Do you legally have to have car insurance?

Do drivers legally have to have car insurance? I want to know if drivers are required to have car insurance and what happens if I don’t have it.

Answer
“Yes, according to federal law you must have car insurance.
This mandate protects the safety of drivers and pedestrians. At the state level, each state has its own minimum coverage or financial responsibility requirements as well as penalties for non-compliance.

The purpose of car insurance

Car insurance pays for property damage and bodily harm resulting from a car accident. It can also cover:
  • theft
  • vandalism
  • general car repairs
  • damage from natural disasters
Certain states may require drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection with liability insurance to cover the other driver’s expenses. You can also buy collision, comprehensive, or personal injury protection coverage to pay for your injuries.
Car insurance can be expensive, but driving without it and getting into an accident is far more costly.
Not only do you have to pay for the other driver’s expenses, your expenses, and any property repairs, you may also have to pay legal fees.
And of course, you’d have to face any state penalties for not having insurance.

Penalties for not having car insurance

Each state has its own set of penalties for not having the minimum amount of car insurance coverage or financial responsibility.
Most states will have some sort of fine and you might face:
  • license suspension
  • denial of coverage
  • full financial responsibility for the car accident (if there is one)
Check your states’ car insurance laws to find out more about its minimum coverage requirements and penalties.
If you’re worried about the costs of car insurance, it’s easy to find savings with the free Jerry app. Jerry compares quotes and delivers the best deals to your phone in minutes.”
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Rachel Juillerat
Answered on Aug 19, 2021
Rachel Juillerat has her Master's in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College. You can view her work in the Independent, Cupid's Pulse, and the Penmen Review. She has worked in personal finance for five years before transitioning to insurance. She lives in Boston, where she spends her time exploring small New England towns, learning new skills, and napping through her cat's zoomies.
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