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

Even if you’re not at fault in an accident, getting caught driving without insurance in Mississippi could cost you hundreds of dollars—and your license.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Brenna Swanston
background
If you get into an accident in
Mississippi
without insurance, you’ll be in for some serious consequences. Even if you’re not at fault, you’ll face fines and penalties for driving without insurance. Plus, while you’ll be able to file a claim for vehicle repairs and medical bills, you won’t be able to collect non-economic damages.
Car accidents bring a unique brand of stress to your table even when you’re properly insured. But that’s nothing compared to the stress and legal issues you’ll face if you’re uninsured. To help you understand what happens when you’re in an accident without insurance in Mississippi,
Jerry
has compiled this guide.
Read on to find out your options for filing a claim for damages, the penalties you’ll face for driving uninsured, and how to avoid those penalties with the right car insurance.

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

As in most states, driving without auto insurance in Mississippi is a crime. If you’re caught driving without the
state’s minimum coverage
, you could face fines up to $1,000 along with
license suspension
, and you could even be charged with a misdemeanor. Being caught without proper coverage when you’re in an accident will only make matters even worse.
Because of the criminal charges you could face for driving without insurance, we understand if you’re tempted to flee the scene rather than face the music—but don’t leave the scene of the crash. If and when you’re caught, you’ll be in significantly more trouble than you would’ve been for just driving without proper coverage.
If you leave the scene of the accident, you’ll not only face the fines, license suspension, and possible criminal charges that go along with driving uninsured, but you’ll also receive the following:
  • A fine of not less than $100 and not more than $5,000
  • Between 30 days and one year in county jail
That’s right, fleeing the scene means you’ll get both a fine and jail time. But if the accident you were involved in resulted in severe injuries or fatalities, you could be looking at up to $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years in state prison.
So, first and foremost, stay at the scene. If possible, pull your vehicle to a safe location, and check yourself and others involved for injuries. Call 9-1-1 if anyone is seriously injured, and exchange information with the other driver(s).
Be sure to document the scene carefully. There’s no such thing as too many photos, as these will help you prove later on that you weren’t at fault.
Normally, if you’re not at fault in a vehicle accident, your rights extend to collecting damages for vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and future hardships caused by the accident. However, if you choose not to carry insurance, you’re restricted to only collecting for vehicle repairs and medical bills. You’ll have no legal recourse for collecting on the non-economic damages associated with pain and suffering.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Mississippi?

Ultimately, the insurance companies—yours and the other driver’s—decide who’s at fault for a
car accident in Mississippi
That’s why it’s so important to collect as much evidence as possible while you’re at the scene. The more evidence you can provide that the other driver is at fault, the more likely you’ll be able to collect damages. So take lots and lots of photographs, and see if any bystanders who may have witnessed the accident would be willing to share their contact information for later statements.

Do you need to report a car accident in Mississippi? 

Not necessarily. If the accident didn’t result in any injuries or fatalities, and it didn’t cause more than $500 worth of damage, the police don’t have to be contacted. But remember, leaving without exchanging information with the other driver is still a criminal offense!
If anyone sustains injuries, the crash results in a fatality, or the damages exceed $500, the police must be contacted immediately. The police crash report will be filed with the Mississippi DMV, but it’s your responsibility, no matter how minor the accident, to report it to your insurance company.
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What if you’re at fault?

Now, let’s consider what happens if you were at fault in an accident, and you’re not insured. Because
Mississippi is a comparative negligence state
, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages, and that driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages if you are without insurance. 
But that’s just the beginning. You’ll also be facing serious legal penalties for driving without insurance, including up to $1,000 in fines and license suspension for up to a year.

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Mississippi?

Mississippi has the dubious honor of having the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the U.S. at 29.4%. That means you have a nearly 1 in 3 chance of being hit by an uninsured driver, by knowing your options if it happens is kind of a necessary evil in the Magnolia State.
Your first option is to take the other driver to court. Unfortunately, this is a lengthy process that, even if it results in a judgment in your favor, may not yield any financial recompense.
Your second and best option is to secure an insurance policy with adequate additional coverage to allow you to forego the headaches and costs associated with lengthy court proceedings. These coverages include:
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
    . Mississippi is required by law to offer both uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) to help cover medical bills and Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) to help cover repair costs to your vehicle after an accident with an uninsured driver. Both UMBI and UMPD are optional, but you must sign a waiver if you choose not to carry them.
  • Medical payments (MedPay)
    coverage. UMBI will only cover your medical bills up to your policy limits. To increase these limits, many drivers stack their coverage with MedPay to help pick up where UMBI and/or personal medical insurance leaves off.
  • Collision coverage
    . Like UMBI, UMPD only covers up to policy limits, which are often less than the cost of your repair expenses. Collision coverage can help you ensure your repairs are fully paid for.
MORE: Mississippi hit-and-run

Penalties for driving without insurance in Mississippi

Even if you weren’t at fault in an accident, you’ll still face legal penalties for breaking the Mississippi Code for Motor Vehicle Safety and Responsibility if you’re in an accident without insurance. Unlike many states that have an escalating scale of penalties for each uninsured driving offense, Mississippi’s remains uniform no matter how many times you’ve been caught driving without insurance.
Type of Penalty
First and subsequent offenses
Fine
$500 to $1,000
Driving Privilege
License suspended for 1 year or until proof of insurance is provided
Penalties reduced/waived
If you submit an
SR-22
before your hearing, your fine will be reduced to $100.
Reinstatement requirements
Once your license is suspended, you’ll be required to present an SR-22 along with a $25 reinstatement fee and any other applicable fees to have it reinstated. SR-22 must be maintained for 3 years, or your license will be suspended again.
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You probably noticed that one of the requirements for license reinstatement is that you file an SR-22. An SR-22 provides the DMV with proof of your financial responsibility following major driving offenses—like driving without insurance and DUI. Filing an SR-22 is a relatively minor hassle associated with driving without insurance, but the financial burden associated with it is anything but minor.
That’s because an SR-22 results in high insurance premiums for years to come.  
While filing an SR-22 can get your fine reduced to $100, you’ll still be responsible for court costs, and your license will still be suspended for one year. The only way out of both the fine and the license suspension is to prove that you had an active and adequate insurance policy in place when the accident occurred but didn’t have
proof of insurance
with you. If you’re able to present this proof before your hearing, all penalties will be waived and your case dismissed. 
MORE: The penalties for using fake proof of insurance

Minimum required car insurance in Mississippi

Now that you know the ramifications of driving without insurance in Mississippi, we know you’ll want to ensure you have adequate coverage. State law requires drivers to purchase an auto insurance policy with at least:
So how much insurance do you legally need to carry in Mississippi to avoid these negative consequences? Under state law, all drivers must purchase an auto insurance policy that includes at least: 
These limits may seem high, and they are higher than a lot of states’ minimum requirements, but they’re still often not enough to cover the actual costs of injuries and damages following a major accident. That’s why most experts recommend carrying at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and $100,000 for property damage liability. Doing so can protect you from legal action if you’re at fault in an accident, and will add surprisingly little to your annual premiums.
While Mississippi doesn’t require drivers to carry collision coverage or
comprehensive coverage
that doesn’t mean it’s not recommended. We’ve already pointed out how collision coverage can help pay for vehicle repairs if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, but it also pays for damages no matter what you run into.
Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, is the only type of coverage that can protect you from losses associated with glass damage, hurricanes, and other inclement weather events. It’s also the only thing that can protect you financially in case of vandalism or theft.
MORE: Mississippi reckless driving

How to find cheap car insurance in Mississippi

Meeting Mississippi’s minimum requirements for car insurance is not optional. But we’ll understand if you see now why those minimums are just that—minimums. Nothing is stopping you from carrying more coverage than is required, and in a state where nearly 30% of drivers go uninsured, we won’t blame you for wanting more.
Luckily, when you shop for Mississippi car insurance with Jerry, you can find a policy with all the coverage you need and want at the best possible price.
Shopping with Jerry’s
trustworthy super app
means you never have to worry about sacrificing coverage for savings. Jerry is a licensed insurance broker that analyzes your profile and uses it to compare real-time quotes from over 55 top-rated insurance providers to bring you offers for policies optimized to meet both your financial and driving needs. Sign-up is free, and within minutes you could be joining the thousands of satisfied Jerry customers who save an average of over $800 a year on
car insurance
“Amazing! I’ll admit, I’m young with 2 accidents. This spiked my insurance rates and every quote I found.
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