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

You automatically lose your license and registration for driving without insurance—but who pays for the damage? Find out Nebraska’s laws here.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
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The consequences can be intense if you’re in a car accident in Nebraska without insurance. Fault of the accident is assigned by percentage, and you cannot claim any damages if you’re found to be 50% or more at fault in the accident. 
Getting into an accident is scary—but it’s even scarier to think about what happens next, especially if you don’t have insurance. Where will the money come from to repair the car? Who will pay for hospital bills? What about emotional damages? 
The laws in this state are very clear about the minimum car insurance coverage required in Nebraska. So if you get into an accident and don’t have insurance, you could face penalties along with having to pay out-of-pocket for damages. Here’s what you need to know if you’re in this tricky situation.
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Nebraska and not at fault

All Nebraska drivers are required to carry a minimum level of car insurance coverage. If you get into an accident without insurance, you’ll face serious consequences for breaking the law. Depending on the situation, you might have to:
  • Pay fines up to $25,000
  • Give up your license
  • Spend up to 15 years in prison
The most extreme consequences are for people who cause severe damage and then flee the scene. So if you are in a crash, stay calm and stay present
Here’s what you need to do to handle the situation.
Stay at the scene of the accident. Under
Nebraska law
, you must not flee the scene if there is any property or physical damage. Otherwise, you could be charged with a hit-and-run in Nebraska. This crime is a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the situation, and it carries serious consequences like license suspension, fines, and jail time:
  • First-time hit-and-run: six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. 
  • Repeat offenses (Class 1 misdemeanors): up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Hit-and-run with bodily injury (Class 3A felony): up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Hit-and-run with fatal injury (Class 3 felony): up to four years in jail, a fine of up to $25,000, and license revocation of up to 15 years
Yes, if you stay you will have to reveal that you do not carry insurance. However, staying will keep you from getting into more trouble.
Check all parties for injuries and contact medical responders if necessary. If anyone has physical injuries, call 911 from a safe place on the side of the road.
Exchange information with the other parties. Each person should share their contact information, license number, vehicle information, and insurance information. Provide your information even if you are not currently insured. 
Collect evidence from the scene. Take photos and get information from bystanders. Your goal is to collect documentation to help prove you were not at fault. You may need to submit these to the insurance company. 
You are legally required to report a car accident to police in Nebraska if the property damage exceeds $1,000 or if someone was injured or killed. You can call the police and file a report even if the damage doesn’t seem extreme—a police report is a good strategy for creating another record of the accident.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Nebraska?

Insurance companies and the court ultimately determine who is at fault in a car accident. While police reports and witness evidence will be considered, the insurance company and court can decide about liability.
In Nebraska, the fault for a car accident is assigned by percentage. The company might find that you are 45% responsible and the other driver was 55%, for example. If you do not bear the majority of the fault, you’re entitled to some compensation.

Do you need to report a car accident in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, you are legally obligated to report accidents where:
  • Someone is injured or killed
  • Property damage exceeds $1,000
You have 10 days to submit a Driver’s Motor Vehicle Crash Report if no officer is at the scene to make a report. Submit the form
online
or call the police department at 402-479-4645 to ask for the form. 

What if you’re at fault?

If you cause an accident and do not have car insurance—the consequences are extreme in Nebraska.
Because Nebraska 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 don’t have insurance, the not at fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages. 
If you don’t have insurance—and you’re found to be at least equally responsible for the accident—not only will you be on the hook for the other party’s damages, but you could lose your license, be forced to pay fines, and even face jail time.

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

Nebraska car insurance laws
require drivers to carry
uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage
.  If an uninsured driver hits you and you have insurance, you can file against your own policy for bodily injury damages.
Nebraska also offers an optional coverage called
Medical payments (MedPay)
. If selected, this coverage will make the initial payments towards you and your passenger's medical expenses regardless of who is at fault for the accident, up to the policy limits. If needed, UM/UIM coverage will automatically kick in to pay for any overages once MedPay is exhausted. 
If your UM/UIM coverage limits aren’t enough, your health insurance policy should help care for any remaining medical expenses. 
If you have
collision coverage
, you can file a claim with your insurance company to get payments for vehicle repair costs. 
Approximately 9.3% of drivers in Nebraska were uninsured in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). As a result, Nebraska includes UM/UIM as part of the required car insurance coverage for all drivers to ensure that everyone has a little more protection on the road. 
MORE: How to deal with rising gas prices in Nebraska

Penalties for driving without insurance in Nebraska

In Nebraska, this crime is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. Whether or not you were at fault in a car accident, there are serious penalties for being caught driving without insurance in Nebraska:
  • Automatic license and registration suspension
  • $50 reinstatement fee + $50 registration renewal fee with proof of valid insurance
  • Three years of mandatory
    SR-22 filing
    (which triggers high insurance rates)
You don’t even need to be caught on the road without insurance to face these penalties. Nebraska uses an electronic verification system to track insurance coverage. Two times per month, the Nebraska DMV is updated by insurance companies to match policies with registered vehicles. 
The only way to avoid these penalties is if you can prove that you had insurance at the time of the accident but were not carrying
proof of insurance
with you. Unfortunately, you cannot buy a policy after the fact and apply it retroactively.

Minimum required car insurance in Nebraska

All drivers in Nebraska are required to carry a
minimum level of car insurance
. Here are the types of coverage you must carry as a Nebraska driver:
  • $25,000 of
    bodily injury liability
    per person 
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident 
  • $25,000 of
    property damage liability
    per accident 
  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  • $50,000 of bodily injury per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
With minimum coverage, you’ll legally be able to drive. However, in a serious accident, these coverage limits may not be enough to cover costs. Experts recommend drivers carry $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, with $100,000 for property damage. You might be surprised at how affordable it is to increase your coverage.  
There are two kinds of insurance that are not required in Nebraska but are still very beneficial to most drivers: collision coverage and
comprehensive coverage
(which protects your car). Consider whether you need this type of coverage before you buy a policy.
Comprehensive coverage might be a good idea if you want protection from losses like windstorms, fire, theft, and vandalism.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

You should know that being caught
driving without insurance
could also impact your insurance prices going forward. Points on your record and the traffic violation make you a high-risk driver. Insurance companies charge these drivers a lot more for insurance— these high rates can stick around for years. 
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