restrictions. 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 earn income, whether you live in New York or Nevada. Reinstating those privileges down the road, such as reclaiming a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit, can also come with a hefty price tag. The immediate family or legal guardian will likely be responsible for paying any fees for young drivers who are intermediate license holders. There is no minimum age at which you can avoid penalties for driving offenses.
In nearly every part of the United States, it is illegal to drive without vehicle insurance, according to state law. There is a reason for that. Driving a motor vehicle is a dangerous privilege that potentially puts everyone on public roads and public highways 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.