Most states require you to carry at least a minimum amount of liability car insurance. You must also carry proof of insurance either with you or have it in your vehicle at all times. So, what happens to you if you use a fake form of proof of insurance, and what kind of penalties can you expect if you get caught?
Using fake proof of car insurance is not a good idea, as those who do so and get caught face extensive penalties associated with not having the proper amount of car insurance while driving.
How easy is it to use a fake proof of insurance?
It is not easy to fake proof of insurance, and you shouldn’t do so under any circumstances. When your insurance lapses, your insurance company must notify state agencies of this fact. So, if you get pulled over for some sort of violation and the police officer runs your license plate number, they should know immediately that you do not have car insurance.
And while some states do allow for the sale of bonds and cash deposits as a form of financial responsibility, you must have that on hand just like proof of insurance.
States that offer bonds or cash deposits in place of car insurance include:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Penalties for failure to provide proper proof of car insurance
Even if you carry the proper amount of car insurance, you must still carry proof that you have insurance — either on you or in your car. Failure to provide this proof often results in a citation on the spot, with additional orders to provide proof of insurance within 24 hours. Once this time period has passed, then you can expect the following:
- Tickets and fines: First off, expect an enforcement of the citation already written, usually accompanied by a fine. Depending on the state in which you live, fines can vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Suspended driver’s license: Repeated failure to provide proof of insurance can result in a suspended driver’s license. In addition, failure to turn in your license plate when requested upon a lapse of your insurance can automatically result in suspension of your license.
- Suspended car registration: Suspension of a car’s registration represents another penalty for not properly insuring a car. Usually, car owners receive a letter requesting that the car owner turn in the license plate for the car in question until they purchase the required amount of car insurance.
- Impounded car: Some states impound cars not covered by the required amount of insurance. This in turn requires that car owner pay a fee to get the car out of the impound lot.
- Community service: In lieu of jail time, some courts might sentence violators to a certain number of hours of community service.
- Time in jail: If you continuously get caught driving without car insurance, you can also go to jail, depending on the state in which you live.
- Car repossession: Repossession by the lender represents a final penalty for not carrying the proper amount of insurance on a car. The contract a car owner signed upon buying the car usually states that the owner must carry a certain amount of coverage.
Filing an SR-22
The requirement to file an SR-22 represents another consequence for failing to carry car insurance. To acquire an SR-22 certificate, you need to contact an insurance company that provides coverage for high-risk drivers. Upon giving the insurance company all of your information, you should receive an SR-22 certificate along with an insurance policy with the company.
Having an SR-22 means you are now in a high-risk class of drivers who must pay higher premiums than other drivers. In addition, you must keep the SR-22 for three years, at which point it comes off of your record and you can once again qualify for lower premiums.