What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance But Not at Fault in Michigan

If you’re in an accident in Michigan and you don’t have car insurance, you’ll be looking at fines, legal fees, and even possible jail time.
Written by Sarah Gray
Edited by Jessica Barrett
If you’re in an auto accident and do not hold a valid
Michigan auto insurance
policy, you’ll be facing severe legal and financial consequences.
  • If you don’t carry
    car insurance
    that meets Michigan’s minimum requirements, you can neither claim nor sue for economic damages, like pain and suffering compensation, medical bills, lost wages, or vehicle damage repair costs—even if you were 100% not at fault in the accident. 
  • Driving without insurance in Michigan is a misdemeanor offense that carries stiff penalties that include fines and potential jail time.
  • Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws require drivers to carry both liability coverage and “no-fault” PIP coverage (personal injury protection), in addition to other required coverages.
  • If you’re caught driving without insurance, both the offense on your driving record and the lapse in coverage will cause your car insurance rates to increase.

What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Michigan and not at fault

It is a crime to drive in Michigan without car insurance and if you’re caught without insurance after being involved in an accident, you’ll likely face hefty fees as well as legal trouble. 
If you find yourself in a car accident in Michigan without valid car insurance, do not leave the accident scene. The prospect of getting caught without car insurance can be stressful and scary—but your punishment will be much worse if you’re caught after fleeing the scene. If you leave the scene of the accident, you could be facing:
  • Six points on your
    driving record
  • $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail if the accident just involves property damage
  • $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, and a
    license suspension
    if the accident involves bodily injury
  • A felony charge with a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison if the accident involves serious bodily impairment or death
  • A felony charge with a $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison if the accident involves serious bodily impairment or death and the fleeing driver is considered at-fault
Put simply, you should follow the same
steps after an accident
without insurance as you would if you had coverage. These include:
  • Switching your hazards on and pulling out of traffic, if possible and safe
  • Checking yourself, your passengers, and others involved in the accident for injuries
  • Calling 911 to request an ambulance if needed
  • Exchanging information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident, including driver’s license, their insurance, and all contact information
Unfortunately, if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident without insurance in Michigan, you will be disqualified from all compensation and no-fault benefits. 
  • You may have to pay out of pocket for all of your medical expenses and property damage
  • You may be able to file a claim through your own health insurance for medical bills (if you have coverage) but you'll be responsible for all of your vehicle repair bills
The other party is allowed to sue you, however, for their medical bills and lost wages—and their insurance company is allowed to sue you for the benefit money they pay out to their insured, any “incurred loss adjustment costs and expenses,” and “incurred attorney fees.” 
The no-fault laws in Michigan are strictly upheld for everyone’s financial safety, so do everything you can to secure proper car insurance before driving in Michigan.

What if you’re at fault?

Because Michigan is a modified comparative negligence state, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 50% or more negligent for the accident, if you have insurance. If you don’t have insurance, however, the other driver can sue you for the damages whether or not you’re at fault. 

Who decides fault in a car accident in Michigan?

Michigan is a
no-fault insurance state
, meaning that drivers with proper insurance coverage are protected from being sued if they’re “at fault” in an accident and each insured driver will be left to cover their own medical expenses through their personal injury protection insurance. 
But even in a no-fault state like Michigan, liability still needs to be determined for property damages following an accident. 
  • A police report will often record information insurance providers can use to help determine fault
  • If you’re involved in a car crash, speak to any police on the scene and give them a detailed report of what happened
  • Take pictures and videos of the accident and collect the contact information of any witnesses of the accident if possible

What to do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Michigan

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
helps you cover medical expenses in that situation and takes much less time to process a payout than a lawsuit—which is your only recourse for collecting damages from any of the 25.5% of uninsured drivers in Michigan.1
Aside from uninsured motorist coverage, some of the most beneficial types of coverage to add to your insurance are
collision coverage
comprehensive coverage
. Without one of these three types of coverage, you’ll be left with vehicle repair bills after an accident where the at-fault driver is uninsured. 
You may also wish to get
rental car coverage
for extra protection and to help secure a ride if yours is too damaged to drive. 

Penalties for driving without insurance in Michigan 

The penalties for
driving without insurance
in Michigan can be intense. In fact, many consider them the harshest in the country—especially when it comes to car accidents involving an uninsured driver. 
  • Driving without insurance in Michigan is a misdemeanor offense that carries a $200 to $500 fine and the potential for up to one year in jail
  • You may also face license suspension and the Michigan Secretary of State will withhold your ability to renew plates, or transfer, replace, or buy new registration until you’re able to secure the proper insurance.
  • Michigan is a “no-pay, no-play” state—so if you don’t pay for insurance coverage, no insurers will “play” when it comes to you filing a claim against any of their drivers
  • If you choose to drive uninsured, Michigan law makes it impossible for you to file any claim or lawsuit against the other driver involved in an accident, even if they were 100% at fault
You will also be left at the mercy of the other driver and their insurance company because the law allows both the other driver and their insurer to sue you for compensation. 
And unfortunately, purchasing car insurance directly after the event will not help you. It won’t work retrospectively. That said, if you had insurance at the time of the crash and were simply unable to provide
proof of insurance
, you can dispute your charge in court and likely walk away just responsible for an administration fee. 

Minimum required car insurance in Michigan

In Michigan, you must maintain the
minimum required car insurance
at all times. Unless you qualify for
Michigan’s recent “opt out” option
for personal injury protection (PIP), you need liability coverage and no-fault PIP insurance. 
The liability portion of your required coverage is split as 50/100/10 and breaks down like this:
Michigan's no-fault law also requires its drivers to hold three additional types of insurance:
Of course, it’s always a good idea to hold more than the state-required minimum insurance because vehicle repairs and medical bills rack up easily. If you stick with the state minimum and don’t have enough coverage to pay for accident damages, you’ll be left to pay out of pocket. 

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

Getting caught driving without insurance will result in more than just legal fees and fines—it will also result in increased insurance premiums. Not only will the misdemeanor driving offense on your record cause your rates to increase, but you’ll also be looking at increases due to a
lapse in coverage
But even with both of these strikes against you, you can still find affordable rates for coverage if you know where (and how) to look.
The best way to find affordable coverage even after you’ve been caught driving uninsured is to use
. Jerry’s RateWise™ tool compares quotes from over 50 top providers in real time, finding you the best coverage at the best price in mere minutes. Download the free app and join the over 4 million customers who’ve saved an average of over $800 on insurance a year!
1. Insurance Information Institute, 2019
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